There are so many stupid things people do while driving. You wouldn’t find many of these driving tips in some government-issued driving guide, but if there is any logic or common sense inside of you, you’d figure most of it out yourself. I did not bother rehashing tips such as “make sure your tires are properly inflated”, or “change your wipers once a year”, or “check your car’s lights weekly”, which are repeated over and over from other sources.
Keep in mind that these tips require little or no effort on behalf of the driver; all it takes is a few sparks of your neurons to remember to do this stuff:
1. If there is only light-rain, don’t drive with the windshield wipers on high speed.
2. Similarly, don’t drive with your wipers on after it stopped raining 20 minutes ago.
3. If your rear window is fogging up, turn on the rear window defroster because that’s what it’s for. (Part of being a good driver involves knowing what’s going on behind you as well)
4. If your front and side windows become fogged up during rainy weather, turn on your air conditioning along with setting your vents to Defrost mode. Air conditioned air is dry and helps clear a foggy windshield faster.
5. Turn on your headlights during rainy weather, so the non-perceptive drivers who don’t bother defogging their windows can see you and won’t change lanes directly into your front fender.
6. When driving in cold weather, icy patches tend to linger in areas shaded by trees and on bridges. Watch out for them. Same goes for wet patches and puddles in rain.
7. Over a long dry spell, dust and oil from cars accumulates on road surfaces. Upon the first sprinkling of rain, roads tend to become more slippery than if it’s been raining for the past two days.
8. When changing over two lanes of traffic, engage your turn signals for the first lane change, turn them off, wait a second or two while you drive straight ahead, and then signal again for the next lane change. Some people don’t bother doing this because it would make too much sense.
After passing somebody on a quiet freeway with nobody else behind you, wait until you are far ahead of the car that you just passed before pulling back into the slow lane again. I appreciate it when people do this to lessen the chance of a rock smacking my windshield, or to give me time to avoid surprise objects such as the occasional 2×4 and other debris lying on the freeway.
9. When putting on your seat belt, make sure that the lower lap portion of the belt is snug around your hipbones—not your stomach—because strong hipbones can withstand the force during a car accident. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
10. If you can’t see past the vehicle ahead of you when the road is wet and it’s dark outside, you can anticipate the need to apply your brakes earlier if you make the following observation: if you see a reflection of brake lights beneath the car directly ahead of you, that means that the car in front if it is slowing down.
11. When on the freeway, don’t tailgate—especially in “tailgate convoys” of 10 or more vehicles. And I ask one more thing: if you’re part of one of these convoys and for some reason you have to brake and swerve to avoid a car that’s slowing down for some reason, don’t go into my lane and mash me and my innocent car where I’m patiently driving at the speed limit—can you please just run yourself into the ditch and kill yourself there? Thanks.
12. When getting off the freeway, remember to decelerate on the off-ramp—not on the freeway. That way, you aren’t screwing up traffic flow patterns by changing speeds.
When roads are cold, they tend to get extra smooth and slippery near stop signs where braking car tires melt the ice and it refreezes again. For extra traction when approaching stop signs, drive slightly to one side so your tires are on the rougher ice where less cars have driven over.
13. When driving a car with a driver’s side air bag, place your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, if not lower. When the air bag goes off with your hands at the 11 and 1 o’clock position or higher, don’t be running off to the lawyer’s office to sue over your broken wrists or if you unintentionally punch yourself in the face!
14. If you insist on cruising with one hand, don’t keep your hand at the 12 o’clock position. You could at least keep it at the 6 o’clock position for the same reason as above.
To conclude it all, apart from driving safe, drive “courteously”. You’re impressing no one by weaving in and out of traffic and launching off the stop lights like the devil himself is out to have you.