Special to the Star
1. Left- and middle-lane bandits
"Drive Right'' not only means "drive correctly,'' it also means move the heck over. When you're on a multi-lane highway, you should be in the right lane unless you're passing someone. It's efficient, it's safe, it's polite – it's the law.
They're invariably angry, especially towards the slow-poke "idiots'' they're tailgating. Hey – if the driver in front is such an idiot, why would the tailgater want to get that close to them? Guess you can't expect these fools to think that far ahead. Leave yourself at least two seconds between you and the car ahead.
These people wouldn't barge in to a lineup at a movie theatre or the grocery store check-out counter. Why do they feel no compunction about doing so when a lane on the highway merges to an end? The guys who leave the driving lane and dive into the on-ramp to squeeze by two or three more cars are especially irritating – what makes their timetables so much more important than those of the rest of us?
4. Stealth drivers
These type of drivers are especially annoying – and downright dangerous – in poor weather. These people don't realize that their daytime running lights probably don't turn on the taillights (most cars do not do this automatically: shame on the car companies that do it that way; shame on Transport Canada for not requiring it). Think about it: Especially on highways where the vast majority of our kilometres are driven, it's actually more important to have the rear lights on than the fronts.
A related issue: People who don't realize that ONLY the Daytime Running Lights are on after dark. Again, no taillights.
The solution? Manually switch on all your lights, all the time.
5. Snow-blind drivers
These jerks don't clear all the snow off their car before driving away. This includes the roof – the accumulation can, and usually does, slide down to obscure the rear window. Ditto all lights, front and rear.
6. Greedy parkers
People who take up two parking spaces. I had to park two blocks away. Thanks a lot, you selfish creep.
While we're at it – I wish everyone would learn to back into their parking spots. It is so much safer when they leave.
7. The Idle Masses
Running a car at idle is the worst thing you can do – for the engine (raw gasoline can wash lubricating oil right off the cylinder walls), for your budget (your gas consumption rating is infinitely poor litres per 100 km) and for the environment (how can you justify spewing carbon dioxide into the air when you're not going anywhere?)
Switching off and back on again 30 times a minute – about as fast as it is possible to do – uses less fuel than idling for a minute. Even just a few seconds' idling is a bad idea.
Special places in hell are being reserved for big-rig truck drivers who know better – their engine manufacturers have been telling them not to do this for decades – and for people who have remote starters, the absolute worst accessory you can put on a car. Come on – it's Canada, of course your car will be cold first thing in the morning. Suck it up.
8. The four-wheel luge operators
Winter tires are designed for winter. We are in Canada; we have winter. Figure it out.
All-season tires should be called no-season tires: they're no good in summer (the compound wears quickly in the summer heat), they're no good in winter (the compound isn't grippy enough below 7 C). So far ,Quebec is the only province that mandates winter tires, but we shouldn't need our governments telling us to do the right things.
Oh, the worst thing you can do? Winter tires on the driving wheels, normal tires on the non-driving wheels. This makes the car virtually undriveable.
Those who have not updated their driving skills at an advanced driving school. You can tell these guys – they're the one in the guardrail in the first snowfall of the season. I've taken (or taught at) one or more advanced driving schools every year for 25 years, and never failed to learn something new every time. Okay, maybe I had more to learn. But most drivers out there have never EVER taken a lesson.
Scary stuff, kids.
10. Impaired drivers
Whether its from drugs, alcohol fatigue or other distractions, like the cellphone or programming a sat-nav system. I left this to last because surely we don't have to harp on this again?
There are several others that could be added to this list and I would change the order of the Top 10, but, there is sound safety information here.