Ted's Soapbox How's Your Driving?

Most people think of themselves as good drivers — especially males — just because they are relatively adept at manipulating a vehicle through traffic.  Yet competence behind the wheel entails all aspects of driving, not just manual dexterity.  I submit that the average driver is just that — average — and is not particularly skillful at all.  Few drivers have much awareness of defensive (i.e., competent) driving principles, and fewer still are willing to apply them.

Answering the following questions may help you to reassess your own status.

  1. Do you tailgate?
  2. Do you cut drivers off when changing lanes?
  3. Do you pass just for the sake of passing?
  4. Do you insist upon enforcing your right-of-way?
  5. Do you engage in any sort of macho-type games with another driver?
  6. Do you ever squeal your tires intentionally (except at the drag strip)?
  7. Do you treat bicyclists and motorcyclists as inferiors or nuisances?
  8. Do you habitually fail to allow sufficient time for a trip?
  9. Do you tend to wait until the last moment to access the lane required for an exit or a turn?
  10. Do you ever drive with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit?
  11. Do you fail to watch ahead for road hazards and other potential problems?
  12. Do you tend to speed up when the light turns amber (or, heaven forbid, red)?
  13. Do you feel that getting somewhere quickly is more important than getting there courteously?
  14. Do you not know how to change a tire, yet are physically able to do so?
  15. Do you ever compromise your attention to the road in order to use a cell phone or engage in some other distraction?
  16. Do you drive without proper insurance coverage?
  17. Do you flash your high beams to instruct another motorist to get out of your way?
  18. Do you drive too fast for road or traffic conditions?
  19. Do you operate a vehicle that has a known safety defect?
  20. Do you hog two parking spaces?
  21. Do you ever drive so as to jeopardize in any manner the safety and comfort of a passenger, pedestrian, or other motorist?

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Barring the rare legitimate exception: Unless the answer to EVERY question is NO, then you cannot make a valid claim to be a competent driver.  Happy trails!

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