Yes, there is the Highway Code. There’s also a set of penalties and fines that keep you on the straight and narrow when behind the wheel. But what about that unspoken code of road behaviour that’s simply not on? You know, the kind of rules that are simply about being a decent human being. For instance, no one with a shred of moral dignity would dream about diving into a car parking spot whilst someone else is backing into it. Would they?
What are the most common unwritten rules of the road? Those that are so obvious and decent, that no one out there should question them?
When you’re parking, it’s vital to remember that you’re not the only driver in the world. Other cars need room to manoeuvre, and people will want to get in and out without dinging your side doors or scraping the paint. All garages, car parks and bays give you more than enough space to park with room on either side.
Make sure that you concentrate and place your car correctly within the lines. This goes when you’re out on the street too. No one is going to thank you for parking bumper to bumper.
Stop to Help Breakdowns
No one expects a breakdown when they’re out on the road, and you wouldn’t be surprised at how many people are simply unprepared and caught out when it happens. Be a friend and stop to help someone who has broken down. You never know, they might have no mobile reception and be struggling to find a breakdown centre. Do a good deed for the day.
Take your Sweet Time at the Fuel Pump
Petrol stations are busy places these days. Especially those on major routes or in city centres. And everyone wants to go where fuel is the cheapest. If you want to check your oil, shop around in the kiosk or wipe your windows down, then have the courtesy to move your car into one of the numerous car parking spots that are dotted around the perimeter of the location. Save yourself the hassle and someone else the time.
Say Thanks and Give a Wave
Really. How difficult is it? Sometimes all you have to do is lift your hand and let someone know that you appreciate them letting you through in traffic or to turn right at a busy junction. Alternatively you can flash your lights if visibility isn’t tip top.
Remember what it feels like when the boot is on the other foot and you do a kind deed for someone and they ignore it? No one likes entitlement and it increases the amount of stress on our already agitated roads.
Merging into Traffic
It’s really easy to use a filter system. Think of a zipper coming together and you’re suddenly picturing the correct way for lanes to merge. There’s no need to race and queue jump. This is dangerous and can get you into trouble if other motorists are trying the same move. Be on the safe side and when 2 lanes become one, accelerate at the appropriate speed and if anyone really wants to be aggressive, then why embroil yourself in their drama? Stay calm and let them pass.
This also goes for dual carriageways and motorways. When traffic is trying to join at higher speeds, it can be incredibly stressful. Give them the space to move into the road.
Let Cars Turn In
Like merging, why not defer to other drivers out on the road? When you adopt a calm and methodical attitude to road use, letting others turn out or move in front of you in a car park, is not only polite, but it also helps you stay cool behind the wheel. Additionally, you can give other road users space at junctions. Don’t be that person who needs to be bumper to bumper. Remember tyres and tarmac. And even though we’ve mentioned that you should give a thank you wave, there will always be those that don’t. The key is not to let it be a statement about you. They’re their own special case.
Don’t Drive in Blind Spots
Do you want to be in an accident? Because driving in a blind spot is how you have an accident. Which can be extremely dangerous at high speed. You know roughly where a driver will have trouble seeing you, so either lag back or push on through and make safety your number one concern whilst behind the wheel.
Blaring Music at Junctions or On the Road
There’s a rule of thumb when cars are playing music. The louder the volume, the poorer the taste of the driver. Don’t be that guy or woman who pulls up and makes everyone listen to their jam. People are trying to go about their day, and have enough to handle without being audibly assaulted by your tunes. It’s distracting, it makes people irate and ultimately it’s the inconsiderate attitude of someone who should know better. Blare out the sound and you’ll quickly become that person who no one wants to let out or wave on.
Roads are pretty toxic places. There’s plenty of smoke and dirt kicking around, and if you’re a regular commuter you’ll hate fumes and pollution. Hopefully in the immediate future moving towards hybrids and electric cars will be the trend. Obviously there’s nothing you can do about it in the short term – unless your car is in poor condition and billowing smoke all over the place. If you’re guilty of bad engine troubles, then it’s your duty to get it sorted rather than inflicting your lack of care on other motorists.
Picking Your Nose
Remember that cars have glass windows. And when you’re sitting at a junction everyone can see you having a good old root around up your nose. Save it for a quiet time in the bathroom, as this is every bit as disgusting as doing it in a social situation. Have some decorum and don’t pick your nose anywhere in public.
The biggest unwritten rule of driving is to be non-judgemental. Let others get on with what they’re doing and stick to your own standards out on the road. By having your own morals and scruples about what’s right – you’ll always feel good about your driving and avoid those silly competitive situations that can lead to road-rage and bad feelings for the rest of the day.