A Lesson In Driving Etiquette

G’day, children. Today we have a lesson in how to handle other drivers. This is a subject dear to my heart as the vast majority of drivers in Utah are, to use a technical term, dipwads. Sure, drivers are bad everywhere, but what makes our drivers in Utah extra special is their inherent ability to drive poorly and blame everyone else around them at the same time.

“Did someone have a bad experience on Utah’s illustrious, manicured lanes today?” Don’t get me started.

Let’s look at two examples of how to deal with a similar situation: Getting cut off…

  1. In our first example, we have two drivers. Driver A has been travelling along the free way in foggy conditions with his/her headlights and fog lights on. Driver A is travelling at approximately 75 MPH. Driver B is driving the most dreaded of all Utah vehicles–a light truck or sport-utility, for which there is no apparent reason for ownership other than “I like to sit high and I need a huge tailgate to fit my 17″ x 11″ American flag decal.” Driver B enters the free way via an on ramp, and is thus in the far right lane, travelling at approximately 70 MPH. Driver A is in the far left lane. Driver B decides he/she absolutely must be in the far left lane in the next 3 seconds, and darts across 3 lanes of traffic, entering the lane of Driver A in such a fashion as to cause the driver to slam on the brakes, honk the horn, and scream something profane including mention of a turn signal and words describing a donkey and a ditch. A finger is displayed. All within a manner of about 10 seconds. Driver B drives off nonchalantly, and Driver A deals with the near-death experience and copes.
  2. In our second example, we have three drivers. Drivers A and B are about to merge onto a free way with a somewhat tricky approach. Driver A is travelling at roughly 50 MPH, directly in front of Driver B, who realises this is a free way, and desperately wants to speed up so as not to be killed. Conditions are foggy, but Driver B has all lights on, and checks his mirrors. Driver B signals and quickly changes into the new lane of the free way. Immediately, Driver B notices driver C very close in the rear view mirror, but not so close the Driver C has had to slam on the brakes, which would be indicated by a slight (or major, in some cases) dip of the front end, such as would have been the case with our first example. Driver C also as neglected to use his/her headlights or foglights in this foggy weather. Driver B speeds up, so as not to cause any more grief to Driver C, who is now flashing his/her until then unilluminated headlights. Driver B puts some distance between his/her car and the car of Driver C. Had this been the previous case, our story would have ended here, with one driver feeling a bit sheepish, and another learning to cope with anger and forgiveness. This, however, is not the case. Driver C decides that he/she must become an unyielding action movie star, and chase after Driver B because of his/her innocent mistake. Driver B sees Driver C in pursuit, and decides to exit the free way. Driver C follows. Driver B is now worried. Driver B is forced to stop at a red light at the bottom of the exit, and Driver C pulls up along side Driver B’s car. Driver C rolls down his/her window and proceeds to scream and make highly offensive gestures at Driver B, who is simply raising his/her hands and mouthing the words, “Sorry, simple mistake!” The light changes, and Driver C gets back on the free way in a tiff, while Driver B decides a change in undershorts is in order.

What can we learn here. Well, I’d like to say the chasing someone off the road and screaming and threatening them is obviously the wrong choice to make, and at very least will result in very bad karma. I’m not the most patient driver myself, but I think we need to get over ourselves. Sure, it’s a frustrating experience, but hey, express your frustration quickly and get on with life. Imagine, for instance, if Driver B in example two had been a car full of gang members? Driver C just got him/her-self in a whole load of trouble, and might end up shot. As much of an asshat as Driver C clearly was, even I don’t want that to happen to them.

I miss the Met in Melbourne…