Stop acting like a 3 year old and share…
From the 20110818 edition of the Hamilton Mountain News written by Scott Marshall
Share and share alike; that’s what we’ve been told as a child growing up. We were taught to share our toys, share our candy and share our friends. For some reason though, we stop sharing when we start driving.
Sharing the road with other road users seems to be a forgotten art. Most drivers seem to be acting like the 3 year old – mine, mine, mine – when it comes to the space around them. Why not share it with another driver who needs it. I’m sure you would want them to share it with you if the situation was reversed.
For example, when a driver is accelerating along the freeway onramp and you know their lane will be ending, why not move over a lane or adjust your speed to let them in? It will save some aggravation for both you and them. Since most drivers tend to follow too closely on the freeway, you could also help the merging driver by increasing your following distance to a minimum of 3 seconds. This helps the merging driver blend safely into traffic.
I know; you’re asking “What exactly is a 3 second following distance”? When the back of the vehicle in front of you reaches a fixed object, like a pole or a bridge you start to count – one thousand one, one thousand two, etc – and stop counting once the front of your vehicle reaches the same marker. That let’s you know how far back you are from that vehicle. This space allows you time to see brake lights, get your foot from the gas to the brake and then time for you to stop your vehicle. It also helps other drivers to change lanes safely since it creates better space between the vehicles.
Another ‘sharing moment’ is when drivers make turns and automatically drift into the next lane; for no apparent reason. Why? What was wrong with the curb lane on the right turn or the left lane from a left turn? I fully understand that if your current lane has a stopped vehicle further up the road that you’ll need to change lanes, but when there isn’t any obstruction, why make a wide turn? You should always take the corresponding lane around the corner, unless it’s blocked. This helps keep the traffic flowing smoothly without interruption of being cut off.
Since making a turn is done at a slower speed than the drivers who are already driving along in that lane, you could be causing more frustration and risks than you are actually aware of. Some drivers may be forced to do a quick lane change because of your wide turn as it often causes drivers to quickly gain upon the turning vehicle. Other drivers could actually “nerve” you out of that lane by purposely tailgating you. Why create more risks on the road than we need?
We tend to create our own habits; whether they are good or bad. Habits are never erased; they are replaced. Replace your bad habit of “hogging your lane” and start to share the space. Choose the lane that best suits your driving style; not just a lane you want to be in for the sake of being there. Become that friendly driver who likes to share things, including the road.