Being out on the road on a daily basis and covering so many miles, we often see a lot of things on the road with much more frequency than those who commute to their in-office jobs every day. One thing is certain…there is definitely never a lack of impatient people on the road, regardless of whether you're driving out in the country somewhere or in the downtown of a metropolitan city. It is all too often that other professional and non-professional drivers out there forget that these beasts of trucks do not just stop on a dime and are riddled with blind spots galore! Here are a few of the common situations to look out for this holiday driving season that others on the road may use to try to save a few seconds in their commute, but that could end up costing your precious time and money as a result of their negligence:
The Slow Merger
Who would have thought that the lane that ends when getting on a freeway was for getting up to the same speed as the highway traffic? Well, it never surprises me how many people there are out there that missed this part of the driver handbook! Be sure to look ahead at on ramps to see if there is a load of traffic getting ready to get on. If you see a line coming down the ramp, it may be best to jump over a lane to create less resistance and avoid a possible collision from the person who decides at the last minute to gas it and jump in front of your rig! He/She may not lay down the hammer fast enough when not wanting to merge behind you, causing you to rear-end them once they cut in front of you instead.
The "Hate to be Behind Trucks" Driver
A common phobia of some four-wheelers out there (and some big trucks as well) is the fear to be stuck behind a truck. Somehow there must be some unspoken knowledge that I never learned that proves a faster arrival time if you aren’t stuck looking at the tail end of a big rig while stuck in slow moving traffic on the freeway. There are plenty of people I see out there daily that will gas it past me and cut me off just to get in front, and sometimes even go slower. These types are often willing to take unsafe risks to make sure they can speed around and are on the receiving end of a truck’s front bumper! If caught with an impatient tailgating driver, slowing down will almost always make them go around, ridding yourself of the impatient person that doesn’t care to be behind you. Just be sure to watch that they don’t clip your front bumper in the process!
The Zip-Around Driver
Lately I've been seeing more and more of this kind of driver in my daily work schedule. In almost all of the Los Angeles traffic I see where the opportunity arises for an ending merge lane to be invaded that is empty, it almost certainly will be. The impatience of these drivers is almost unrivaled, as it literally gets them only a few car lengths ahead in the grand scheme of things, but puts them right back into the stop-and-go scenario they started in just seconds earlier. There really is nothing you can do to prevent this except to keep an eye out in your mirrors and hope it is not you that they try to duck in front of to get back in. Be sure to leave space, as their movements are often unpredictable.
There must be a certain level of adrenaline rush that comes with playing “Pole Position” in heavy freeway traffic, since I know it can’t actually shave off that much from the morning commute. It is actually quite funny to watch from a distance, since the person doing this will generally move out of a slow moving lane just in time to hit the brakes in that new lane when it slows down as well. It must be a thought that there might just be a “lucky” lane that is moving faster than all the rest that keeps the hope alive for this kind of driver. Watch your mirrors for this type of driver and try to anticipate their moves to make sure you are not a target that gets clipped along the way!
The Construction Zone Speeder
One of the most dangerous of them all, the construction zone speeder has little regard for not only the cars it is trying to speed past, but also a complete disregard for the vulnerability of the construction crews at work. As most people see the signs and merge early when a lane is closed for some reason, this type of driver things that is just everyone's way of clearing the "landing strip" for them, as they speed past everyone to gain that precious few seconds. Knocked over cones can often be seen as a casualty from this type of practice, but on occasion the loss of life from a hard-working construction crew man or woman has been known to happen form this as well. Be the better driver and merge early if safe to do so. Keep an eye out in those blind spots, as it makes a great target area for those that can't make it all the way past you and get stopped by the cones.
Knowing what to look for and identifying the problem drivers on the road allows you to better prepare yourself for their erratic moves on the highway. Anticipating which other vehicles on the road may pose a threat to your safety puts you a step ahead the game. Although, these situations are not entirely preventable, an alert driver can spot the warning signs to prepare and avoid these scenarios. We can do everything as drivers to be the safest drivers out there, but sometimes it is the other person that is not as conscious of your safety that can be the problem.