Like just about everything else, our driving habits have gone to hell during this two-year pandemic nightmare. Right from the get-go, police were reporting more speeding, more stunt driving and the general cutting of corners on safe, defensive driving.
Young male drivers have developed an aversion to brakes as they take turns at full speed like they’re operating bumper cars in an amusement park. Older citizens are reporting drivers are passing them on the wrong side and yelling “Get a horse!” I stopped doing that well before the pandemic arrived.
So in order to reset the safety button I have compiled a few driving tips which I have personally developed over the years. However, since every person is different, this guide may or may not suit your driving style especially if your drivers license is currently under suspension and your insurance agent has asked permission to use your driving record in his upcoming seminar “Dufus At The Wheel.”
For instance, recently I have noticed many drivers slowing down and then rolling through the STOP sign near my house. Remember ‘STOP’ means stop, as in ending forward motion. ‘STOP’ is not an anagram for “Slow To Observe Police.”
Posted speed limits have always been a little imprecise in that, with the exception of school zones you can cheat a little. Going 45 km in a 40 km zone probably won’t earn you a ticket and doing 90 km in an 80 km zone likely won’t get you pulled over. But doing 110 km on the 100 km QEW will get you run over by an 18-wheeler from behind. The QEW is the only highway in Canada where a stunt driver has a better chance of survival than you do.
Recently, you may have noticed these new radar “Your Speed” signs on city streets. They’re designed to remind you how fast you’re driving. Do not use them to test the acceleration power of your engine. These flashing signs are powered with a small solar panel on top. If you happen to be in a real hurry, run your errands on a cloudy day when they’re unable to function. Soon we will ignore these annoying signs the same way we got used to screaming car alarms and unnecessary emergency lights. Soon they will become just another distraction in this the age of distracted driving.
Still on that subject I find if you turn up your car radio really loud it will drown out that annoying “Ding! Ding! Ding!” noise that reminds you that your seatbelt is not fastened.
As basic as this may sound, it’s still worth mentioning that a red traffic light means stop, green means go and yellow, according to guys driving big honkin’ pickup trucks means “Tromp it! Tromp it!” Yellow used to be the symbol of ‘caution’ and now it’s the signal to quickly tailgate through the intersection.
And just because you hit ‘Cruise Control’ doesn’t mean you can crawl into the backseat for a nap. Remember ‘Cruise Control’ was designed to keep your speed on highways at about 15 km over the posted limit so as not to get pulled over.
Contrary to common belief, using your turn signal does not drain the battery. Use your blinker. Not while you’re into the turn but well ahead of time so that poor bugger waiting to pull out of the side street can read your intention and be on his way. He likely does have a life. Use your damn blinker.
Also and again this applies to older drivers, look in your rearview mirror once in a while where you will likely see the driver behind you pulling out his hair. Going slow in the fast lane is like leaving your vehicle in a Tim Horton’s Drive Thru to go inside and order your coffee. Don’t do that.
When trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic that always involves either an accident or a trip to Toronto, contrary to what the experts say — you do not need more patience. You need a louder horn. Pretend it’s a major Mexican festival like Cinco de Mayo and have fun.
Do not eat and drive. Not only is that a driving distraction, you risk spilling mustard or catsup on your cellphone. Claiming you were driving really fast to get the snow off your windshield will not get you out of a speeding ticket. Shaving while driving is also against the law unless you use a cordless electric shaver.
With the prediction of the first snowfall of winter immediately drive to Toronto and set your lawn chair up beside any busy street. In 2016, Toronto’s first blanket of snow resulted in 500 accidents in just 24 hours! You would have to attend 173 Molson Indy’s to see that many car crashes.
When it comes to different driving habits remember the words of the great and late comedian George Carlin who said: “anybody who drives slow is an idiot and anybody who drives fast is a maniac.” Of course, neither reference applies to you.
And if everybody drove religiously with two hands on the steering wheel, your right middle finger would not possibly get you into road rage trouble. Of course if everybody drove religiously there would be a toilet paper-like run on the market for Saint Christopher medals.
Speaking of religion and broaching the subject of drinking and driving, remember, “Only your car can be recalled to its maker.”
Drive safely and keep your mask over your nose.. not your eyes.
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