These driver behaviors are my pet peeves. But they seem so common that they must be written down somewhere as “safe” driving habits. I beg to differ. Folks who follow these mythological rules cause hazardous conditions and irritation for all of us:
- Myth #1– You need to slow down to the speed shown in the off-ramp before you reach the off-ramp. No! Unless already filled with cars, off-ramps are designed to give you plenty of time to reduce your speed. Ever been on the freeway when traffic suddenly and mysteriously lurches to a complete standstill? That’s probably from someone who subscribes to this myth.
- Myth #2-It’s safer to slowly enter the freeway to be sure you can enter a lane. This is the reverse of Myth #1. If you enter the freeway going 45 then everyone in that lane has to slow down for you or change lanes, both of which will- again -bring traffic to a screeching halt, potentially causing accidents. On-ramps are designed to give you plenty of time to reach freeway speeds, making it safer and easier for other drivers to allow you to merge in front of them if traffic is moving normally.
- Myth #3– It’s good to check traffic conditions on my cell phone or tablet while driving. It is never OK to check the Internet for anything while your car is moving, unless you have voice navigation. Using your cell phone can be deceptively reinforcing: you do it once, nothing happens. You do it more times, nothing happens. But the fact is, a lot can happen in that split second that you are glancing at your phone. Could be the first time. Or the 300th. I see drivers weaving all over the place at night as they gaze down at the blue light in their lap. Sheesh.
- Myth #4– If I’m the only one obeying the speed limit, then I’m the safest driver. Sorry. Your mother’s admonition, “Well, if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you too?” doesn’t apply here. The safest speed to drive, unfortunately, is the speed everyone else is driving.
- Myth #5- When proceeding through an intersection after the light turns green, it’s best to let the car in front of me get 10 car lengths away before I move. This isn’t dangerous. Just highly unnecessary, discourteous and irritating, especially for those very short lights where it takes three cycles to make it through.
Your Constructive Comments are Welcome!