How To Drive Correctly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short article detailing friendly driving habits.

Submitted: October 04, 2013

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Submitted: October 04, 2013

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I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What are you talking about?” You’re thinking, “I know how to drive.” You’re thinking, “I learned that when I was sixteen.”

You’re thinking these things, but they’re not right.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not doubting your ability to physically move your car from point A to point B. No, what I’m saying is that you’re making some pretty poor decisions along the way.

Who am I to be telling you how to drive? If you have any semblance of life in you, you should be asking yourself this question right now.

My answer is simply this: I am a fellow driver. I’ve driven around just like you have, and I’ve paid close attention to the things I’ve seen. I’ve noticed the things that worked and the things that didn’t. I’ve kept an eye on what made situations better and what made them much worse.

Based on this, I’ve compiled a list that I hope will be helpful to you. Perhaps it will make your driving experience a more pleasant one.

This is How to Drive Correctly.

Step 1. Being a good driver begins before you even get into your vehicle. A positive mindset is important for doing your best behind the wheel.

One of the things I often find myself guilty of while driving is assuming the worst of people. Even though I know it’s ridiculous, I think that that the guy fifty feet ahead of me has moved into my lane to spite me. In reality, he is simply moving over to pass the semi in front of him.

Could he have waited until after I passed him to switch lanes? Probably. However, he didn’t, and all I need to do is let off the accelerator a bit until he is safely back in his lane. Looking at the situation positively can save me stress.

Patience, along with positivity, plays a large part in good driving.

Step 2. Use your turn signal. This step is probably the most fundamental aspect of driving, but I see it ignored over and over again every day. Using your turn signal is that simple. I honestly can’t even understand why you wouldn’t use your signal. When you’re traveling around in a giant metal box, it’s generally a good idea to let the people in the other giant boxes around you know that you’re about to completely change direction.

Now that you’re using your turn signal, let’s make sure you’re using it correctly. A good signal begins at least one second before any corresponding movement. This may seem like an insignificant amount of time, but it is long enough for those around you to understand your intentions and prepare.

If you plan on turning onto a different street instead of just switching lanes, you will want to begin signaling several seconds sooner.

Once you’re ready, make your transition, and then--if it didn’t automatically do so itself--turn off your turn signal. Nothing screams “distracted driver” like someone coasting down the left lane for miles with their blinker on.

Step 3. Don’t overuse your brakes. Brakes, just like any other part on a car, wear out over time. When you deploy them every time you need to slow down, you are wearing them unnecessarily.

In many instances, just releasing the gas pedal is enough to adjust to a slower speed, especially when going up a hill.

Speaking of hills, another place many people brake unnecessarily at the bottom of a large hill. Instead of wasting your brakes, let friction and gravity take over and coast down to the speed limit. It does not take much time.

Another reason to not overuse brakes is that when you brake in a car, it will almost always go to a slower speed than you intended. Coasting down to the right speed keeps you from wasting gas to get back the speed you lost. It allows traffic to flow more smoothly.

Step 4. It is always better to merge sooner rather than later, especially in construction zones. I frequently encounter these situations on the highway. When you speed ahead to merge at the last possible moment, a car has to slow down to accommodate you. The car behind that car has to do the same, and so does the next one, and so on. This creates a large traffic jam near the beginning of the construction.

This situation can be avoided by merging as soon as possible and slowing down to the speed limit.

Step 5. When driving on the highway, only use the left-most lane for passing. All too often, I see people going much slower than I am, but they are driving in the left lane. This causes problems when there is also a slow car in front of me.

In this situation, I am usually forced to watch as the car in the left lane slows down to match the speed of the car in front of me, effectively blocking me in. I don’t know why people do this, but they do.

Don’t be one of those people.

This is very bad driving.

When the left lane is used only for passing, traffic flows much more smoothly.

Step 6. Respect the comfort zones of other drivers. Everybody has a speed range in which they are most comfortable driving. For some, this is always above the posted limit, while for others it falls much lower.

Regardless of which category you fall into, it is very important to understand that everyone else is only driving as fast as they feel comfortable. If the old lady in front of you is going ten under the speed limit, it isn’t because she is stupid. She’s going the speed at which she can most easily react to changes on the road.

Yes, this speed might be slower than you want to go, but riding her tail isn’t going to help the situation. The best thing to do is wait for an opportunity to go around her.  Enjoy the extra time you get to listen to the radio.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but I am certain that if you take these six steps into consideration the next time you’re out on the road, your experience will be a good one.


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