Thursday, August 13, 2009

Did you bring it along?

Reposted from the blog Scott Marshall aka "The Safe Driver"
Check out more of his work at

I love driving. To be honest, it relaxes me. I know it doesn’t for a lot of people. For the 21 years as a driving instructor, I’ve spoken to many people who hate driving with a passion. Why? If there’s something they don’t like about driving, why not find out how to fix it? I’m sure it would make them feel better.

As I drive, to work, to soccer, to take my kids anywhere, I see a lot of angry drivers. Why are they so angry? Do they take a course in being nasty on the road? Probably not. But why would they do that to other drivers? I’m sure they would be annoyed if someone did that to a loved one of theirs.

One of the drivers on the series Canada’s Worst Driver felt everyone was out to get him. He actually believed that. When it was brought to his attention that the other drivers on the show couldn’t drive, he actually understood that drivers make mistakes. Most weren’t doing it on purpose, rather because they didn’t know how not to do it.

I can imagine how these people respond to people at their work place when someone else makes a mistake. Do they start yelling at them and screaming obscenities at them all of a sudden? Most likely they don’t do that, but what’s the difference? What brings out the negative attitude in the car?

Recently when I was driving, I needed to make a lane change so I could turn left onto the upcoming street. There was a van behind me in the left lane so I sped up to increase the space between us so I could change lanes safely. As I sped up and signaled my intention, he sped up. Why? I then sped up some more and so did he. I decided to slow down so he could pass and as he passed, I went in behind him. When I pulled into the left turning lane beside him I glanced over at him. He was glaring at me and mouthing off. Why did he feel it was necessary to block drivers from doing safe maneuvers? I’ve never understood the logic in that, or with yelling at someone through a closed window.

It’s interesting that we can “mirror” someone by acting a certain way. If we get mean with rage at other drivers, they do the same with drivers near them. But if we do nice things, that gets transferred to the other drivers as well.

As drivers we need to remember to relax and enjoy the drive. Take in the scenery and enjoy each moment. Smile at other drivers and they may smile at someone else. Just imagine the stress you’re avoiding by not bringing road rage to almost every day of your driving life. It may help increase your life if you leave the rage elsewhere.

~~My Addition...if I may~~

Along with a smile, try a polite wave if you make a mistake and someone points it out to you or you realize your error. Nothing says I'm sorry like saying, "I'm sorry".


  1. I am usually a very calm driver, and courteous. But the ONE thing that "grinds my gears" are left lane hoggers.

    They choose to drive slower than the flow of traffic in the passing lane... the middle and right lane cars would be passing left lane cars... Those people are dangerous because they force left lane cars to switch lanes and pass them, thus creating more lane changes than normally would occur.

    The one thing i noticed in the US is that people respect the "passing lane" and move when they feel they are holding traffic back.

    I heard there are some states with laws against "left lane" driving when the right lane is open. We should have that in Ontario.

    Great article, and i find that making eye contact with a road rager and smiling or waving tends to shut them down very fast and leave them dumb founded...

    either way,
    TPS Traffic Unit keep up the good work!

  2. Great point!

    Normally I'm a right lane hog, but when I have to get somewhere, I and all my firends in emergency services, need that left lane and there always seems to be no shortage of left lane bandits.

    It's a fact that more lane changes do lead to more problems on our roads. The law is to keep right except to pass and I wish more people would respect that law.

    Here are a couple of things that can help encourage other drivers to move over.
    1.) Offset your car to the left portion of the lane so that you are more visible in their drivers side mirror.
    2.) Maintain a safe following distance. 2to3 seconds
    3.) Turn on your left turn indicator.
    4.) A quick flash of your highbeams to get attention.

    Never follow too close to try to encourage the movement.

    Remember that this is not just a multilane highway problem. The same respect of the left lane should be paid in the suburban and city environments as well.
    Thanks for the comment!