If you drive often, it’s likely you’ve heard about some of the common driving manners that are a good idea to follow. They can make the road safer and help you avoid accidents.
While some of these rules are outlined by traffic laws, many are unspoken and are part of the general driving etiquette. They can make the road easier and safer for everyone.
1. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Keeping your eyes on the road is one of the most important driving manners. It helps you see the roadway ahead, as well as everything else on the street around you. It also gives you more time to react to changing speeds or conditions before they become dangerous.
Drivers who pay close attention to the traffic around them can often avoid a lot of accidents. This is because they are able to spot hazards that may not be noticeable by drivers who are distracted or have poor vision.
Another way to stay focused on the road is by constantly checking your rear view mirrors. Ideally, you should check them every two or three seconds so that you can see all of the vehicles and people around you.
You should also keep an eye out for anything that may be coming up behind you, such as a child playing in the road or a ball rolling down the street. These distractions can cause you to take your eyes off the road for only a fraction of a second, which is why they are so dangerous.
Distracted driving doesn’t just involve using cell phones; it can include eating, playing with your car radio, or adjusting the navigation system on your vehicle. It can even be something as simple as reaching for an object in your pocket or seatbelt, says Simons-Morton.
As we mentioned, the majority of crashes are caused by a lack of concentration on the road. This can be caused by a variety of distractions, but it is particularly dangerous when a driver has alcohol in their bloodstream.
This is because a few drinks can make it hard for the central vision to focus on the road, which makes the driver unable to notice the things that are happening on either side of their vehicle’s lane. This is a very dangerous situation for drivers and other road users, and it should be avoided at all costs.
2. Don’t Linger in the Left Lane
While it may be difficult to understand why someone would hang out in the left lane while a line of cars is trying to pass, it’s actually not legal. It’s considered coercion and can result in stiffer penalties, which is why some states have started to crack down on it.
In Germany, for example, drivers who linger in the left lane can be fined up to 50 euros (around $72) for their actions. That can feel like a lot, especially when you’re stuck behind someone who doesn’t seem to want to move over.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving slower than the pace of traffic is a very dangerous thing, even when you’re doing the speed limit. It can cause you to drive into the path of another vehicle, which could lead to a collision.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this type of situation. The first is to check in your mirrors before you change lanes and signal your intent.
Next, look quickly over your left shoulder through the back window to make sure there are no vehicles in your blind spot before you pull into the left lane. This is especially important if there are lots of tall trees or buildings behind you.
This can also help you prevent accidents, because you’ll be less likely to tailgate or weave in and out of lanes as you try to get past a driver who won’t move over.
There are many ways to avoid these problems, but one of the best is to stick to your lane and pass on the right. That will help you avoid a bunch of fender benders and get to your destination in less time.
3. Turn Off Your Brights
Using your brights too much can make it difficult for other drivers to see. This is especially true when it’s dark outside, which is common in areas with no streetlights or where there are wildlife and other hazards.
In these situations, it’s important to use your low beams instead of high beams so that others on the road can see you safely. However, when you’re on a freeway or a remote country road that has no other vehicles within 500 feet, you can switch to your high beams to see more clearly.
When you’re on the highway, it’s also important to dim your high beams if there are other vehicles in the distance or if you are following someone else. This is to avoid blinding the other driver with glare from your brights and also because the other driver may not be able to see you.
You can also try to dim your high beams if there is a deer on the side of the road. This is a good way to warn other drivers that there is a hazard on the road.
The same applies if there are debris in the road or if there’s someone trying to cross the road. You can also use your high beams to signal a driver ahead that you’re going to pass them, but be sure to do so slowly and carefully.
There are many different laws concerning headlights and brights, so you should always be familiar with your state’s rules. If you’re caught driving with your brights too bright, you could face penalties that can include a fine or jail time. If you have any questions about how to drive safely, don’t hesitate to contact us.
4. Give Way
Giving way is a key part of driving manners and one that can be tricky to grasp. But it’s a rule that all drivers should understand, and can have serious implications for the safety of everyone on the road.
When you’re driving on a road that’s not marked with a stop sign or give way line, you need to give way to any vehicle turning right across your path even if they are not facing a stop or give way sign. This includes pedestrians and other vehicles that are in the same direction as you at a given intersection, regardless of whether they’re in a marked crosswalk or not.
Drivers also need to give way to buses that are approaching an intersection with a stop or give way sign. This is especially important when a bus has its yellow lights on, as this can signal that it’s about to enter the intersection and can be dangerous for pedestrians.
Another example of giving way is when you are turning off a road and there’s another vehicle waiting to turn. Many learner drivers get confused with this and think they need to give way to that vehicle before they can turn.
You must also give way to vehicles entering a roundabout at a controlled intersection, even if the traffic light has changed. This applies to vehicles turning left or right and can be particularly confusing for new drivers, so take your time.
This can be difficult to do in busy areas, so try and avoid these situations as much as possible. If you have to, try to slow down or pull into the next available lane so that you’re giving other drivers plenty of time to pass. It’s also a good idea to use your indicators if you need to merge or enter traffic. This can save you from an accident, as other drivers may assume you’ve given up your right to go first and move in front of you.
5. Give a Wave
A wave is a quick movement of the hand or body from side to side. It is a common way to say hello or goodbye, or to signal to someone that they should move in a particular direction. However, there are some circumstances in which giving a wave can be illegal and can cause you to be held liable for accidents or injuries that occur as a result of your actions.
When it comes to waving in front of other drivers, a good rule of thumb is not to wave them in unless you are absolutely sure they can safely cross the intersection in front of you. The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that if a driver waves a driver in the other lane, it is their duty to be sure they can cross safely and without being hit by another vehicle.
There are many different types of waving, but the most popular is called a “Drive-By” or a “Finger Waggle.” It usually involves a relaxed hand with pinky finger hanging down. It can also be made with a taut, fingers-together salute. This is a great way to let other drivers know you are friendly, but be careful not to wave them in unless you are certain they can cross the intersection safely.