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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Things are heating up

It looks like summer heat is here, and along with it, drivers are ready to make up for the past year-and-a-half’s restrictions and hit the road.  As temperatures and the number of vehicles on the roadway rise, try to keep a “cool” attitude and don’t fuel others’ pet peeves.

Among those universal driving aggravations, there are some “favorites” that persist in readers’ email reporting.  I’ll remind you of those with a couple goals in mind:  1) that you avoid committing them and thus don’t annoy others, and 2) you can be prepared to remain calm while others inevitably commit them.

Left lane hoarders 

Legal use of the left lane on multi-lane roads is allowed for vehicles about to turn left, when overtaking and passing another vehicle, and moving left to allow a vehicle to merger from the right.  Other than for those reasons, please stay out of that lane.  Emergency vehicles and drivers who wish to speed will appreciate it — you may even avoid a ticket.  This peeve seems to be on many drivers’ anger-lists.  So, if it seemingly makes everyone so angry, who are the perpetrators?


This persistently practiced peeve has been the catalyst for many incidents of rage and I really wonder why it continues with such popularity.  Again, if it irritates so many, who is doing it?  Evidently, some percent of drivers tailgate and the remainder get mad about it.  

One thing I’m sure of — few drivers speed up as a result of being “pushed” by an aggressive driver — some even slow down.  If the too-close follower’s wish is to go faster, tailgating is likely counterproductive.

The best way to handle a tailgater is to move to the shoulder and let them pass.

Turn signal nonuse

That seems like an example of a “laws don’t apply to me” attitude.  This mentality permeates other areas of life, such as dog walkers walking them in the park off-leash.  An above-the-law attitude will eventually get the perpetrator in trouble, so do you best to ignore them — they’ll be cited or have an accident sooner or later.

And remember to get your vehicle ready for summer heat as well.  Tires take a lot of extra abuse at high temperatures, especially on a long trip — check pressure (when cold) often.  More batteries fail in the heat than in the cold — if you’ve used your five-year battery for six years, you aren’t going to make it through the summer.  If you don’t know the age of your battery, a repair shop can test its current condition.

Engine coolant should be changed about every three years on the average — this is especially important for aluminum engine components.  Make sure all of your coolant-carrying hoses are in good shape too.  Your cooling system is only as good as its weakest link, and a broken hose will stop you hot.

The very best safety device for your vehicle is an experienced well-trained driver in a proper state of mind to deal with all the elements of operating a car or truck amid traffic.  Practice the mechanics of driving with proper execution of technique.  Know and understand the rules of the road.

Just as throughout the year, keep a cool head while driving this summer — try to avoid making driving errors, and refuse to get irate over the errors of others.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at


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