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The details of driving matter

There are numerous benchmarks indicating achievement in driving proficiency.  Avoiding crashes is one such mark and avoiding traffic tickets is another.  But meeting those basic goals does not necessarily mean that you are driving perfectly.

Some accident-free drivers may have straight fenders, but are only unscathed because of others’ defensive actions.  Even error-prone drivers may regularly have their mistakes mitigated through accommodation by defensive drivers, avoiding accidents through luck rather than skill. Also, many driver shortcomings are not citable or otherwise escape the eyes of law enforcement, so some poor drivers might maintain a clean motor vehicle report (aka driver record).

Bad driving habits abound, and it takes awareness and practice to reduce them. On the other end of the spectrum, certain good driving habits are often ignored and not practiced.  Some of these bad and good habits are addressed in official rules of the road, but other details of precision driving are not covered in state laws and driver handbooks.  Getting better at driving’s common-sense details can improve harmony on the roadways.

Your driving details impose consequences upon others around you.  Drivers often complain to me of other driver annoyances. For example, some drivers can’t seem to stay out of winter’s sand and debris buildup left at the edge of many roads. This directs dust, sand and rocks wayward.

That’s a good example of an oblivious driving style that affects others — one that is similar to another practice I’ve encountered on freeways.  Often, when a passing vehicle reenters the lane if front of me, they cut back unnecessarily soon, then spend an inordinate amount of time with first the right, then the left wheels running on the center line.  This sends the sand, rocks and other residue that builds up on the centerline stripe right at my windshield.  I’m certain many drivers, have received windshield damage from this inconsiderate driver habit, as I have more than once.

I think truckers appreciate a small gesture I make when they are following me on a two lane road.  As we approach an uphill grade, I speed up about 5 mph to allow the truck some extra speed and momentum for the impending incline.  I know they notice it, as they always stick close to me during the speedup, then fall back as the hill scrubs off their speed.

As I’ve reported in the past, uneventful, proper freeway merging seems impossible for many drivers.  Stopping at the top of the ramp, entering 60 mph flowing traffic at 40 mph, or forcing one’s way in where there is no hole, are all-too-common bad behaviors.

Another improper merge comes from eager drivers behind me who wish to cross the triangle at the top of the ramp, and beat him to the freeway lane.  The obvious problem with this is that now the car-in-a-hurry occupies the space I am seeking.  The result is a squeeze-play, where I need to halt my merging speed to avoid the retaining wall to my right, and merge behind the perpetrator.

Crossing this spot, commonly called the “gore area,” is illegal and ill-advised.  I’m not certain of the origin of that designation, but gore could certainly be part of the outcome of an accident resulting from this poor driving habit.

Please follow the established rules, and practice common sense driving procedures that promote harmony on the roadway.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.

There are numerous benchmarks indicating achievement in driving proficiency.  Avoiding crashes is one such mark and avoiding traffic tickets is another.  But meeting those basic goals does not necessarily mean that you are driving perfectly.

Some accident-free drivers may have straight fenders, but are only unscathed because of others’ defensive actions.  Even error-prone drivers may regularly have their mistakes mitigated through accommodation by defensive drivers, avoiding accidents through luck rather than skill. Also, many driver shortcomings are not citable or otherwise escape the eyes of law enforcement, so some poor drivers might maintain a clean motor vehicle report (aka driver record).

Bad driving habits abound, and it takes awareness and practice to reduce them. On the other end of the spectrum, certain good driving habits are often ignored and not practiced.  Some of these bad and good habits are addressed in official rules of the road, but other details of precision driving are not covered in state laws and driver handbooks.  Getting better at driving’s common-sense details can improve harmony on the roadways.

Your driving details impose consequences upon others around you.  Drivers often complain to me of other driver annoyances. For example, some drivers can’t seem to stay out of winter’s sand and debris buildup left at the edge of many roads. This directs dust, sand and rocks wayward.

That’s a good example of an oblivious driving style that affects others — one that is similar to another practice I’ve encountered on freeways.  Often, when a passing vehicle reenters the lane if front of me, they cut back unnecessarily soon, then spend an inordinate amount of time with first the right, then the left wheels running on the center line.  This sends the sand, rocks and other residue that builds up on the centerline stripe right at my windshield.  I’m certain many drivers, have received windshield damage from this inconsiderate driver habit, as I have more than once.

I think truckers appreciate a small gesture I make when they are following me on a two lane road.  As we approach an uphill grade, I speed up about 5 mph to allow the truck some extra speed and momentum for the impending incline.  I know they notice it, as they always stick close to me during the speedup, then fall back as the hill scrubs off their speed.

As I’ve reported in the past, uneventful, proper freeway merging seems impossible for many drivers.  Stopping at the top of the ramp, entering 60 mph flowing traffic at 40 mph, or forcing one’s way in where there is no hole, are all-too-common bad behaviors.

Another improper merge comes from eager drivers behind me who wish to cross the triangle at the top of the ramp, and beat him to the freeway lane.  The obvious problem with this is that now the car-in-a-hurry occupies the space I am seeking.  The result is a squeeze-play, where I need to halt my merging speed to avoid the retaining wall to my right, and merge behind the perpetrator.

Crossing this spot, commonly called the “gore area,” is illegal and ill-advised.  I’m not certain of the origin of that designation, but gore could certainly be part of the outcome of an accident resulting from this poor driving habit.

Please follow the established rules, and practice common sense driving procedures that promote harmony on the roadway.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.