You Should Never Break These Unwritten Driving Rules

Prospective motorists must master their state’s driving laws if they want to snag a coveted license. But mastery of those laws isn’t the only key to being a good driver. There are also unwritten driving rules that can make all the difference when keeping the peace and avoiding road rage. To help the new driver in your life (and maybe that new driver is you), we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most important driving etiquette tips. 

Wave to say thank you when another driver lets you in 

A smiling woman driving a red car in Italy in January 2020
Smiling and waving go a long way when driving | Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

We all like to feel appreciated. It’s a matter of simple driving etiquette: If someone does you a favor, a thanks is always appropriate. And in driver-speak, that thank-you is a wave of the hand, Wilmar reports.

Do not linger at the gas pump or leave it unattended for a long time

Waiting for a pump to open up is enough of a hassle as it is. Don’t be that person who makes everyone’s wait even longer by abandoning your car at the pump. Move your car out of the way when you’re done getting gas to make way for the next customer. 

Park properly and respectfully of other cars

If someone’s been waiting for a parking spot, consider it theirs. Don’t sneak in ahead of them. Not only is it rude, but you also risk escalating the situation. 

Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots 

This is a question of safety. If you’re driving alongside another car in its blind spot, there’s a real possibility that its driver can’t see you. After all, while we’re all told to check our blind spots, we all know that not everyone does. If the other driver changes lanes without looking, you could be in for an accident. An ounce of prevention can make a world of difference. 

Safely change lanes as soon as you can 

You’re driving on the highway and know your exit is approaching. Do you stay in the fast lane as long as possible, figuring you don’t want to slow down before absolutely necessary? Of course not. The sooner you move over, the less likely you’ll be to annoy other drivers or, worse, create a dangerous traffic hazard by cutting across multiple lanes. 

Always leave a note if you damage another car

It may be tempting to drive off if you accidentally hit an unattended car, but don’t do it Not only is this the wrong choice morally, but you never know what sort of witnesses or cameras might be around. If you end up getting caught, you’ve just made things that much worse for yourself. 

Do not block traffic when picking someone up

Don’t make everyone behind you wait while your friend finishes putting on their shoes. If the person you’re picking up isn’t waiting by the road, have the courtesy to continue moving and circle back, Complex explains.

Move aside for faster cars

Just as you don’t need to keep annoyed drivers behind you waiting while you wait for your passenger, you also don’t need to slow them down on the road. Don’t clog the fast lane unnecessarily.

Do not race other drivers 

Driving is not street racing. If another car is traveling faster than you, let it. The roads will stay safer, and they’ll beat you to the next speed trap. 

Pay attention to the traffic light if you’re first in line

We know, your phone is right there. And it’s tempting. But keep your eye on the light. If you cause five people to miss the chance to make a left turn because you were distracted by getting in one more tweet, karma will get you. OK, maybe you don’t believe in karma, but you probably don’t want to be an annoying driver.

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