10 Common Sense Road Rules That Should be Made Into Law
Driving a vehicle, even riding a bike and yes even engaging in travel the pedestrian way, all take some semblance of common sense. However, with the thousands of accidents that occur on and off the roads every year involving motorists, bikers, and pedestrians it seems that common sense or at least common courtesy for fellow travelers escapes many of the same people who tend to complain about the faux pas of other travelers. Not all road rules make their way into the prestigious ranks of traffic law but below is a list of some that should be seriously considered.
1. Driving with an animal in your lap. How often have you seen this happen? You are driving down the highway and when you look over in the lane beside you the vehicle does not have a human driver but a German shepherd or even worse, a Teacup Poodle. No mere mortal could possibly control a 3,000 pound vehicle safely with a dog, cat, or other furry creature behind the wheel with them.
2. Look before you leap. Or at least look both ways before opening a car door. Just because nothing happens 99% of the time doesn’t mean there won’t be that one cyclist or that one car that was driving a little too close to you. This applies in large parking lots too. Even though you aren’t there when the person next to you notices the large ding on their door when they return to your vehicle, your vehicle and license plate number will be.
3. Meals on wheels. We have all been guilty of eating and driving due to our busy on the go lifestyles. So a 5 piece chicken nugget, a few carrot sticks or even a hot dog is a pretty fair choice for a quick bite on the drive to your next destination. What is not acceptable is soups, full tv dinners, really anything that will involve cutlery. Not only is this dangerous for other motorists but how will you explain the fork that is stick in your face at the emergency room?
4. Get off my grill! Nothing is more annoying to a motorist than a person who follows too closely. While that is a traffic law even though there never seems to be a police officer around to see it. How about those who like to take this a step farther and do not leave adequate space for large vehicles such as trucks to make turns or change lanes? This is dangerous for the truck driver and for the rest of those who are sharing the road. Trust me, you aren’t going to get to your destination and quicker by causing an accident or traffic jam.
5. Applying makeup or changing clothes. Again, in this fast paced world women often do not have the adequate time to get the kids ready and off to school, get dressed and complete their look for the office. However, too often instead of maybe getting up a few minutes earlier or waiting until they get to work to finish, women can be seen traveling high speed highways applying lipstick, changing earrings, putting on mascara and even putting on their panty hose! These are all tasks that usually require both hands or at least steady hands and a vehicle traveling at 65 miles/hour is definitely not the right environment to keep yourself and others safe.
6. Blind spots. This may seem like a no brainer but people make a habit of driving in the blind spots of other vehicles. If the driver of that large tractor trailer cannot see you and needs to change lanes or make a turn, who do you think will come out the victor: your tiny mid-sized sedan or the tractor trailer? Many trucks even have special stickers that tell you if you can see the stickers the driver cannot see you. Why put yourself in risk just to try to keep up or avoid police radar?
7. Pedestrians and their assumed immortality. Just because you are a pedestrian and are granted the “right of way,” it does not give you the power of the traffic gods. With that being said, pay attention to traffic signals at cross walks. If the little blinking hand says to stop, it does not mean that you can go when the traffic slows down it means to stop until the little green or white man appears to say it is safe to cross. You may think that because you are already in the road the drivers will just have to stop but what if they are eating a tv dinner or putting on their panty hose?
8. The broken compass of the pedestrian. It is a pretty well known law that pedestrians are not allowed on roadways unless there is no sidewalk or shoulder next to it. However, when we do see some of these pedestrian warriors on the open road which part do you see their face or their trunk space? Do not walk with the flow of traffic if walking on highways always walk against the flow of traffic. Also just because there is no sidewalk doesn’t mean you get to share the road, walk in the shoulder on the side of the roadway so you don’t end up like that deer you passed a mile back.
9. Reflectors. Every bicycle comes standard with reflectors on the spokes, front handlebars and on the rear of the seat. Even when you purchase bicycle helmets they have reflectors on them. These are not enough especially if a car is driving behind a bicyclist and half of the reflectors are hidden. Wear reflective, bright clothing or prepare for a roll in a ditch.
10. Joggers and runners. You are jogging or running and getting some exercise and therefore are lacking in the automobile or cycle department. Therefore, the rules of pedestrians still apply to you! Just because you are moving faster than a walking pedestrian does not mean you have joined the ranks of your motorized brethren. Stay out of bike lanes and out of the vehicle lanes for traffic. Stick to sidewalks, shoulders or if you must be in the road jog against traffic and as close to the shoulder as possible.
There you have it, a guide to what you and I have all screamed about, complained about, and spouted strings of obscenities over and yet, have still done accidentally or on purpose ourselves. Take care, look out for fellow travelers, and buy some colorful track suits.
Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/1471408434/