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My oldest will soon be learning to drive. Like many teens he is consumed with all aspects of driving, and we discuss/observe each day methods to be a safe and conscientious driver. In particular he has been observing polite and rude drivers, hence inspiring wonderful teaching moments, solid role modeling, as well as inspiration to share my thoughts.
Being polite behind the wheel can take a lot of effort on certain occasions. When another driver is rude, we may be inclined to behave not only in ways that take us down to his or her level, but in ways that could affect our safety, and the safety of other drivers and cars around us.
Here are some reminders to be a kind and courteous (as well as safe) driver:
- At a four-way stop, the traffic rule is to defer to the driver on your right if you arrive at the same time. Even if you arrive a moment before, call it to the other driver and let him go first. It’s only a moment in your day, and an easy way to show consideration.
- At a stop sign or stoplight with a crosswalk, be polite and stop behind the pedestrian line, never over or through it.
- If someone in the other lane is signaling to get into your lane, slow down enough to let him over, don’t speed up.
- When you’re behind someone who has her turning signal on to wait for a parking spot, don’t speed around her, wait until she’s turned into the spot to proceed through the parking aisle. This is not only a courteous habit; it’s a safe habit.
- And on that note, if you see someone who has her signal on and is waiting for a parking spot, don’t be that rude person who pretends not to see her waiting, and whip into the spot before her.
- Hopefully this doesn’t ever include you, but never ever park in a handicapped spot if you’re not disabled, or people in your car are not handicapped. Not even for a moment to “run in and run out”. It could not only get you fined, but it’s behaving in a way that’s completely disrespectful of drivers and people in true need of that handicapped spot.
- Don’t be a tailgater ever, or tail and flash the car ahead of you, even if you’re in the fast lane and that driver ahead of you is going slow or below the speed limit. This is a dangerous behavior and extremely rude. Slow down, change lanes when it’s safe, and don’t change lanes again and cut that person off, which is also discourteous and unsafe.
Be a solid role model in civil driving habits, even if for just yourself. Courtesy is an easy way to pass kindness along, and helps with being safe along the roadways.