Saturday, September 12, 2009

Driving Tips - First Installment

Today I am going to talk about something different. It seems there is a dangerous lack of common sense in drivers today. So I thought I would provide a few common sense bits of advice for beginner drivers as well as the seasoned veteran that may just need a refresher course. My first bit of advice is to GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!

Tip #1: Turn Signals

Ok, I want everybody to go out to their cars and look at the steering column. There will be this stick thingy coming out from the left side (or right side for you European drivers). I will wait...



That stick thingy is your turn signal lever. You push it down to signal a left turn and up to signal a right turn. A little light on your dash will blink pointing in the way you want to turn if used correctly. Ok, ok. Yes, you can go check that out. I will wait. Again.

Cool ain't it.


When others use it it means they will be turning or changing lanes. When used to signal lane changes this is intended as a warning and courtesy. It means they need to get over into the corresponding lane. They may not see you so if you are close, you should either honk your horn or drop back a bit. It does NOT mean, speed up and get past me or block me. It is not an invitation to race.

I think it would be irresponsible of me to mention turn signals without mentioning another crucial piece of automotive safety equipment. The Mirrors. Those mirrors on the sides and hanging down from the center of the windshield were not meant for grooming or checking to see if that hickey shows from your makeout session you were engaged in while flying down the highway. These really come in handy for checking to make sure your way is clear BEFORE making a turn or lane change. Neat idea huh?

Tip #2: Turns

Now that we have covered turn signals and mirrors, we will cover the actual turn itself. You know those lines you see on the road. Those actually have a purpose. They divide the road into lanes. When you come to an intersection and need to make a left hand turn, please make sure you are in the left hand lane. Don't make a left turn from the right hand lane. Really this is not a good thing.

U turns should only be made when absolutely necessary and they should never be made from the far right lane of a busy 4 lane highway creeping along at 15 mph. Even if making U-turn on a small residential street totally devoid of traffic one should always check your mirrors for cops hiding behind bushes on ATVs. It appears that even I am not immune to occasional bouts of excessive inter cranial air pockets.

Tip #3: Phone Usage

It seems obvious to most but still there are people that need to be told. That thing with four wheels in your driveway is NOT a friggin phone booth! Hang up and Drive!!! I have seen people walking down the street jabbering away at their phone and trip over a fireplug. You want to bet that this joker thinks he can talk and drive just fine and doesn't need some idiot telling him what he can and can't do in his own car.

I have heard some people say, I can handle it, I'm a multi-tasker. BULLSHIT! ERs across the nation are full of multi-taskers that rammed their car into other solid objects. I even heard a cop say I can handle it because I have special training. BULLSHIT! Studies have shown that the police are just as likely to have an accident while talking on a phone as you or I.

If you have to talk on the phone, pull over. Very few conversations are worth putting yourself or others at risk. Don't make or take calls while driving.

There are a few other things that should never be done while driving.

  • Eating. Yes, there are some finger foods that are ok to eat, but if it requires a knife and fork, eat it at home at your dinner table.

  • Typing your resume. Especially if you are using a desktop typewriter.

  • Sex. Having sex in a car is awkward enough. But add to that trying to work around the steering wheel, brake and gearshift at 5o mph. Do you really need me to point out just how much of a bad idea this is? And you are aware that most cop cars have cameras now right?

  • Changing cloths or grooming. I once carpooled with a girl that routinely changed her clothes while driving.

  • Clipping coupons. I actually saw this one. Coupon section spread out across the steering wheel, one hand holding the paper, the other very neatly cutting out the coupons. Imagine hitting a bump and losing a finger. Makes that 50 cent coupon seem a little less of a bargain huh? And just where do you think those scissors are going to be after the airbag deploys? Kinda reminds me of Final Destination.

I am sure there will be other drivng tips coming. There does not seem to be a shortage of stupidity.

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