A Modern Guide To Etiquette, Volume 1; Driving

There are a few things I have no patience for; racism, homophobia, bullying and inconsiderate jerks. I’m going to do a series on my own personal views of modern etiquette for things that inconsiderate dinks do. The first instalment will be geared towards driving.

We have all suffered from some kind of outburst stemmed from road rage. I don’t care how nice you are, how much you love your fellow human beings, or if you have the patience of a saint. You have at least once in your time on the road felt the uncontrollable rage bubbling beneath the surface when some idiot cuts you off, camps in the passing lane, drives ridiculously under the speed limit, or just does something that makes you scream at them through the windshield. I am a frequent road rager, and although I live in a small town now and have considerably less reasons to hit the steering wheel in frustration, I still scream “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE YOU DOING” on a regular basis. I’m going to list the main causes of my road rage, and helpful hints towards the shmucks who feel the need to irritate the rest of us normal, respectful drivers.

Now I’m not saying I’ve never done any of the things that make me lose my marbles, but I am also conscientious as much as possible and feel most of the people I feel I need a megaphone to yell at are serial offenders. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.

First Rule of Etiquette – Passing On A Double Lane Highway

I do not understand why people don’t get this concept. It doesn’t matter where I’ve driven, what the speed limit is, or what the time of year, people just don’t fucking understand the point. It is NOT a personal lane for you to meander along, singing to Taylor Swift or Mariana’s Trench, blissfully oblivious to the rest of the world. It is meant to overtake the vehicle ahead of you if they’re driving slower than your desired speed, and then you dip back into the right lane upon completion, until you hit the next car you want to pass. If you are going the same speed as the person in the right lane, or even worse, UNDER the speed, move your ass over. Now. I once got a ticket from a cop heading to the airport because he was camped out in the passing lane, doing 10 under the speed limit, and I had a flight to catch to work. I passed him in the slow lane going 5km/hour over the speed limit and he immediately pulled me over and proceeded to ticket me with “overcoming a vehicle in the left lane”. I swear to god. Obviously I argued with Officer Little-Man-Syndrome as to how on earth that made sense. He was in the passing lane, not passing. I wanted to do at least the damned speed limit, and he was choosing to drive under it. Since he was taking up the lane designated for passing slower moving traffic, my only choice was to drive faster than him in the slow lane. I am not going to go under the speed limit because he doesn’t understand the basic rules of the road. He didn’t appreciate my questioning what driving school he went to seeing as he was an idiot, so I got a 200$ ticket. I have spent too much time this week driving down island to appointments, and the amount of people I screamed bloody murder at was astounding. So many clueless, inconsiderate dinks just literally camping in the passing lane, despite constant signage stating “Keep right except to pass”. They even have signs here that say “Pull off if slowing down 5 or more vehicles behind you.” People don’t though. They just chill, creeping along, pissing everyone off who has somewhere to be and just wants to get there already. The people who stay in the passing lane when there is literally NO ONE in the right lane make me want to throw rotten eggs at them as I pass (in the right lane of course, sorry Officer L-M-S, I’m still using that tactic so suck it.) Please don’t be a cunt. Use the passing lane to pass, and then get back over so other people can do the same.

Road Rage 2

Second Rule of Etiquette – Passing In The Short Spans Of Double Lane On A Single Lane Highway 

Sometimes you’re stuck driving on a single-lane highway, so when you get to the blessed 500m/700m/1km passing lanes, you feel as though you’ve hit the lottery. FINALLY you can get back up to the speed limit and stop cursing the dummy ahead of you. Except no. That doesn’t happen. Because that thundercunt decides that the speed limit has suddenly changed when you hit the passing lane, and now they’re Dale Earnheardt Jr. They went from doing 15km/hr under the speed to 30km/hr over. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! I literally curse their children, their children’s unborn children, their children’s children’s unborn children and so on. I leave a curse for generations to come because clearly their gene pool is deficient if you CAN’T JUST LET PEOPLE PASS YOU WHEN YOU’VE BEEN DRIVING LIKE A SLOTH FOR THE PAST 20 KILOMETRES! Why do people do this?! A passing lane doesn’t mean the speed limit has changed. Doesn’t mean you should hold your spot at the front of the pack when you have been getting tailgated for the last ten minutes due to your irritating need to drive slow as molasses. Just let people pass. In nature, when the head of the pack gets too slow, the younger alphas take those bitches out. Apparently that’s manslaughter in our species so it doesn’t happen. But when you put the speed on for the short passing lane, and then slow right the fuck back down to 15 under the limit again when it’s back to single lane, we all hate you. HATE YOU. That’s very bad manners and you should be ashamed of yourself. Have fun with your cursed family dickhead. Ugh.

Road Rage 3

Third Rule of Etiquette – Blinkers

This also drives me bananas. All cars come equipped with blinkers. The point of a blinker is to signal your intentions to others on the road. If you’re coming up to an intersection and you know you’re going to be turning, flick that little lever up or down and let people know where you’re going. Simple. I hate the people who just don’t use blinkers and think everyone else is psychic. If you don’t signal your intent to turn against oncoming traffic, and you end up getting sideswiped I have zero sympathy. It’s not frogger. You can’t just jut out against the flow of traffic and be shocked when the car coming at you doesn’t know you’re about to cut in front of them. The only time this is acceptable is if you’re in a high speed chase and are trying to lose whoever is chasing you. I hope it’s a jewel heist and you’re Bonny & Clydeing it, cause that’s about the only time I’ll cheer you on and be happy to lock up my brakes for your sporadic maneuver. Also the people who don’t bother to put on their blinker until they’re literally turning are useless to me. Don’t even bother at that point. It’s a waste of energy and whoever is behind you is clearly already aware that you’re going that direction since you’ve begun the turn. Use your blinkers properly for fuck sake.

Road Rage Blinker

Fourth Rule of Etiquette –  Using Lanes We All Know Are Designated For Parking

This is more so geared towards anyone who drives down Quinpool Road in Halifax. We all know that the outside lane is basically for parking aside from the middle of the night. We all know better than to use it. It’s just unspoken because it is littered with parked cars all day long. Every day. It doesn’t come as a surprise so it has been a constant source of ire to me whenever I’m stuck having to drive that stretch of road. I’m sure there are streets in most cities that have the same principle, so I’m sure people outside of Halifax can relate. But I am one of those vindictive assholes who will not let you in because I know you just thought you could skip the lines and get in. If I’ve spent half an hour waiting to get up the road, most likely prolonged because of other people who think it’s legit to just skip the line and jam up traffic, I am not about to give you a free pass. Im just not kind like that. We all know that you will have to merge into the inside lane, you can’t make it to the Windsor Street Exchange without having to be in the inside lane. The fact that all these inconsiderate fucks decide their time is more precious and can just bust on up, and bust on over drives me INSANE. I hate it. Stick with the lane like the rest of us, don’t jam up traffic by attempting a ridiculous merge in the middle of traffic. It would go so much smoother if everyone was just respectful of this, and let traffic flow the way it’s suppose to. Maybe no one else does actually mind that, but personally it makes me see red. I spent years finding alternate routes to get downtown because I just don’t have the patience for all the dummies and I hate being livid by the time I hit my destination. Don’t drive in lanes you know are impassible.

Road Rage OAtmeal

Fifth Rule of Etiquette – Pedestrians

This goes both ways. I don’t understand why drivers don’t scan crosswalks while they’re driving, kind of anticipating a pedestrian crossing. The pedestrians are supposed to have right of way, and we should all be looking at least most of the time for people who are trying to cross the road. On the same hand, I don’t understand the pedestrians who assume all drivers see them and mosey out into traffic thinking they’re spotted and safe to walk. When I took driving school they taught us that pedestrians are supposed to make eye contact before stepping off the sidewalk. Makes sense. It ensures the driver has seen them and is stopping for them. And pedestrians who text and walk are the worst. You’re: a) oblivious to your surroundings and b) walking hella slow cause you’r distracted. Put the phone down while you’re walking, make eye contact with drivers, and get from A to B as fast as possible and carry on about your business. Drivers, just be aware of crosswalks and pedestrians, be vigilant about the possibility of someone being ready to cross the road, and make eye contact with them. There are so many people getting hit in crosswalks that it’s ridiculous, and both parties are to blame. And if by chance, you don’t notice the pedestrian waiting to cross until it’s too late for you to stop, a nice little “my bad” wave is never amiss.

Road Rage

Sixth Rule of Etiquette – Motorcycles and Peoples Ignorance of Them

I am a biker, so this is one area of driving that is extra touchy for me. If you don’t drive a bike, I understand that you won’t be able to put yourselves in a motorcyclist’s shoes. But being aware of their presence isn’t hard, and being respectful of them is even easier. Think about it; if you’re driving a car, you have a nice comfortable seat. You have a seatbelt. You have numerous airbags, safety features and security. There are sensors and lights. You have a roof and hood and doors and a nice, big, heavy frame to absorb any impact should you find yourself in an accident. Bikes have a fairly uncomfortable seat, no airbags, no hood or roof or big frame for impact absorption. It’s dangerous. In a game of chicken, we all know damned well who’s gonna win. Driving a bike is exhilarating, exciting, freedom on two wheels, and probably the greatest escape and most fun form of therapy. We know the potential dangers that come along with it. We are trained to avoid collisions and be ever vigilant about everyone around us. I’m never worried about my driving on my bike, it’s the other people on the road who worry me. The stopping distance on a bike is much shorter than in a car or truck, so if cars don’t leave sufficient following distance it’s potentially fatal for the biker should something happen in the blink of an eye. I always leave lots of space ahead of my when I’m up to speed on my bike, because it takes cars longer to stop and I want to be sure I’m not going through their back window in worst case scenario. But people take this space as an open invitation to cut in. I’m not leaving loads of room so that everyone else can pack in to my lane. It’s so I stay safe. And the people who tailgate bikes are cruising for a bruising. It’s not a car with a trunk should a little fender-bender occur. It’s direct impact with the rear fairing and tire, and YouTube has plenty of footage of what can happen if a big car meets a little bike. If you don’t have a motorcycle, please just be aware of bikes on the road. They need more space. They need more respect, and you’re asking to have your door kicked if you cut them off, get too close, or pull asshole maneuvers when you’re around them. Road rage is legit and nothing is worse than a biker coming at you cause they have so much more at stake on the road. Don’t be a cunt. Share the road.

This post could go on forever now that I’m sitting down and reliving all my recent moments of road rage. I’m gonna cut it short cause my coffee is cold, and I don’t have to drive anywhere today so I won’t be cursing anyone out as far as I know. Just be a respectful human being, use common sense, and try not to be a jerk. Shit happens, and we all have off days or get complacent or distracted. But we see you serial offenders, and we know that you do these atrocities on a regular basis. If you don’t like being tailgated or getting the middle finger as you drive and find it happens to you frequently, maybe you’re guilty of shitty driving etiquette. If you find yourself commonly being honked at, maybe you’re being a dink on the road. We all paid a lot of money for those little horns so if you’re being an asshole, we’re gonna use them. The world is a better place when you’re driving in the middle of the night with no traffic. I’m a better person when I have the road to myself. But realistically we all have to be on the road together more often than not, so why not make it more bearable for ourselves and others? Use your heads people, and GET OUT OF THE PASSING LANE IF YOU’RE NOT PASSING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

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