Friday, September 2, 2016
A good driver...
A good driver is many things, what he is not, is the person behind the wheel doing anything except driving, i.e. Talking on the phone, eating, lighting a cigarette, drinking alcohol, fiddling with the radio, etc.
What qualities in driving excellence would you instill in your own child as you teach him or her to drive a car? I have a few commonsense observations which most of you probably know, but many of you obviously do not. I know this because I drive with you every day and some of you are not aware, not focused, not paying attention.
Let's talk mirrors. If you glance at your left-side mirror, can you see the side of your car? If you CAN then you're doing it wrong. The car in your left blind-spot isn't three inches from your rear quarter panel, he's several feet to the left of that. On your right side, can you see the right quarter panel of your car? If you can then you're doing it wrong! The car in your right-side blind spot isn't three inches from your fender. He's probably about four feet away from it. Adjust your mirrors accordingly. If you're doing it correctly, you won't have blind spots. As a car moves beside you from behind you, you'll see him in your mirrors the entire time, until he's beside you and you can turn your head and see him. The side mirrors are maladjusted on most every car. A logical person thinking logically about where cars are going to be would quickly understand that if you're mirrors show the side of your car, you're doing it wrong.
A good driver isn't lost. A good driver knows the route and alternate routes in the event that the main route is blocked or jammed. A good driver scans right, left, mirrors, instruments, constantly. A good driver knows the speed limit and just slightly exceeds it in clement weather, goes slightly under in inclement weather. A good driver has clean windows and working windshield wipers. He doesn't have ice, snow, fog, or mud occluding his view. Remember this, a deaf driver can be a good driver, but a blind driver can never be anything but a terrible driver. Look ahead as far as you can see. A good driver doesn't drive contentedly along within a pack of semis or behind an SUV with darkly tented windows. A good driver likes to see the road far ahead, not the rear-end of some big truck. If he's going slower than traffic he moves to the right lanes, if faster, to the left lanes. He never blocks the passing lane. (A good driver knows the leftmost lane on the highway is the passing lane.)
A good driver is well-rested. He's alert, relaxed, and doesn't have to use the bathroom. In the best of conditions a good driver has no distractions whatsoever and demands that passengers sit quietly keeping their mouths shut. If that is not possible, a good driver slows down, finds a safe place to pull over, and when safely stopped, cautions everyone that conversations and rambunctiousness cause wrecks. Tell them to shut up and sit there. You don't need their advice, their directions, their comments, their criticisms. You don't need to know about their plans, their hopes, their desires, or their dreams.
Concerning patience: A good driver masters impatience. Relaxing music helps when traffic is bad. A good driver doesn't listen to loud boisterous music like rap or heavy-metal when the streets are jammed with cars.
A good driver knows what's around him. He's aware of the cars around him and knows when somebody is about to drive thoughtlessly and carelessly. YES! A good driver has a sixth-sense about idiot drivers and can spot them a mile away.
A good driver doesn't drive in thick fog. He pulls to the side and waits. Every mass pile up in history has a thick cloud of fog surrounding it. When a deer or other animal runs out in front the car, a good driver reacts calmly, and smoothly, avoiding if safely possible, and if not possible, controlling the vehicle as it strikes the animal. If it's a pedestrian, a good driver takes a greater risk to avoid striking the person, but not at the risk of his own life or his passengers.
A good driver pulls over safely whenever something besides driving must be done, i.e. checking maps, adjusting seats, mirrors, instruments, phones, radios, or underpants.