It can be frustrating to take to the streets with drivers who are careless or don’t follow simple rules of the road.
Everything from turn signals to stop lights may be mismanaged by a less-than-stellar driver behind the wheel.
So before you take to the open road, here’s a refresher on some driver etiquette rules that you may want to remember and hope other drivers pay attention. Some of these could even cost you a ticket if a cop sees you not following them.
Don’t text and drive
This is simple driving etiquette that can make sharing the road easier and could also save your life. Remember to always keep your eyes on the road instead of being a distracted driver with their nose in their phone while the car is in motion.
Pay attention at stoplights
Sometimes you may end up being the first person in line at a red light, but that isn’t the time to start playing with the radio, texting your friends, or scrolling through social media on your phone. Keep an eye on the lights so you’re ready to go when they turn green, or risk getting honked at by drivers behind you.
Pull over for emergency vehicles
Not only is it important to pull over for emergency vehicles, it’s also the law. If you see lights or sirens in your mirrors, look for a good place to safely pull over and give emergency vehicles the room to get past. Remember they are rushing to an emergency or taking someone to a nearby hospital.
Be respectful of others’ cars
A side hustle like a ride-sharing driver is a great way to make some extra cash. But if you’re a passenger rather than the driver, you should follow some basic etiquette even if you’re the one paying for the ride.
Remember to show respect to your driver and their vehicle as it’s usually their personal car. Try to treat both well and you’ll get a good rating on ride-sharing apps.
Insure your vehicle
New Hampshire is the only state that does not require car insurance, but that doesn’t mean every car on the road is insured.
Car insurance can cover repairs, damages and other costs if you’re in an accident. But if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist, it may be difficult to get them to pay up.
Pro tip: There are ways to save money on car insurance if you need coverage to protect both you and potentially others if there’s an incident.
Park between the lines
It can be so frustrating to roam the parking lot for a spot only to find that other drivers are taking up two spots or haven’t parked properly to let you have a small piece of asphalt for your car. Instead, be mindful of the lines when you park your car and consider straightening your car out and trying again if you don’t get it quite right on the first try.
Give a wave to thank drivers
Did a driver let you get in line as a lane narrowed or maybe slowed to give you space to pull out into traffic? Some drivers may be polite while sharing the road, so give a nice wave of acknowledgement to thank them and perhaps encourage them to promote proper etiquette in the future.
Learn how to zipper merge
Construction traffic and closed lanes can be frustrating, but there is a proper way to handle them. Pull up as far as you can before the lane closes and merge in with the cars in the lane that is still open. Try not to hold up traffic behind you by pushing into a small break way before the closure starts. That causes longer back-ups and issues with the traffic behind you.
Be mindful of your brights
The bright option for your headlights is a great way to light dark areas when you’re driving at night. But brights may be too bright when you encounter oncoming traffic. So remember to be aware of cars coming toward you and adjust your lights so you don’t blind other drivers.
Stay with your car at the gas pump
It’s not a good time to wander if you have the gas pump nozzle in your car to fill up your tank. You’ll want to keep an eye on the nozzle to make sure it doesn’t spill or cause potentially hazardous issues. And once your tank is full, try to pull out of the way and park in a parking spot to grab something from inside the gas station so others can use your pump.
You may have trash in your car from a fast-food lunch stop or an empty cup from your morning coffee. Don’t throw it out the window while you’re on the highway so you don’t have to deal with it. Instead, keep roads clean and take your trash with you to dispose of properly.
Remember your turn signal
It can be dangerous when a driver in front of you turns without warning. Turn signals are on a car to alert other drivers that you’re planning to go a certain direction. It’s also good to remember to turn off your signal after you’ve switched lanes or don’t need it any longer.
Use the passing lane to pass
The left lane on highways and freeways is the place to pass slower vehicles. The passing lane isn’t for slow traffic. Instead, try to get past a car as quickly and safely as possible in the passing lane and then move out of that lane so that others can pass you as needed.
Don’t block the box
Think of the middle of an intersection as a box that you shouldn’t be stuck in. You don’t want to be caught with the back of your car sticking into oncoming traffic when their light turns green. Stay on the correct side of the traffic light if you see stopped traffic ahead and wait until you have enough room to completely go through the intersection.
Remember your passengers
You don’t want to be the person that no one wants to ride with because you’re not paying attention or fussing with buttons and knobs the entire ride. You also need to remember that passengers may be a distraction. Feel free to ask the passengers in your car to quiet down or stop behaving a certain way if you need to pay attention to the road.
It’s a good idea to remind yourself and other drivers of the best driving etiquette rules before you pull out of your garage or driveway. Obeying the traffic laws and driving at the speed limit are ways to save money on gas. And being a courteous driver may help you stay safe on the road.