Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Nice Drivers Aren't Always Good Drivers

We've all appreciated the nice driver who paused among heavy traffic to let you make that right turn so you could join the hundreds of other drivers slowly inching their way among the streets to their destinations. Courteous, patient drivers, who are alert to their surroundings make a happier world...

Except for when the "niceness" goes too far. When the niceness leads to traffic jams and car accidents. That's when I sit in my car screaming, "Just drive people!" I encounter this a lot living in the Midwest, where people can be too polite for their own good.

For example, if two people pull up to a four-way stop sign and one person decides to be nice and wave the other person on, then that's nice. The other person should continue on their way, not insist they be the nicer person and wave the other ahead. This is one way a traffic jam happens at a four-way stop sign. Another way is when four people pull up to the stop sign (obviously coming four different directions) and the first person at the stop sign decides to politely wave another person forward. First, it would be faster for you to just keep driving than it would be to be polite, and second, just because you were the first person at the stop sign doesn't mean you get to choose who goes forward next. Everyone knows that it is whoever got to the the stop sign first.

Next example, someone is trying to turn left or right onto a busy road and is waiting for a break in the traffic. You are traveling down the road when you see this person trying to turn. You should not then stop in the middle of the street to let this person go ahead of you, this is how accidents happen. First, the people behind you might get impatient and try to go around you making it impossible for the person turning to try to turn. Second, if they are trying to turn left they have a whole other lane of traffic (moving in the opposite direction) to contend with. Third, there might have been a pause in traffic after you drove by (had you maintained the speed limit) that the said person was going to take advantage of, but because you slowed down and stopped in the middle of traffic you have not only confused the person, but you have allowed the gap to close with more traffic! You have done no one a favor by being polite. (Not to mention the potential fender-bender because you stopped in the middle of the road).

And don't even get me started on merging! I will just say, pay attention and let people in, and to the people merging, speed up and try your best to match the pace of the traffic.

With the holiday season approaching let us all practice good driving manners. Be patient and courteous, pay attention to what's happening around you, follow the rules of the road (remember that driver's license test you had to take oh so many years ago?), and most importantly stay safe.


  1. So true! I love a little bit of road politeness as much as the next person, but people seem to take it just too far sometimes. I can't tell you how often my time is wasted by people playing the "no, you go!" game at stop signs. Just GO already!

  2. LOL

    I had one of these situations tonight. I was the Polite Driver in this scenario, who left a gap for the lady to get out of the McDonald's drive thru. Now, when I stopped, there were ppl behind me in my lane but not to the left, the light was red, she could have just zipped right out. She hesitated, cars came into the left lane, the light turned green... And by this time, I had become that blockage we all dislike!! Grrrr.

  3. I hear ya! This happens to me all the time here in Georgia and I've never had so many problems with people being over courteous in my life! What craziness!

  4. We have less of the polite driver here, more like the "I'm the king/queen of the freakin' road" drivers down here. Seriously, just this afternoon I watched people shoot the gap to jump AHEAD of an ambulance with its sirens ON. Yeah...but, Kit has personally experienced the fender-bender with kind-hearted people allowing him to make left-hand turns across the road. After bump #3, I'd say we've learned our lesson. :P

  5. HA! You will rarely find polite drivers here in LA! & Nice or not accidents always happen we need a happy medium! =D