Florida is full of terrible drivers. Like FULL. The drivers here (myself included) get lulled into complacency because everything is smooth, flat, and dry most of the time. When it is raining, we tend to lose our minds. It's bad enough that my local highways always have reminders up on our road signs to NOT USE OUR HAZARDS WHILE DRIVING IN THE RAIN. It's a law, it's a rule, it's a common sense tidbit that all drivers should know - and yet enough drivers in Florida forget about it that our government has to put up signs to save us from ourselves. We never have to drive in snow, we never have to learn how to park on hills and that means we're decently ill-equipped for driving anywhere other than Florida. My apologies to the people who got stuck behind me in 2015 while I tried to figure out parallel parking in Manhattan in December.
I deserved every single one of your annoyed honks and shouted expletives.
One Reddit user asked:
What 'rule of the road' do most people forget?
I couldn't help but wonder if drivers everywhere else were just as ridiculous as native Florida drivers are ... turns out the answer is a resounding YES. Drivers everywhere forget all kinds of rules - though maybe "forget" isn't the right word. It seems like a lot of these are rules that people are just choosing to ignore. Here are some of the most common responses, some have been pieced together from multiple people's comments and stories.
Have fun - and learn how to merge!
After overtaking, make sure you can see the car you overtook in your rear view mirror before pulling in front of them. This is how you maintain a safe distance. Driving school I went to used "don't pull in front until you can see both of their headlights in your mirror" as their guideline. Stuck with me.
Turn On Your Lights
Where I live, people forget to have their headlines on all the time. I've seen way too many people on city streets and highways with their lights off. Probably because they have auto lights and since their interior lights are on, they think their exterior lights are on. But, still, it's incredibly dangerous.
One time I went to pass a car in front of me and I almost hit a car with no lights on next to me. As they passed by me, the passenger gave me a dirty look. So I rolled up behind them and flicked my lights off and on. Then I pulled up next to them, pointed at my lights, and started aggressively pointing at theirs. Only then did the driver realize it and turned on his lights.
Like, come on folks, you're not the only ones on the road.
Right of Way - The Right Way
Don't try to be "nice" and let someone else take your turn at a stop sign. You are just slowing the whole process down. Don't be nice, be predictable. I wish more people would remember this. It's nice that they will let someone else go in their place, but they're not a cop. They don't direct traffic. Being unpredictable or indecisive can be deadly. Either for you or for the people behind you.
If you lift your car or get a new big suspension, re-calibrate your headlights so your normal lights don't turn into high beams for everyone else. I'm guessing most people don't know that regular headlights often are nearly the same brightness as high beams, they are just aimed differently. In fact on my car, after changing to LEDs for my normal headlight, my high beam is now a lower light output than my low beams.
You're driving a multiple-ton hunk of steel that will basically murder any living thing it touches. F*cking relax and pay attention. It's still the leading non-natural cause of death. You're operating the #1 cause of death outside of natural causes! Act like a responsible adult!
There's a reason that every airplane crash, every school shooting, every shark attack, and every freak roller coaster accident gets covered by the news, yet auto accidents rarely do: because the former are unusual, but the latter are unbelievably common, so much so that they just aren't "news". Unfortunately, this also gives us a skewed sense of where danger is most commonly lurking.
People get on planes and get anxious, but they get behind the wheel of a car, turn up the radio, and read their text messages while aggressively passing anyone not going 10 miles over the speed limit.
In general, how to use merge lanes and on-ramps. The idea is to get your vehicle up to traffic speed by the time you need to change lanes onto the highway/interstate/etc. The idea is NOT to slink down the on ramp at 40 mph when traffic is going 70 and then feign surprise when 'No one will let me merge'... Just grinds my gears and I hate having to follow people like that into high speed traffic.
The on ramp is also called an acceleration lane. I get so mad when I'm behind some idiot going 40 up the ramp. You should hit the freeway at the speed traffic is going. Probably my #1 peeve when driving.
Notable exception: Semi-trucks and other heavy, slow accelerating vehicles that sometimes cannot attain travel speeds, especially on short on-ramps.
Not At Intersections
Don't change lanes in intersections.
I swear, some people seem like they wait for intersections to change lanes. There's no line of sight and no lanes, so people around you can't really predict what you're doing. Just wait til you get across.
Make Sure You Fit
You can't completely cross an intersection because there's traffic on the other side?
You wait at your f*cking side, and not in the middle of the intersection. Yes, even if there is a traffic light that might soon turn red. Even if the light is green, don't cross unless you can clear the intersection. Yes, it might mean that you have to wait through another red light but you do not block the intersection.
The other day I had this old lady honking like hell at me to do enter the intersection but the traffic was backed up and not moving.
"Yeah, lady, I can see that the light is green but it will turn red sometime in the next few seconds, at which point I'll be blocking traffic.....not that you worry about such things."
Indicate before you turn.
Which, if that's unclear, means first. If you want to do a turn or change lanes or whatever, you signal and THEN check to make sure it's safe (stop skipping this step!) THEN you can do your thing.
I actually learned about this when I was getting pissed off at people constantly waiting until the last minute to merge and I wouldn't let them. My logic being that they should have merged a half mile back instead of at the last minute (cutting the line so to speak). I decided to look it up and lo and behold I learned I was wrong and how zipper merging works. Although I think some people take this too far when they can't merge and decide to drive on the shoulder or off the road because someone won't let them merge. Then there's the one that change lanes into the merge lane so they can cut the line. I let more people in now to try and make this concept work, but it's hard when people take advantage anyway they can and are total sh!ts.