May 28, 2010

Geo-Inspired Road Rules

For six years, I cruised around town in a ’95 Geo Metro. It was a 2-door, bright-green hatchback that would pretty much fit in the back of my boyfriend’s truck. It was awesome. I’d proudly brag about the ridiculous gas mileage and the fact that I had the 3-cylinder model. That’s right – only 3 cylinders, of pure awesomeness.

The downside to driving a cute, little green car with no power (besides the obvious)? Other drivers pick on you. I had many theories as to why; the fact that I always drove the speed-limit, gas mileage envy from my fellow commuters, picking on the little guy – I guess my car was an easy target. Regardless of the reason though, I got tailgated, fingered, honked at and cut-off on a daily-basis. Things have changed now that I drive a newer model, black Honda Civic with a “Baby o n Board” sign swinging in the back window. But I still remember the Geo days of highway harassment and in response, have developed my own set of rules for proper driving etiquette.

RULE # 1: Drive the speed limit (almost).
I’ve done a good job of convincing myself that you’re not speeding unless you’re more than 10% over the speed limit. I’ve followed the 10% rule for 11 years and (knock on wood) never gotten a speeding ticket.
In a school zone though, I always drive under 30 km/hr and this is for two reasons. The first is pretty obvious – you don’t mess around when it comes to children’s safety. The second reason is because I work for the School District; can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to get ticketed in front of my coworkers and students? I can; I live in fear of it.

RULE #2: Never tailgate.
It’s rude, it’s dangerous and it rarely accomplishes anything. Be patient - you’ll be able to pass eventually, but for now – Back the Truck Up! (haha, I had to put it in here somewhere).

RULE #3: Never harass Golden Oldies, Baby Momma’s or L-Babies (or people who drive Geo Metro’s)
There are so many seniors who should not be allowed to drive but for whatever reason, they are still out there on the road. They may be partially blind, easily confused and unable to work their own radio but honestly, they’re old and they’ve earned the right to drive however slowly they want. I’m a big advocate for a shiny, silver “S” sticker (those veteran plates are a good giveaway too) but until then – keep your eyes open for those little gray heads peaking out over the steering wheel and give them plenty of space.
And always leave our Student Drivers alone. It’s nerve-wracking enough learning how to drive, then consider the additional stress and humiliation of having to drive with a bright red “L” sign on the back of your car and your mom in the front seat beside you. Don’t traumatize our L babies by giving them a hard time – be patient and back off.

RULE #4: Know the written rules of the road.
This one’s pretty basic. If you’re not sure what the law is – look it up. If someone honks at you or seems pissed off by your driving, you might want to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, you might have actually done something wrong (like cruising down the highway in the passing lane when you are obviously not passing anyone).
Know the rules of the road, but just as importantly…

RULE #5: Know the unwritten rules of the road.
  • Flash your lights for other drivers when you see speed traps (unless they look like they should get caught or if it’s a school zone). It’s good karma.
  • Always merge as soon as possible. People who speed up and try to squeeze in at the front of the line shouldn’t be let in – ever.
  • If someone’s stopped at a green light, count to five before honking. Excessive horniness is just plain rude.
  • If you stop or slow down to let someone into your lane, only one car gets to come in.
  • And if someone does ‘wave’ you to go ahead of them – wave back. It’s polite.
  • Bikers always wave to other bikers, so if you see someone driving the exact same car (and same color as you) you can wave too if you like! (Car twins!!)
  • Shotgun rules are always in effect.
  • If someone gives you a ride, you should always pay for at least half the gas – Gas, Grass or… no I’m kidding (I love Dazed and Confused) but seriously, don’t be a cheap skate.
  • Also, driver chooses music. Don’t like it? Drive your own car.
  • If you’re going to crank your tunes, keep your windows up. If you don’t have a sub, don’t crank the base. If you’re stuck in traffic, don’t crank the tunes.
RULE #6: NEVER, ever, drink and drive.
Choose a dependable DD (someone who won’t forget that they’re the DD) or call a friend, family member or taxi. Remember, cab fare is cheaper than the fine for a DUI, spending the night at someone’s house is better than spending the night in jail and who wouldn’t prefer to get a call from a drunk friend at 3am who needs a ride than a phone call the next morning to tell you your friend died in a car accident.
Drinking and driving is stupid. Don’t do it. And if you do, I hope you get caught.

That’s it for my Rules. Check back and I’ll add more as I think of them – let me know what I missed.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree that people who rush to the front of the merge line should not be let in! I have been given the middle finger so many times over this but I don't care- play by the rules or deal with it!