Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Six Rules for Driving

If you are going to share the road with me, here are some rules that I expect you to know:

  1. Don’t tailgate me.

    If you tailgate me, I’ll slow down. Unless you try to pass me, in which case, I might speed up. And if we’re in a no-passing zone, I’ll slow down more. Just. To. Piss. You. Off.

  2. Use your signals.

    It’s a shame that you spent $35K on that Mercedes and the signals don’t even work. You should take it back for a refund. If you are about to make a turn or switch lanes, use your freaking turn signal. That’s what they’re for: to warn the other drivers on the road that you’re about to do something stupid. that they should pay attention to.

  3. Don’t use your signals.

    If the car in front of you is about to turn, don’t use your signals to warn the cars behind you. That’s just dumb. If you aren’t the one making a turn, leave your signal off. If your brake lights work, then we already know that we need to slow down. And by the way, you forgot to turn your signal off five minutes ago, and it’s driving us nuts.

  4. Slow down.

    Have you ever sat down with a calculator and tried to figure out just how much time you save by speeding? I have. Unless you are travelling very far, very fast, it’s not likely to save you more than a couple of minutes. Which is worth more to you: the three minutes you saved by trying to zoom past everybody, or the $2500 in body work on your car when you slam into the yahoo who turned in front of you without signalling?

  5. Merge.

    Just do it. If the other drivers value their cars, they’ll make room for you. Quit sitting at the end of the merge lane waiting for a big opening. Maybe you should turn your signal on, so people will understand that you want to change lanes, eh? You’re making the rest of us late for work, and we’re going to have to speed to make up the difference.

  6. Slower Traffic Keep Right

    Have you ever seen those signs that say “Slower Traffic Keep Right”? Well, just because you don’t see one right this minute doesn’t make it any less true. If you aren’t in the process of passing somebody right now, get out of the way. But use your signal first.

If everyone will just keep these things in mind, I’m sure we’ll all be a lot happier.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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38 Responses to Six Rules for Driving

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  2. Rich says:

    #7 – Get off the phone and drive!

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  4. Teli says:

    Oh…and don’t forget – “do your makeup before you actually leave the house.”

  5. Weiran says:

    #8 Leave you front foglights off when there isn’t any fog!

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  8. Sarah says:

    I completely agree with adding 7 and 8, LOL. I’m female, and hate the idiots who put make-up on while driving.
    Also, #9: Watch the road, not the dude changing his tire on the side of the road. He seems to have it completely under control. Doesn’t need you to slow down and stare like some kid in front of a candy store.

  9. Warren says:

    Dougal are you reading my private journal? You are right on man! I could not agreed more than 1,000,000%! Also one more, “If you do to a bank or ATM for quick cash that is on a corner of a busy side street, go park your car. DO NOT park it on the curb blocking the way for 2 way traffic!”

  10. tayler says:

    yup! i have one to add. keep your eyes ahead, way ahead. not one car-length in front of you. it’s dumb to speed up when there’s a red light in front. instead take your foot off the gas pedal and let the car cruise.

  11. tiffany says:

    Can I put this on a billboard in Atlanta?

    Mild quibble with #6 (or, rather, a quibble with how most people interpret it): The speed limit is still 55 in a lot of places, so while slower traffic should keep right, neither of us should be doing more than 55. So rather than drive 85 and expect me to immediately speed up to 85 or get out of your way, how about slowing down m’kay?

    My personal pet peeves are people who pass on the right, people who drive in your blindspot, and people who tailgate you when you’re in the far left lane in heavy traffic and can’t safely move out of it. People who go into the right lane with the goal of passing but instead drive alongside you in your blindspot are the effin worst.

  12. Mike says:

    I pretty much agree with your list, and the addition of the blind-spot rule.

    However, playing passive-agressive driver to Mr. Tailgater only makes you part of the problem. Slowing down is what they tell you to do in defensive driving, but only if you can’t just get out of the jerk’s way.

    Oh, and the speeding thing. Of course that’s relative, right?

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  14. Hey man, you chose to move to Hotlanta. 😉 [Although you could’ve posted this when you lived here, too. Memorial Parkway still sucks dead bunnies through a bent straw!]

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  18. saltsister says:

    About #5–I put my signals on and other drivers do NOT make room for me. They speed up so I can’t get in front of them. *Fume!!!*

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  21. Dougal says:

    I seem to have struck a chord 🙂

    Some additional notes:

    Originally, I was going to put in a “speed up” rule, to account for the morons and blue-hairs who poke along far below the surrounding traffic, but I decided to omit it for simplicity. In fact, there are tons of rules I could have added, but I wanted to keep the list short (in fact, I was only going to have five rules, when I started).

    A lot of people seem to take umbrage at my “slow down” rule. Let me expand upon that one a little. I’m not talking about staying at the speed limit (which hardly anybody does). I’m talking about the idiots who are driving way faster than the ambient traffic level.

    Also, when I mentioned tailgaters, I mean the ones that get too close. So close that you feel like they’re about to drive up your tailpipe. Those jerks. All-in-all, if I’m cruising down a road with little traffic, and I can tell if someone wants to pass me, I let them. But you’ve probably been in those situations where even when the guy behind you should know that there’s no way for him to pass right now (oncoming traffic, hills/curves, etc.), he insists on invading your car’s personal space. That’s the kind of driver that I will occassionally make a conscious effort to tork off.

    Cellphones, makeup, fog lights: all good additions. I do usually call my wife when I start my drive home, but I try to make an effort to sacrifice my attention to the phone in favor of the surrounding traffic. We often use our push-to-talk service, because the half-duplex communication isn’t as distracting while driving.

    Another rule I had in mind was hard to explain in a short paragraph. It has to do with approaching “this lane ends” situations, and all of those people who will zoom down the about-to-end lane, then force their way over into the main lane in order to “jump in line”. That always pisses me off. Just get in line and wait your turn, dammit! Is it really going to kill you to be eight cars back in line? Is it really going to make that much difference in how long it takes to get where you’re going? No, it’s not. So don’t count on me letting you merge in that situation. If I see you doing it, I’ll do what I can to make sure you don’t get in front of me. You know why? Because I don’t like assheads.

    Geoff: it’s the same everywhere, man. I could have written this same list back when I lived in rural Alabama and most of my daily drive was through farmland. 🙂

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  23. BlueAlpha says:

    That personal space for my car it gets agro and slams on the brakes and I yell fox rabbit no I think it was a tiger as they ram my boot into a crumpled small compact car and they pay for every cent.
    But Seriously do as the damn signs tell you people, and us aussies drive on the Right side of the road 🙂

  24. Dan says:

    I’d have to agree with most of the rules above, even the ones in the comments. My basic rule on tailgaters is “if I can’t see your headlights in my rearview (the center one) then you’re way too close to me…”

    The first rule I’d add is if you’re not paying attention to the driving, get off the road… I don’t care if you’re arguing with your kids, or trying to read a map, or kissing your mistress… either drive or get off the road.

    And the second would be: Don’t block the box. If the light ahead is red, and you’re near a cross street, don’t block the cross street, it’s just rude and stupid to do so.

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  26. Daniel says:

    Is it foggy, morning, twilight, or raining? Turn Your Lights On! It’s not so that you can see better. It’s so that others can see Precious You. (or perhaps you like people running into you because they didn’t see your silver car blending in)

  27. Matt says:

    I can vouch for #4. I was late for work and a giant truck turned w/o signaling. It was really great totalling my car and watching the guy zoom past w/o stopping to even see if I was OK.

    That’s a mistake I’ll never make again. It’s a shame that it took an accident to make me a better driver, but I’m lucky I’m not hurt and more importantly that I didn’t hurt anyone else.

    Even though it was definitely a humorous list, you hit some good points that I think everyone should keep in the back of their noggins. There comes a time for some of us when we turn into that ‘bad’ driver that we hate so very much.

  28. theresa says:

    I like to work on a reward / punishment system. If I’m being tailgated, I speed up. If I still get tailgated, then I slow down, below the speed limit. It doesn’t really teach anybody anything but it does make me feel better. I usually smile at the person as they pass me and flick me off.

  29. .derek says:

    who the heck uses rule number 3? using your own turn signals to warn drivers behind you that the person in front is turning?! who does that? it’s drivers like that which make me lose my mind causing me to imagine i am driving a bumper car in which extra points are awarded to the driver who hits the most surrounding drivers.

  30. Katie says:

    Amen! And another rule – stay in your lane. People who make their own lane, or can’t seem to stay in the ones provided, weaving between annoy me to no end. Great list.

  31. Peter says:

    In Taiwan…
    The red light is for reference only…
    The double yellow line in the middle is just asking you to overtake…
    If the speed limits 110kmph then everyone drive at 80kmph, and faster traffic pass on the inside (or wherever)…
    That safety (emergency) lane is purely for skipping the queue…
    That ambulance doesn’t really need to get someone to the hospital, does it?…
    Hooting is to warn other drivers that you are about to do something stupid like run a red light, so watch out…
    Never move aside for faster traffic, chances are they will hit your rear as they skip by on the inside…
    Freeway on/off ramps that are too short and that have TRAFFIC LIGHTS (talk about obstructing flow of traffic)…

    Take a double helping of chill pills and enjoy the ride.

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  33. Street Racer says:

    #10): Just because the road is a bit damp doesn’t mean you need to drive 23 mph.

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  35. frank says:


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  37. .Ralph says:

    Pure genius. couldn’t agree with you more!
    This is officially one of my top 10 blog posts ever lol

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