Driving safely down the road

I asked a fellow employee about the idea of writing a road rage article. He said he loved the idea, but he thought that I should NOT be the one to write it. Apparently he has noticed a few habits of mine that are less than happy when it comes to driving.

Before I share some road-rage tips, I want to give you a brief history that may explain why road rage is such a friend – bad friend no doubt.

Part of my problem is that many years ago, when I was 20, I was told to drive defensively. I was driving with the boss of my boss. We were going arrange the sale of some of our fleet’s cars. He was the fleet coordinator for several divisions across the eastern United States and Canada. I drove nervously as we chit chatted about cars. Driving through Montreal, I noticed that his hands and feet were inadvertently twitching as if he had some control of the wheel and brake. I could tell he wasn’t enjoying the ride. Me neither.

Anyway he finally blurted it out, “Drive defensively. Don’t drive next to other cars on the sides. Give plenty of space to the driver in front. And oh, you can’t do anything about the car behind so just be mindful of him, but there’s nothing you can do about him.” It was the first inkling of road rage to think about tailgaters in this new “drive defensively” campaign.

Years later, I have a friend who drives a big over-the-road truck. Tires for the trucks are so expensive that they mostly use retreads on their rigs. We’ve all seen tire shrapnel strewn across the road from these defective retreads. Truck drivers call them gators. My friend says that gators are actually pretty dangerous. He has told me horror stories about people who drive next to diesel haulers when the truck’s wheel comes off. It is not a happy story – sometimes a deadly one. His advice? You should not drive by semi trucks that you should speed up to get in front of them whenever possible. Of course this has to be done safely but the reason I was told this is if tires come off of the semi, they become deadly weapons.

The road rage article will come next but take away these road safety tips:

  1. Keep your sides and front clear as much as possible
  2. Be mindful of the vehicle behind you but pay more attention to sides and front. There’s not much you can do with a tailgator. Don’t slam on your brakes to give him a hint. Just ignore him, sort of.
  3. Don’t drive next to semi-trailers. Get in front of them as safely and quickly as possible without breaking the local speeding laws.
  4. Don’t cut off big trucks when you pass them.

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