Roadshow: Ms Manners
- Published Monday, August 22, 2005, in the San Jose Mercury News
Mrs. Roadshow's advice: Think of driving as a group endeavor
By Gary Richards
Q Gary, Mrs. Roadshow seems to provide good advice to you on occasion.
Perhaps she could fill in for you someday when you need a day off to
go fishing. As about 50 percent of us drivers are of the female
persuasion, there might possibly be a different slant on the rules of
the road. Entice her to write something by suggesting that she could
become the Emily Post or the Miss Manners of the macho driving world.
Oh, sure -- that'll happen!
A Fishing? Nope, but a baseball game? I'm outta here. So here is
Mrs. Roadshow who says:
I certainly won't hold myself up as Miss Manners of the road, but
thanks for the compliment. First, Gary and I are very different
drivers. I like the two left lanes of the freeway where you have to
be actively involved, eyes on the road ahead, both hands firmly on the
wheel. Gary likes the slow lane, where he can listen to a baseball
game, daydream a bit, toodle along, one hand on the wheel.
My overall attitude about driving? The daily road adventure is a
group project, not an independent effort. We have to work together to
get where we're going safely, sanely, in good health. Above all?
Drivers need to pay attention.
Q Why do some people feel it's OK to cruise along a line of vehicles
waiting to exit, and then cut over at the last second, creating a
longer backup? I see this constantly and I don't believe that any of
them didn't notice the exit until just then. I have actually seen
folks trying to cut in get angry because the people who waited in line
wouldn't let them over. This is asinine. Would you walk up next to
someone next in line at the grocery store or movie theater and just
cut in front of them when it becomes their turn to deal with the
cashier? Of course not. Yet, when some folks are in a car, they act
as if this behavior is acceptable.
A Mrs. Roadshow: The Last Minute Lulus who think they should get your
lane just because they want it -- and they're willing to hold up two
lanes of traffic to do so? No patience with them. I don't give my
kids candy any old time they want it, and I don't hand over my lane
just because somebody wants that, either. My call in each situation?
Q There is a raging -- raging! -- debate going on at a Web site about
slower traffic keeping to the right. People say that if they are
going the legal speed limit, they will stay in the fast lane. Please
discuss drivers who block traffic in the fast lane so the debate can
be put to rest.
A Mrs. Roadshow: These drivers are artery-cloggers. They create a
traffic hazard by wittingly or unwittingly blocking traffic. Leave
policing the pace to the people with the sirens. Stay out of the lane
if you can't go with the flow.
Q Hi Mr. and Mrs. Roadshow: For me, the most frustrating aspect of
using the far right-hand lane are those folks speeding and weaving in
and out of traffic. They come up quickly behind you and then become
agitated when they get boxed in. Should I move left to let them pass?
I stay put and let them figure they shouldn't be in the slow lane in
the first place. Sigh.
A Mrs. Roadshow: Find the lane where you can drive safely and
charitably with the flow of traffic. Stay calm, hold steady. Leave
the weavers an opening so they can get around you if they must.
Q Why do people find it so difficult to use their turn indicators?
I'm from an era where you had to stick your arm out the window to
signal. Now it just takes a flick of the lever to signal, yet they
don't. The people who don't signal are probably the same ones who
tailgate, run red lights and commit other traffic infractions.
A Mrs. Roadshow: I may make some people mad, but I'll say it anyway.
I think non-signalers are more likely to be on the phone, wandering
their way from one lane to another, often oblivious to drivers around
them. They're not signaling because one hand's busy with the phone
and the other with the wheel.
Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@... or (408) 920-5335.