Friday, March 19, 2010

Reality Road Rules

      Since I have no college training in Driver Education, I am sure I would not qualify as an "expert witness" in a court of law. Nevertheless, over a period of many years I have diligently observed what other drivers do, and as a result I have compiled a list of rules of the road based on those observations.

1. No matter how fast I drive, everyone behind me wants to drive faster. This is especially true of the stupid driver directly behind me, who wants to do it without passing me. He practices what are technically called "tailgating" and "hornblowing."

2. The self-appointed guardian of highway safety directly in front of me always drives ten miles per hour slower than I wish to drive, except when I am in a hurry, in which case, he drives twenty miles per hour slower.

3. When waiting in line to turn right at a traffic light, it is a good idea to drive through the bays of a corner gas station in order to eliminate the wait. As a side benefit, this speeds up traffic by shortening the waiting time for all the other cars in line.

4. If a school bus with flashing red lights is on the opposite side of the highway, teach those little children how traffic works by passing the bus as if it were not there. However, if the bus is on your side of the highway, slow down slightly while passing it. After all, children have rights too.

5. When exiting a freeway, always wait until the last possible moment to leave the diamond lane and cut across four lanes of traffic to the offramp.

6. Speed limits mean what they say - do not drive any slower than the limit. It is a good idea to drive at least five, and preferably ten or more miles per hour faster than the posted limit.

7. Driving can be boring, so it is perfectly acceptable for the driver to pass the time by reading the newspaper, shaving, drinking coffee, changing the baby's diaper or getting the kitten out from under the seat. Talking on a cell phone is also acceptable, although the preferred venues for using that instrument are movie theaters and restaurants.

8. When a traffic light turns red, it is a signal that only three cars, an 18-wheeler, a school bus and a motorcycle have time to complete their left turn.

9. Never pass up the chance to improve the other driver's skills. For example, when drivers are attempting to enter the freeway, tailgating in the slow lane is a good way to improve their ability to squeeze in when room between cars is limited.

10. Occasionally the other driver will not realize that you are teaching him a valuable lesson (Rule 9), but normally he will indicate forgiveness by extending his middle finger toward heaven. You should acknowledge that forgiveness by returning the signal.

11. In the event he still does not understand (Rule 10), take a tip from the Boy Scouts and be prepared. Shoot first!

To read excerpts from “The Spirit Runs Through It,” click here.

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