turn, turn, turn
I wrote something a while ago at Bad Sam and I think it need repeating.
I had appointed myself the Driving Czar of the world and I wrote about one of the cardinal rules of driving: using your directional signals. Now that the nice weather is here and people pay even less attention than usual becauset hey are too busy sticking their heads out the window looking at the pre-pubescent girls in tops made out of one thin strip of cloth, the rules need to be gone over once more. (Yes, let's just say I had an incident this morning).
(Originally written in October 25, 2001)
I have appointed myself to a new position within our government's administration. I am now the Driving Czar. It is my job to make sure this nation follows the rules and regulations set forth by various legislative codes in regards to driving.
There are an awful lot of you out there who either don't know the rules or have just chosen to ignore them. This is bad. This makes for unsafe highways, road rage and a nation of cursers. We need less hostility, folks, and obeying the laws of the road can go a long way towards making for a peaceful existence.
I'm going to start off with the basics. Refamiliarize you with the general rules of courtesy, respect and proper driving habits. The first, and most important, is:
Use Of Turning Signals. You may call them directionals, or blinkers. Whatever the culture of your particular geographic region dictates (like a pop/soda thing), this much is clear: YOU HAVE TO USE THEM
Let me walk you through this. Imagine you are driving. Grab hold of the imaginary steering wheel (hands at 10 and 2 of course). Now, take your left hand and move it to the left of the steering wheel. If you wiggle your fingers a bit, you should hit the directional lever. Bet you didn't even know it was there!
With me so far? Ok, now suppose you are going to make a left hand turn, or switch to the lane to your left (when switching lanes, it is a good idea to make sure that the lane you are going into is for traffic headed the same way as you). Put your hand on the lever and push it gently down. You should hear a ticking sound or, in some cases, a dinging. If you look on your dashboard, there should be a little blinking arrow lit up, pointing to the left. This means you have succeeded in turning on your directional (I know you are pretending at the moment, so just visualize, ok?). Once the lever is down and the sound and/or arrow are indicating leftward movement, you may proceed to make sure your path is clear, and then continue on with your intended movement. If you are looking to make a rightward movement, apply all the preceding steps, except move the lever UP instead of DOWN. I know, this is confusing and new. Take a moment to write this all down.
We use our directionals for several reasons. First, it lets other drivers know your intentions. You do not want to be in a left lane, with miles of traffic behind you, and suddenly spring on the driver to your rear that you are going to turn, something that usually takes a few moments to do. Other drivers tend to get nasty when you do this to them, and as Driving Czar, I would like to see a reduction in the percentage of irate drivers. Second, if you are changing lanes, this lets other drivers know. This is important because if you switch lanes without signaling, people will make up new and creative things to call you. They will not be pleasant things. They may even use their own signal of sorts, when they stick their hand out of their car window and salute you with their middle finger held up. This means they are mad. If it is accompanied by cursing and name-calling, they are a bit more than mad. They may tailgate you and/or harass you. And honestly, as Driving Czar, I give them the liberty to do this. People who do not use their directionals are subject to any kind of abuse that other drivers may throw at them, and I will not deter these pissed off drivers from smacking you upside your head once they catch up to you. Think of them as my street team. My personal driving vigilantes.
So letís recap. Using directionals good. Not using directionals bad. Good means less mad drivers. Bad means you get bitchslapped. Go to your cars and practice. I know you will get the hang of it eventually.
(note: running for the presidency means I will have to give up my driving czar position, so it's up for grabs)