Saturday, June 13, 2015

Signaling is NOT Optional

Some of you are probably aware that I love my job as a shuttle driver for a giant Toyota dealership here in the Sacramento area. Most of my days are well-spent, driving folks home, to work or maybe the mall and I enjoy them. However…there are things that annoy the hell out of me, all relating to the insane drivers I encounter along the way.  Let’s just review the rules of the road and you tell me if you’ve run into any of these people yourself.


Let’s define tail-gating, because this seems to have been missed in Drivers Ed class by some people. We are supposed to allow a car’s length between ourselves and the next car for every 10 miles per hour we are going. Therefore, if you’re driving at 40 miles per hour, there should be four car lengths between you and the next guy.  I’m especially fond of the drivers who double the speed and half the car lengths at the same time, i.e. 80 miles per hour while riding the other car’s bumper at two car lengths away. I see it all the time - every day, in fact.  My method for dealing with this? I pull over the minute I can and let them go by. Usually, I’ve managed to take this whole thing personally (they’re just bugging me in particular) and realize that they are equal opportunity tailgaters when they immediately run right up on the behind of the next car. I think there should be some form of capital punishment for this behavior. Flogging, perhaps?

And on the same line of thinking, what happened to using the blinker? I know they’re still teaching that in driving school, yet approximately 15% of drivers, young and old alike, don’t seem to know where the knob is located.  Hint: it’s that odd-looking lever that sticks out behind your steering wheel on the right. That’s right, you’ve got it now. (Speaking to the 15% of readers who also do this – oops, I forgot my readers are entirely too smart to think signaling is optional.)


I truly don’t get this new trend for drivers to stop at a light miles from the car in front of them. What is that about? Okay, maybe not miles, but far enough away that you could run a football play in the yardage between the cars. Does it hurt anything? Probably not, but really, what’s going on? This seems to have cropped up in the past few years. I just don't get it, but I'm pretty sure there's a conspiracy there somehow.

The second item under this heading is merging. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows that when we’re forced to merge into one lane, every other car takes a turn. Yet there’s always at least one yokel who just has to push it and be car number two to proceed from his or her line. No! Every other one. Be human, will you? Monkeys are not yet allowed to drive.


I can guarantee every single driver that constantly rushing from one place to the next will not prevent them being late occasionally, nor will it necessarily get them to their destination any faster. How often have you had someone cut you off only to pull up aside them at the next stop light? Let's just slow it down people. Perhaps a little Zen shrine on the dashboard would help? Maybe some massage music in the CD player?


I’ve decided to look into marketing digital message boards for the back windows of our cars with some preset messages so that you can just push a button and LED lights will spell out “Back off”, or some similarly universal message.  Perhaps “I’m going to tell your mother how you’re driving.” Of course, you’d still have to allow people to personalize their message when appropriate as in “Hey you! Yes, you in the Black Escalade. I know you’re a soccer mom so quit driving like a drug dealer. Okay!?”

I’m looking for venture capitalists as I write this!


  1. What a great idea, Kat. I think one more important one for the open road would be: "Slower Traffic Keep Right". I've had friends explain to me that they drive in the left lane at the speed limit because it helps slow down the speeders. Many bad wrecks are caused by this type of driving, because those that want to go faster, Will.. My response to the people who like driving in the left lane--no matter what-- is: "If you want to control traffic join the police force!

    1. Oh, Dannie, I see this all the time. It's really crazy thinking and you're right, it causes so many accidents. Pulling over is the best way to handle tailgaters and speeders!