Whether it’s excessive braking or tailgating, winter weather has the uncanny ability to test a driver’s patience. Practice the following tips to remain in other motorist’s good graces the next time you get behind the wheel:
1. Always drive distraction free. If you’re driving a vehicle, you are already multitasking. At a minimum you are operating a piece of heavy machinery at high speed, navigating across changing terrain, calculating speeds and distances and responding to other drivers and obstacles around you. Putting one more activity in the mix, such as texting, can be a deadly combination. Postpone all distractions and focus on the task at hand.
2. If your wipers are on, your headlights should be also. According to the AAA Digest of Motor Vehicle Laws, headlights must be used when wipers are in use, when visibility is less than 1,000 feet or in conditions of insufficient light/ adverse weather. Not only will proper headlight usage improve your outlook, it will also increase your visibility to others. For the complete list of state laws regarding headlight usage please visit: http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/headlight-use/.
3. Thank or apologize to fellow motorist with the appropriate hand gesture. Make sure you have plenty of room when you merge. If you make a mistake and accidentally cut someone off, try to apologize to the other driver with an appropriate gesture. Also, if someone allows you to cut in front of them, be courteous and thank them for their kindness with a simple hand wave.
4. Avoid Tailgating. Drivers get angry when they are followed too closely. Allow at least a two-second space between your car and the car ahead. This means when the car passes a fixed point, you should be able to count at least “one-thousand, two-thousand” before you pass that point.
5. Reserve the left lane strictly for passing. If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them by. You may be “in the right” because you are traveling at the speed limit- but you may also be putting yourself in danger by making drivers behind you angry. It’s simple courtesy to move over and let other drivers by.
For more information on the checklist above, please visit your local AAA office and pick up a Distractions in Everyday Driving or Road Rage: How to Avoid Aggressive Driving brochure.
What are you biggest driving pet peeves? What tips would you recommend to fellow motorist?