I love to drive. I love to drive with the windows rolled down and the wind blowing through my hair, with the radio playing my daughter, Ilse’s, and my favorite songs (currently Belinda Carlisle’s classic “Heaven is a Place on Earth”). I love to drive down empty freeways in the morning and on grey, foggy San Francisco mornings. At the beginning or the end of my day, I look forward to stepping into my CRV and driving away. Even my CRV’s features are gifts to drivers, like the rear-view camera for perfect parallel parking or the sunroof that gives me the chance to get an extra dose of Vitamin D.
Of course, the perks of driving are tested daily by drivers who don’t abide by the rules of the road. I am more diligent and mindful of my driving, since I am toting my child 95% of the time, and Ilse’s safety is my priority. In my last article, I wrote about teaching toddlers manners. Today, I am shifting that focus to my fellow drivers because we should all be courteous to each other on the road, especially knowing many of us are chauffeuring our little ones.
Here are the top four things that I wish other drivers would do:
- Signal. Signal. Signal. Whether you are making a turn or changing lanes, please signal. If you’re going to double park on the street, turn on your hazard lights. Signaling informs all of the other drivers behind you of your actions. Signaling is how we communicate with each other on the road. No one likes to slam on their breaks because the driver in front of them did not communicate.
- Don’t solely rely on GPS to navigate. GPS devices are convenient and helpful, but how often have we been stuck behind a fellow driver who is driving down the freeway or street very slowly because they are lost and trying to figure out their GPS’s directions? Or, even worse, they are not paying attention to the road while they fumble with their GPS and are swerving into another lane. When in doubt, pull over and regroup. I use my GPS device to navigate to new places, too, especially when I’m outside San Francisco, but I also make it a priority to review the directions prior to heading out on the road. I want to know where the one-way turns are and if there are landmarks to watch for. Please focus on the road, not just your GPS device or phone.
- Turn on your lights. Even if dawn is breaking, your lights should be on, and I wish this was automatic in all cars. I see barely visible cars driving down the road all the time during my morning commute to my daughter’s daycare. Scary. If I am having a hard time seeing you, others are, too.
- Stay in your lane. I know San Francisco’s streets are narrow, but can we each stay in our own lanes? I give a little more leeway to buses because they require more space to turn and change lanes, but passenger cars don’t need this. Cars that encroach on other lanes cause traffic and confusion on the road.
Driving any vehicle is a privilege, and all of us should treat it as such. We’re accountable for our actions every time we step into our vehicles, so let’s be a little more courteous to each other on the road and abide by the rules. Driving is a much safer and more pleasurable experience when everyone does their part.