Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Friendly Driver's Education Reminder

There is something that has been bothering me for the last year.  I've allowed it to burrow in my craw, sometimes I am able to quiet the irritation, other times it consumes me.  I thought, at first, it might be something related to the age demographic were I now live, but on further study can confirm this affliction is equal across the age board and isn't unique to California. I don't know when or how, but somewhere, somehow, people seem to have forgotten how to drive.

I didn't notice it so much back in the Midwest.  I learned to drive in Michigan where the driving experience is the essence of the economy.  In Michigan, traffic moves, albeit on the worst infrastructure in road maintenance I've ever seen (with the exception of one 18 mile stretch of mountain road in rural North Carolina - but that's another story that involves banjo music.)

In Illinois, the majority of my driving was also rural with the exception of jaunts to Chicago where slow traffic is the result of a lot of people trying to get somewhere at the same time - Chicago drivers drive with purpose.

So, out here, in California, I have been plagued with angst because the drivers seem to not have learned basic driving sense.  The Smith System has 5 principals for safe driving.  They are as follows:
1.   Aim High 
Focus on what is in front of you and way ahead
2.   The Big Picture
“Be aware of your surroundings at all times” 
4.   Leave Yourself an Out
The fourth principle of the Smith System states to leave yourself a way out
5.   Make Sure They See You 
 As a driver, make sure that other drivers can see you and anticipate your move. 
I agree with these but I think there are even MORE IMPORTANT tenets that should be followed. 

1) PUSH THE PEDAL PEOPLE. I swear that when I get in the car and start driving, I will come upon the casual driver who is traveling in the left lane on a 55mph road and they are doing a steady 42mph.  No faster, no slower. It happens every single time and usually within 5 minutes of leaving the house. Which brings me to my next tenet. . .

2) STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE IF YOU ARE NOT FAST MOVING TRAFFIC. When did people start forgetting this?  People seem to choose a lane when they leave the house and stay in that lane for the entire duration of their trip whether they are going 5 miles or 50. There is nothing more aggravating than getting going up to the speed limit only to be slowed because the persons in the middle or left lane are meandering down the road 10 miles under the speed limit without a purpose. And because they chose this lane when they left, they are intent on staying in it until they arrive at the destination.

3) STAY AWAY FROM SURROUNDING CARS.  There is this annoying trait where drivers feel that they need to drive right next to you or, even worse, in your blind spot.  This is not for a moment or two but, because they refuse to change lane, lasts for miles and miles.  I'd try to speed up to shake them but I'll be stopped by someone in front of me who won't PUSH THE GAS. And now?  I'm boxed in and the tunnel visioned drivers round me aren't paying attention to any of my signals that I want to move over.  Heck, the guy next to me has no clue my signals are on because he's still in my blind spot and apparently he can't read lips. . . although that may be a good thing.

 It's simple folks: DRIVE WITH A PURPOSE!

I'm not suggesting speeding, or crazy lane changing, I'm just asking people drive with a purpose, be self aware and stay the hell out of my way.  Simple, right?

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