I have a unique part of my job that differs from a lot of people’s work lives: I get to spend a LOT of time in my car everyday!
Being in Sales, I drive a lot of different places all the time and put a minimum of over 20,000 miles a year on my car. Sadly, I see just about everything out on the roads here in Chicago and not too much surprises me anymore. People drive VERY fast. People drive VERY slow. People zig-zag in and out of traffic. Motorcyclists drive in between cars when traffic is slowing to a crawl. Truckers almost drive automobiles off of the road…I think you get the idea.
So while I am out driving, I have noticed a lot of things that have lead me to create the following list of observations:
- Stay out of the left lane, unless you are passing several cars! In Illinois, you can now get a ticket if you don’t and I know someone who did! Studies have shown that slow vehicles cause accidents, not fast ones.
- Watch out for motorcyclists! I have several friends who ride bikes and they have reminded me to constantly check all around me when I am changing lanes as it is so easy to miss a motorcyclist in a blindspot.
- When a police officer is pulled-over on the shoulder with their lights on and you are approaching in the far right lane, move over into the next lane until you pass the officer. Here in Illinois, many police officers were hurt or even worse killed because of people running into their squad cars and now it is a law that if you don’t move over, you will get ticketed!
- If you are going to change lanes, check several times before moving over. Today, I was driving down a 4-lane road and had my family in our minivan when a lady in the lane next to us put her turn signal on and started to move over, almost sideswiping us as we were driving up along side of her! I had to lay on our horn before she swerved back into her lane.
- Not all truckers are bad guys! They are earning their livings driving 100’s of miles a day and are transporting the same products your see in our stores. They do have mirrors, but because their vehicles are bigger so are their blindspots. So when you decide to do something in front of or around a trucker, just remember, your vehicle weighs 2,000-3,000lbs and their rig weighs up to 80,000lbs!
- Smoking while driving is highly not recommended. I have seen many people with one hand on the wheel and the other with their hand out the window flicking their cigarette butts and swerving in the process. Concentrating on that cigarette is a distraction like talking on the phone and driving and leaves you less in control of your car.
- Speaking of cell phones, PLEASE do not drive and talk on your cell phone! Most states have laws that require you to have a blue tooth device in order to talk to someone while driving. Despite these laws, you would be surprised how many people still drive and hold their cell phones to their ears while driving and many times these people are swerving into the next lane or slowing-down and speeding-up while they are driving.
- If I am driving down a 2 lane road and you drive right behind me, near my cars back bumper, there is a very good chance I am going to slow down and drive the speed limit! Tailgating does no good, especially when there is no place for the person in front of you to go. I talk to more people who share this sentiment with me.
- Be EXTRA careful near and in school zones! I drop our youngest daughter off at school several days a week and see many people drive fast, not allow people to merge into the drop-off lane, cars stop fast and the car behind almost run into them..the list is endless of close calls and what is scary is that this all around children going to school!
- When merging from an exit onto an expressway, make sure you are going at LEAST the speed limit. If you are in the right lane and you see a vehicle merging from an exit, either allow room for the vehicle to merge ahead of you or speed-up so that the vehicle can merge behind you. I have witnessed many close-calls of vehicles almost sideswiping or running cars off the road because people are no careful merging or allowing a vehicle to merge.
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