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What not to brag about on the road

Published October 22, 2012
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There seems to be some misguided pride in some motorists’ driving.

I have heard drivers brag about cutting someone off or driving in an aggressive manner or speeding without being caught and being quite proud of this accomplishment. Others have told me stories on how they “disciplined” another driver by cutting in front of them and slamming on the brakes or blocking them in some manner.

But are these really actions to be proud of? Is this what all motorists should strive to be like?

So, how can someone really be proud of their driving? To do this we should define what skills and attitudes a driver should possess in order to actually be proud of their driving.

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To be truly proud of their driving skills and ability, motorists should be constantly trying to make driving easier for all the other drivers around them. It’s not about how many drivers they can pass during their trip, but how many they help merge in or facilitate to pass them. It’s not about how fast they got to their destination, but how smart they drove along the way. Any fool can drive fast. Knowing when not to makes a smart driver.

Any motorist who waves another driver into the space in front of them or slows enough to open a gap for others or moves over a lane to make it easier is one who should be proud of their unselfish driving. It just so happens that any motorist who makes it easier to drive for others also makes it safer for themselves.

Drivers who do not impede the flow of traffic by driving too slow in the left or middle lane should also be proud of their conscientious driving. Staying out of everyone’s way by keeping right and allowing traffic to travel smoothly is the considerate thing to do for all road users. Motorists who use the middle lane when travelling slower than the flow of traffic are being selfish.

Not allowing distractions to take their focus away from the task of driving is a trait drivers should be pleased to possess. Any motorist who is smart enough to know that being distracted by cell phones, conversations, texting, day dreaming or any other activity that prevents them from processing driving information should be proud of their logic. Distractions are one of the leading causes of crashes and collisions and being mature enough to know when to socialize and when not to is the sign of a superior driver.

Anyone who knows they will be out for a social occasion and will be driving but remains sober should be very proud of their thoughtfulness. Volunteering to be the designated driver to be sure your friends get home safely and that others are not exposed to an impaired driver should make one proud.

Having the restraint to not “parent” all the other drivers around them on the road is a rewarding attribute motorists should seek. Driving in that parent state is futile and frustrating. No one can teach another motorist the correct way to merge or the proper speed to drive from inside their own vehicle. It simply does not work and only puts everyone in danger.

The driver who realizes they really don’t know it all and decides that there is more they can learn should have satisfaction in not allowing their ego to get in the way of their safety. The motorist who goes one step further and takes advanced driver training so they can understand more of the motoring world and develop better driving skills should be very proud. With their life and that of their families and friends literally in their hands, being the best they can be while behind the wheel should make them and their family proud of their enhanced abilities.

Being able to travel to their destination without having any negative impact (pardon the pun) on all the other motorists or the flow of traffic on any of the roads that they drive on is a talent that all drivers should try to develop and aspire to.

Having all other motorists feel comfortable around them by not being a tailgater or driving in an intimidating manner or being aggressive in any way, is a characteristic to be proud of. When other drivers wave a thank you for being a considerate driver by allowing them to merge, that is a moment to be full of pride.

With parameters for being a proud driver set, anyone who can say they fulfill these qualities each and every day they drive should be proud of their driving abilities.

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