Has an inconsiderate driver ever cut you off? Did another motorist merge into your lane without seemingly knowing you were there? From nonchalant late-brakers to impatient tailgaters, there are plenty of jerk drivers out there. And you might sometimes be guilty of jerky driving behaviors yourself. But if you have a new year’s resolution to practice driver safety and quit your aggressive tactics and road rage, here’s how you can avoid being inconsiderate behind the wheel.
Jerk driving moves to avoid
You can probably think of a few jerk-driving encounters off the top of your head. According to Jalopnik, the zipper merge presents ample opportunity for people to drive in an angering way. Don’t slow down when merging. Instead, maintain the same speed as the road you’re merging onto so you don’t impede others. And if you’re on the freeway, move over when possible to make way for motorists trying to merge.
Another jerk move is the looky-loo syndrome, which affects drivers even miles away. If there’s a visible car accident or flashing lights ahead, don’t be a rubbernecker and slow down to see what’s happened. If you don’t plan to stop and help, or if it appears the authorities have things under control without you, keep driving. Slowing down to get a better look will create a traffic jam for miles behind you.
What courteous drivers do
Courteous drivers are quick to turn off their high-beams when oncoming cars approach. Polite motorists also use their blinkers, signaling to others lane changes and turns. And on the highway, conscientious drivers don’t travel for miles in the left passing lane when they’re not passing.
How not to be a jerk driver
If you’re looking to change your driving habits, start with a few common scenarios. You might think slowing down to allow someone to pass or turn before you is a courteous gesture, and sometimes it is. But you could be disrupting the traffic flow, inadvertently being rude to others.
When you’re on the highway, you can signal to truckers with a flash of your headlights, DTS reports. Signal a truck to merge in front of you or thank a driver for allowing you to merge. A quick flash of your lights can be a courteous roadway thank-you to those around you.
Safety should motivate your every driving habit
Jerk drivers are almost always inconsiderate because they’re not paying attention. It’s unsafe not to have your eyes on the road or casually checking your surroundings. Texting while driving is an absolute safety hazard, too, and can cause you to miss a stop sign, lane convergence, or late brake.
Speed limits are set for a reason as well. Higher speeds in low-speed areas present more dangers. Remember, accidents happen because one or more drivers lost focus behind the wheel. If you approach driving with a safety-first attitude — with mindfulness of pedestrians, signals, and other drivers — you’ll ultimately be a more courteous driver.
As a bonus tip, do your best to allow enough time for your drive or commute. When you’re in a hurry, you’re likelier to make driving mistakes. And you’re likelier to get angry when other drivers are inconsiderate. Adopt a few of these tips and do your best not to be one of those drivers you loathe most. It’s a resolution that can keep you safer when you’re on the road, and even a few improvements are better than none.