On the Road Cover Story
cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication
5:38 PM EDT, June 23, 2011
By Tom and Ray Magliozzi, Car Talk
Last week, we took a look at tips for a more civilized commute. Here are ten annoying habits of other drivers.
1. Talking on a cell phone
When you're talking on your cell phone, you're as likely to cause an accident as when you're legally drunk.
Don't Be a Jerk: Put the phone down while you drive. You know about voice mail, right?
2. Driving too fast for road conditions
Just because a speed limit is 65 mph doesn't mean that's always the right speed. Weather conditions can dramatically reduce your car's braking and handling abilities and limit visibility.
Don't Be a Jerk: There's always someone driving like a jerk in bad weather. And if you notice you're passing everybody, you're the jerk.
3. Not cleaning snow off cars
How would you feel if someone heaved a 3-foot-diameter, 40-pound dinner plate at your windshield? Not too swell, we're guessing. That's exactly what happens when a rooftop of snow and ice goes airborne.
Don't Be a Jerk: Take five minutes to clean the snow off your car before you drive away.
4. Not signaling when turning or changing lanes, or leaving a signal on
Signaling your intentions is one of the most basic acts of courtesy one can engage in. If we can't predict what other drivers are going to do, we can't make informed decisions about what we should do, and the result is mayhem. And insurance claims.
Don't Be a Jerk: Use your turn signals, Bub.
5. Leaving high beams on
Driving at night introduces a variety of risks, all related to the fact that our vision becomes limited. So when someone oncoming cruises past you and shines the equivalent of a 100,000-candlepower lighthouse directly into your retinas, he's definitely being more than annoying — he's compromising your ability to drive safely.
Don't Be a Jerk: Understand that your high beams are a dangerous weapon when aimed at oncoming traffic.
6. Faulty equipment
It's not uncommon for us to see customers' cars at our garage with a myriad of needed repairs. Blowing off those repairs isn't just dangerous — it might also cost you more in the end.
Don't Be a Jerk: Maintenance is not just for you. You'll improve your own safety and that of fellow drivers by keeping up on necessary repairs.
7. Taking two spaces in a parking lot
Is there anything more obnoxious than announcing to the world, "My BMW paint job is more important than your ability to park?"
Don't Be a Jerk: If you have a car that's so precious that it can't be parked close to anyone else's, park it at the far end of the parking lot. That way, you inconvenience yourself rather than everybody else.
8. Staying in the far left lane
We all need to work together if we're going to get home in time to watch "Jeopardy!" That includes pulling back over to the right after you've passed a slower-moving vehicle. Staying in the left lane forces everyone to go at exactly your speed, or pass you unsafely on the right
Don't Be a Jerk: Use the passing lane for passing. Keep an eye on your rearview mirror and be aware if someone is coming up behind you.
9. Not acknowledging making a mistake or overreacting to an honest mistake
We all make mistakes. Remember that when someone pulls out without seeing you. Honk only if you need to for safety.
Don't Be a Jerk: Remember the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you when you pull out of your parking space without looking.
10. Dangerous loads improperly secured
The laws of physics are immutable. So, unfortunately, are the laws of stupidity. If you're driving at 75 mph, twine, a bungee cord and your left hand will not keep a Sealy Posturepedic from setting sail above the interstate. Trust us on this.
Don't Be a Jerk: If you're carrying something that doesn't fit inside your car, get professional help or advice in securing it before driving.