Everyone is on the go nowadays. We all have important places to be that we should have arrived at ten minutes ago, so it’s understandable that we get frustrated in traffic. However, for some, simple etiquette and courtesy have long since been forgotten. We’ve rounded up some great tips to help you fall in love with driving again (yes, even on Deerfoot Trail) and to make your commutes safer and less stressful.
In theory, everyone knows to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. But in reality, some of us like to be a little too close for comfort. Inching your way closer to the vehicle ahead will not, surprisingly, make them move any faster. And furthermore, tailgating is dangerous. Following too close to someone can make it difficult for you to see what’s in front of their vehicle―and if they have to stop suddenly, it’ll be your vehicle that’ll be bumping into them if you can’t brake in time. By following the 3 second rule you can help maintain your vehicle’s exterior, as your front end will not be sprayed with rocks and debris from the car ahead.
Signal, signal, signal!
Believe it or not, but not all of us are mind-readers. Giving other drivers a heads up on what you’re about to do is welcome, if not encouraged. Using your turn signals to indicate where you’re going is such an easy way to avoid an accident!
Give a wave!
We were raised to say “please” and “thank you” but many of us somehow forget those manners upon getting into our vehicles. So when someone does something nice for you on the road―like letting you to merge ahead of them, etc.―say “thank you” by giving them a wave. Such a simple gesture can improve that person’s mood significantly and who doesn’t love sharing a bit more love?
But don’t be overly polite…
You’re a nice person and you want to help everyone, right? But by letting ten cars in ahead of you doesn’t actually help anyone. Instead, follow the zipper-merging method. Let one car in, drive on and then the person behind you will let the next vehicle in. Think of it as a zipper on a jacket―in order for it function properly, the teeth must alternate to allow everyone to fit perfectly.
Turn off your brights!
High beams are essential for late night drives, but are a hazard for oncoming traffic. They can be blinding to other drivers so remember to turn them off temporarily as oncoming traffic pass by.
Stealing is stealing, whether it’s an apple or a parking spot. It’s the worst feeling, waiting patiently for a parking spot to become available, only to have someone else steal it. And speaking of parking, don’t take up two parking spaces! If you have a larger vehicle, park at the back of the lot to allow more vehicles to park up front.
Not only is throwing garbage out the window harmful to the environment, it can also be harmful to other drivers. You would hate to have your vehicle hit with someone else’s trash, so be courteous of others.
Know your lane!
We have passing and slow lanes for a reason, so know what speed you are driving and travel in the correct lane. If you need to brush up, remember―right lane is for slower traffic and the left lane is for passing traffic. Don’t cruise in the passing lane! This can be dangerous as vehicles behind you could be driving much faster than you are.
Make a quick exit!
When exiting a ramp, merge as quickly as you can into the new traffic lane. Don’t stop at the end! Not only does stopping make it difficult to merge and holds up traffic, but it’s also dangerous as drivers behind you aren’t prepared for you to stop.
Move to the side!
It’s okay―accidents happen. But following a fender bender, remember to move your vehicles off to the side of the road to allow traffic to keep moving. Once you’re in a safer location, assess the vehicles, exchange information and contact police and your insurance companies if necessary.
It’s a lot to remember, we know. But following these tips will help make your commutes infinitely better―for you and your fellow commuters. Let’s keep sharing the love in our city, any way we can!