Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Helpful Driving Tips

I've just come back from a drive and I'm full of love and kindness for my fellow motorists. No, not love, that isn't the right word. What's the word for when you hate them and want them to die? I'm sure it'll come to me.

Most of my rants against other drivers have been because they were either selfish or overly aggressive or both. Today I want to rant about that other breed: the people who seem to be so scared of driving that everything they do is tentative. It's as if they think if they do everything really slowly and don't commit to any one course of action, they'll be fine when, in fact, they make it that much more likely they'll be involved in an accident. So in the spirit of helping, here are some tips:

TIP 1: It's called an indicator, use it! If you're turning a corner, changing lanes, pulling over or stopping to park, use your damn indicator. Oh, and it's called an INDICATOR, you use it to INDICATE what you are going to do. It isn't called a "what I did" or a "told you so", it's a fucking indicator! Use it to let other people know what you are going to do! It's a bit fucking late to switch it on after the fact.

A little aside here, I know I said I wasn't focusing on aggressive types today but if one more bastard accelerates to cut me off when I indicate I'm changing lanes into an open space I'll run you off the road and drag you out of your car, then we'll have a wee conversation about politeness. And when I've finished explaining to you the basic tenets of human decency, I promise I'll take my boot of your throat so you can offer a heartfelt apology.

TIP 2: Read the traffic. Good traffic flows like water. It has patterns and you can read them. Don't wait until the last second to react to what's happening around you. Example: there are two lanes of traffic in each direction and someone in the right lane indicates they're going to turn right (for American readers[and I don't know who else], substitute left for right). For the love of the baby Jeebus, don't wait until the last second to react! Cane toad level intellect would inform you that you're going to have to change lanes to get around the turning car so do it sooner rather than later. Don't come to a dead stop right behind the turning car then turn your car into the free lane. You end up blocking both lanes then we're at another boot on the throat type of conversation.

TIP 3: If you're scared by traffic, don't bloodywell drive! Stay at home on the couch and knit or something. You know what? Traffic can be scary. But traffic isn't going to change, you need to change. Suck it up! Learn to deal! I grew up in a very quiet country town, when I moved to Sydney the traffic terrified me. So I did the only sensible thing - I didn't drive. It took a few years until I had enough of a handle on things to cope with driving. And let me tell you, those Sydney drivers are nuts and they would have taken great delight in mowing a poor country boy down.

TIP 4: This one's important: if you make a choice while driving, commit to it. Don't go back and forth, will-I-won't-I, yes-no. When you waver, nobody know what the fuck you're planning to do and that way lies madness. Not to mention twisted metal.

So in short, it's a little like the dilemma Spiderman faced - with great power comes great responsibility. When you drive a car, engaging the gears is only part of the equation.

Don't forget to engage your brain as well.


Michelle said...

As a reasonably well travelled person I can tell you that left drivers include Australia, New Zealand and the British Isles. I think Japan is on the left too but I'm not sure about Asia overall. North America and mainland Europe are all right drivers. As for anywhere else, I don't know.

And as a reasonably well travelled person who is from the city of Sydney. Are you mad? Sydney drivers nuts! You need to hang out in Prague for a while, either driving or just trying to cross the road occasionally. Now that's scary.

Blueprincesa said...

That's why I take the bus.

Dr. Nazli said...

so i gather you have never had a driving ticket, Mr. Angry ...?


Mr Angry said...

Michelle: of course I knwo many truly big cities are far worse than Oz, but I can only go with what I know :)

Blueprinces: where ever possible, so do I. Current job doesn't allow it though.

Dr Nazli: Full disclosure: I had one ticket 10 years ago for running a red light and one 5 years ago for doing 59km/h in a 50k zone. Other than that, they've never caught me! muahahahaha!