It's been a long day at work, people have been on your case all day and you're headed home to grab the kids and get them to practice on time.It's been a long day at work, people have been on your case all day and you're headed home to grab the kids and get them to practice on time.
You come up to one of Maine's infamous lights where there are two lanes stopped at the traffic light and you have to merge as you cross the intersection (Washington Ave, Brighton Ave, Riverside Drive, you name 'em). As you approach the intersection this car pulls up ahead of you and then swerves into your lane and slams on their brakes to avoid careening into the car that was ahead of you; consequently you slam on your brakes to avoid hitting them and the paperwork you were bringing home flies off the seat and is strewn all across the floor. This is the same routine that has played out night after night as you commute home and you have had enough ... you keep replaying in your mind a scene out of Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch rams this young woman's car in a parking lot screaming "You may be younger and faster, but I'm older and I have better insurance!"
So what can you do? Since we are an insurance agency, we aren't going to suggest you take the action Evelyn did but we do understand your frustration. Driving in traffic can bring out the worst of any driver, so if you find yourself getting "hot under the collar" the first thing to do is to take a deep breath. Then take inventory of what didn't happen ... no one got hurt, you didn't have an accident and you're not going to be any later then you would have been if you hadn't been cut off. Think of how much time and money you saved by being a proactive driver ... no waiting on police, no reports, no rental car, no deductible, no increase in insurance rates. Good job!
As long as there are drivers on the road, there will be some discourteous drivers. To avoid the frustration of the discourteous driver in the future and to remain safe, leave more space between you and the car ahead of you, you may end up letting more people in front of you than you prefer and you may even miss the green light, but you took the high road.
- When you pull up behind someone at a stop, stay far enough behind them so you can see where their back tires touch the road ... by leaving this space, if they should stall, get stuck or not be able to proceed, this distance will allow you room to pull around them without having to back up.
- When following traffic in clear and dry conditions, you should remain at least 3 seconds behind the car ahead of you when in in-town traffic, on the highway a minimum of 5 seconds. Add more time as your speed increases and more as driving conditions deteriorate. To determine your distance, find a fixed object such as a sign, telephone pole or bridge and count the seconds from the time the back of the car ahead of you passes the object to the time when the front of your car comes to that object. When in doubt, stretch it out.
- If an angry driver gestures to you, pulls up next to you and/or stares at you ... do not gesture back, do not make eye contact, just continue on your way.
You're safe driving will pay you back over an over again, in part by keeping your insurance premiums down!