Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Not Be a Jerk On the Road

I drive A LOT for my job. I've driven up and down I-70 22 times so far this summer. I feel the need to share my rules for not being a jack ass while operating a motor vehicle.
1- Merging onto the highway. You see those cars you're about to shove yourself in between? Chances are they're all going at least 65. No one really goes the speed limit. Your job is to successfully put your vehicle in the mix, and to do so you need to A)realize that the "Yield" sign is for you, not them and B)accelerate up to that speed! Yes, move faster! Merging while going 32 miles per hour forces others to slam on their brakes, swerve, smash into the back of you. None of these create a positive outcome. The good folks speeding by on the highway should not have to do any of these things. They are busy driving very fast. Let them concentrate on that.
2- Roundabouts. One lane? Signal your off; meaning let people know you're exiting. Two or more lanes? THE OUTER LANE is the off lane! This means you do not cut over into it hoping the car there already knows what you're doing. If you miss your off, CIRCLE BACK AROUND. This is the cool thing about roundabouts... take you about eight seconds, maybe. Merging into a roundabout means you WAIT for an opening and go. Not just go. Those stop and yield signs are for you.
3-Slow moving semis. Chances are if you're on a mountain highway you'll see dozens of semis and other large vehicles with their hazards on going REALLY slow as they are not able to cruise along at 70 while going up an 8% grade. If you are in the lane behind them and want to pass them, DO NOT race up behind them, slam on your brakes and cut over. This is guaranteed to A)piss many people off and B) make you an ass. Get over early! Why wait?? You know you're going to pass them, so do so when you have an opening. Plan on accelerating to match the speed of the lane you're moving in to.
4- Signaling. NO ONE CAN READ YOUR MIND. Turns signals are there for this reason. Use them. We won't think any less of you. If you see someone signaling to get over into your lane, let them! Seriously, is slowing down a touch to give them room going to wreck your day? What is that, like, 1.8 seconds for you? Chances are pretty good they have a reason to be doing so, and you might even get "the wave"!
5- Motorcyclists... I have a lot for you.. Helmets hung on the side of your bike make us all laugh at you. It's not sexy; it's stupidity in one of the highest forms. Lack of proper protective gear is equally lame. We secretly hope you wreck and become one big scab.
Do not expect the two ton minivan you just cut off and stopped abruptly in front of to be able to stop as abruptly as you did. It's not physically possible.
Do not take turns wide on blind curvy mountain roads. This is not a race track. I came upon a wreck of motorcycle vs. boat on the pass to Winterpark... who do you think won? I'm sure when Mr. Motorcyclist started his day he didn't picture it ending with the Hazmat guys hosing down his remnants from the roadway.
Do not ride the center lane if traffic is moving swiftly along. It's okay if we're all at a slow crawl or stand still... 99% of us will be jealous of your ingenuity. If you try to do this when we're cruising along at 85mph, chances are someone will stop you because you're being an ass. Come upon a vehicle switching lanes that isn't using their trusty turn signal and you're one big smear.
Vehicle drivers, you are not to turn in front of a motorcycle unless you have a safe distance to do so! You can kill them! You cannot merge into their lane if they are next to you, either. You can kill them! Do not try to race them up the on-ramp, then cut them off, either. You can kill them! Figure this... anyone who puts their person onto a piece of machinery that offers no protection and can quickly accelerate to over 200mph.. well, they are not like you. They have a bit of an edge to them. They like to jump out of planes and get tattoos and enjoy mosh pits. It's okay to be different from them. Differences are what make us interesting. Just don't hold it against them. Also figure that some of these motorcyclists will not hesitate to beat the crap out of your car door with their armored fist should you have just risked killing them.
6- Texting while driving. NO ONE can safely text and drive. NO ONE. If it's that damned important, wait until you are stopped, or pull over into a parking lot or onto the side of the road. But you trying to text while you drive causes you to swerve, suddenly slow down, not see what is right in front of you... like the tree you're headed towards, or the pedestrian crossing the road in one of those tourist town crosswalks. Tourists don't wait for you to stop... they just go. All sense of reason left them at the airport.
what else...
7-Driving in snow/ice. You have four wheel or all wheel drive... hooray for you! This doesn't mean you won't go sliding off the road into a ravine like the rest of us. Slow the hell down. You hit a patch of ice and your tires lose traction just like ours do. This also doesn't give you the ability to stop on a dime.
8-Your car is fast, right? Do not expect that minivan you come racing up on that's trying to pass the semi going up the 8% grade to be as fast as you. Riding up their ass will cause two things to happen. They will slow down because you are annoying, or they will continue to work at trying to pass the semi and you will become annoyed and start honking or flashing your lights. Neither works at all to help you get your way. Just accept the fact that we know your Porsche engine is far superior to the V6 in the minivan and get over it. They'll be out of your way as soon as they can be, I promise.
9- Slower drivers on curvy roads usually have a reason to be going slow. Perhaps they're not used to the curves and are nervous, or perhaps their vehicle isn't great at cornering, or perhaps they are transporting something fragile such as children or a wedding cake. Leave them be. Go around when you safely can and accept the fact that curvy roads are not everyone's cup of tea. If you happen to be the slow driver, be courteous and pull onto the shoulder or into the slower traffic lane to let others pass you. This is the nice thing to do. Less swearing will happen.
10- Tourists- Colorado is a beautiful state and our mountains are breathtaking. Please pull off of the road entirely and come to a complete stop to take your pictures. Please wait for a safe break in traffic to get out of your vehicle if your car door is close to oncoming lanes. We don't blame you for taking pictures, but we shouldn't have to swerve around your ass sticking out of your door because you are looking for spare batteries. In addition to this, DO NOT hold your camera out of the car window and try to take pictures while going 78mph. This is as stupid as texting while driving, and your pictures will most likely suck.
11- Vehicle on fire? You automatically get the right of way! We will all gladly move for you! DO NOT continue to drive. Exploding is bad. Pull over to the right hand emergency lane asap. We'll help you get there!

if you have anything to add to this list, please feel free to comment!