A recent weekend getaway got me to thinking—what makes a “good” driver? A good driver is not only a safe driver; he also does his part to help traffic flow smoothly, thus easing congestion. Are you a good driver? Here’s a little quiz; let’s see how you do.
- Do you slowly make your way up the acceleration lane when entering the freeway, forcing others to slow down or move over to the next lane to allow you in?
- Do other drivers more than occasionally pass you on your right?
- Do you find yourself traveling exactly the same speed as the vehicle in the lane just to your right?
- Do you talk on your cell phone while driving?
- Do you suddenly move over three lanes of traffic at the last second when you realize your exit is coming up?
- Do you touch your brake pedal often for no apparent reason?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions may be reason for pause. While none of these items will commonly cause a dangerous situation, they all adversely affect the flow of traffic.
Here are three suggestions to help all of us become better freeway drivers.
- When entering the freeway, accelerate up to speed and merge smoothly into the flow of traffic. Entering the freeway at the same speed as the flow of traffic makes things much easier for those you are trying to merge with.
- Slower drivers should keep to the right—slower does not mean slower that the posted speed limit; it means slower that the flow of traffic behind you. Moving to the right when it is safe will allow the traffic behind you to flow more smoothly. If you are traveling the same speed as the vehicle on your right or being passed on your right, it’s probably best to move over.
- Last, and probably most important, is to pay attention. We all know the distractions—cell phones, map reading, turning to face those in the back seat, preening in the rearview mirror, etc. Keeping these distractions to a minimum allows our focus to be on our driving, where it should be.
Perhaps if we could all follow this freeway etiquette, our roads would be safer, our travel times would be shorter, and we would all arrive at our destinations in a happier mood.
Next week, we’ll take a look at city driving …