Whew, it’s been awhile since I posted here, so I thought I’d drop by and say hello.
Why the long absence?
Well, I’ve been busy working on a new Internet security e-book that should be available by the end of summer, so my fingers have, shall we say, been otherwise engaged?
However, I’ve also been doing some traveling for my photography. In fact, I tend to spend about 30K worth a miles every year behind the wheel of the ‘ol Ford criss-crossing the country. So, while I don’t rack up the miles of a professional truck driver each year, I think it’s safe to say I’m at least an enthusiastic amateur, right?
So, with that in mind, I’m going to go ahead and dole out the top things that I wish everyone knew when they were driving down the interstate. I’m sure I’ll miss a few, so feel free to toss in your suggestions in the comment area. And, while I’m sure our collective tirade isn’t going to change the course of interstate traffic patterns in any meaningful way, it’ll make us feel better, right?
So, here’s my suggestions for the bad highway driver:
1. Use your cruise control. Please. I’m on my knees beggin’ you. Pretty much any car made in the last decade or two has a cruise control feature and it’s really not that hard to use and, despite what you may think, it’s not even all that scary.
I’ve actually come to the conclusion that the people who don’t use cruise control must believe that by pushing the button they relinquish total control of their vehicle and are subject to the whims of some mysterious computer lurking under their hood. Look, I promise if you activate your cruise no rogue software malfunction is going to posses your car and send you careening end over end down a steep mountain cliff.
However, you will save some gas without the constant acceleration and deceleration.
Also, you’ll avoid boiling the blood of your fellow interstate road warriors with your “left-lane leap frog” game. You know, the one that involves you speeding up, passing me, then slowing down, getting passed by me, then speeding up, passing me, then slowing down, getting passed by me – see it’s even irritating to read about it. Cruise control is your friend.
2. Learn to merge. Psst – I’m going to share a little secret that only about half the drivers out there seem privy to. If you’re merging onto the highway, you can actually USE that skinny pedal on the right to speed up or slow down so you can land your car in front of or behind other traffic! In fact, turns out you can actually vary your acceleration in order to merge! WOW! It’s really not that hard either, so go ahead and give it a try next time you’re merging onto a crowded interstate.
In fact, if you want to take it to the next level, you could even, I don’t know, actually LOOK at the traffic on the highway as you’re first getting on the ramp. I know, sounds crazy, but turns out if you toss a quick glance at the highway traffic, you can actually judge how fast you need to accelerate in order to merge! Trust me, beats the old “drive-down-the-ramp-and-hope-for-a-hole” method.
Yeah, yeah, I know you think that everyone should move over for little ‘ol you, but sometimes there’s a semi in the next lane that seems to think otherwise.
3. Stow the cell phone. Please. I know you think you can drive and talk on it at the same time, but I’ve been behind you when you had that thing plastered to your ear, and trust me, you really can’t. I’ve seen plates of spaghetti run straighter lines. At any rate, your attention is probably better spent elsewhere. You know, like keeping your speed constant, staying the heck outta of my lane, that kind of thing.
I know, I know, sometimes you have to make an important call, but come on on. Just between us, those calls to your mom about your new pudding recipe really aren’t all that pressing, are they?
OK, so what are you supposed to do if you desperately need to tell your aunt about that new quilt you just picked up a the tourist trap down the road? Well, believe it or not the highway commission has this figured out! They made these nifty little places call “rest areas” you can actually pull into, park your car, and make your call without endangering everyone else! You should try ‘em – they even have bathrooms! I hear you can even send text messages from these “rest area” places, but I haven’t tried it yet. You’ll have to let me know if it works.
I feel like I should rant a little about sending text messages and driving, but I think those folks are going to take themselves out of the gene pool soon enough anyway…
4. Stay right unless you’re passing. There’s even little signs scattered throughout the interstate system that advise as much. But, alas, there you are, tooling along in the left lane. I know, sometimes the view from there can be better (ohh, aren’t the mountains pretty!), but see that line of traffic behind you? Yeah, they aren’t going to be sending you any Christmas cards this year. Let ‘em pass.
How can you tell if you’ve lingered too long in the left lane? Cars will start buzzing by you on the right, and their drivers won’t be wearing their happy faces. In fact, you may even get a nasty glare or two.
Just remember – Getting passed on the right is God’s way of telling you to get back over.
5. Are you on a little 2 lane? Mind going the speed limit? Please? Look, I’m not asking you to break any laws here, but when I’m following you down a busy 55MPH 2 lane and you’re mindlessly bouncing along at 40MPH it gets under my skin a bit. And under the collective skin of the 50 or so drivers behind me you’ve been holding up for the last 20 miles.
Sure, you may not be in a hurry, but you’re not the only pebble on the beach. There’s a Star Trek marathon on the SciFi channel (sorry SyFy – go figure that one) and I don’t want to miss it. Gotta get my geek on.
If you really must motor along at a painfully slow pace, pull over occasionally and let the rest of the world pass.
6. Don’t pull out in right front of me, then do a # 5. Seems to happen on little country roads all the time. If you’re going to putz along, the least you could do is wait till I pass since there’s no one behind me. But NOOOOOOOOOOO – you wait till the last second to pull out, I slam on the breaks, and you cruise along at 10 MPH under the speed limit.
Oh, and of course, achieving your cruising speed is done at a rate that would embarrass even the slowest of semis.
OK, that’s about it for now. That pretty much covers my advice for would-be highway drivers. Did I miss your pet peeves? Toss ‘em into the comments section, get ‘em off your chest, and tell the world!
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