Honk if You Hear Me

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This is important, people, we need to have this talk. There is a Drivers’ Etiquette. Truth. Don’t deny its existence just because no one wrote it down. You know it and I know it. It’s out there and for a country that coined the term Road Rage, it’s critical. For example, Driver A lets Driver B into his lane or allows Driver B to precede him at a stop sign (even though Driver A has the right of way). Driver A nods his head towards Driver B to confirm.

Driver B obliges and drives through. What must Driver B do at this point?

The Wave. You’re a heathen if you don’t (not to be judgmental). There’s no excuse for not waving even if you have a crying baby, a wife in labor, or you’re drunk; if you’re on the road, you can manage The Wave. Look, I’ve gotten a peace sign before but I’ll take it. Most any gesture of goodwill from the recipient to the giver qualifies but without it, we have lost all decency, people. The Wave: It’s a Do. Now let’s talk about a Don’t.

Changing lanes like a boss

This might be a guy thing (I hope so) but there’s this really short-sighted, inflated-ego move that some drivers do that makes me crazy. Picture this: I’m driving in the left lane, minding my own business, when suddenly I see the car behind me in the right lane floor his gas. He’s going about 70mph and is centimeters away from crashing into the car in front of him but, at the last moment, switches lanes and slams his brakes so he’s sandwiched between me and the large truck behind me. What happened? The driver needed to do a lane switch but didn’t want to get stuck behind a truck so he decided to put everyone’s life at risk. While this may be classified as dangerous driving, I’d like to stick it in our “Impolite Driving” category because it’s super inconsiderate. Right??

The next item is Polite Uses of the Horn. Correct me if I’m wrong but there’s a right time, place, and intensity level to honk and then there’s the Honk Happy folks who think they can use it liberally and frequently to communicate (cough-seniors-cough). The HH community isn’t up for debate in this forum because I’d like to draw your attention to a more delicate use of the horn. The Light Tap. The Light Tap is great to encourage a driver to speed up, warn a fellow driver of imminent danger, bring a green light to the driver’s attention. It’s a wonderful tool. Some don’t appreciate The Light Tap but I do. It’s friendly and jovial- it means no harm.

So why have I received angry threats when executing The Light Tap? The answer is always because the people on the road are out of their minds. When did we get so caught up with being cut off, honked at, or a moving violation that we completely lose all sense of what’s good and just in the world?? If we didn’t know that the person outside our car would (usually!) only see us for 2.4 seconds perhaps we wouldn’t freak out so easily. The Drivers’ Etiquette doesn’t end here- I’m sure you can think of many more nuances that I haven’t touched upon but I’ll say this- the nice drivers are making this world a better place. Those that aren’t will surely burn in the Road Rage Inferno. Honk if you hear me.

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