Car Driving Etiquette

by admin on May 20, 2010

This video was a student project. Nice to know the sprouts are “getting it”.

This next video is the kind I’d like to see more of on Etiquette Hell. I’ve been starting to bring along the digital camera when the Husband drives just to document the crazies we encounter. Like the time we were driving down a four lane highway, I turned to my right to see the female driver next to us talking with a cell phone in her right hand and drinking coffee from a mug in her left hand. I can only presume she was steering on this straight road with her knees. She kept this up for five miles before we turned off. I called the State Police to report her actions.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

ferretrick May 20, 2010 at 8:25 am

On the 2nd video, only one of the cars she says “cut her off” actually did. The other cars had clear distance. Merging into the lane you are in is not “cutting you off.” Maybe the aspiring videographer should pay more attention to her own driving.


Merrilee May 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

The cars the one video from Christine showed are pretty tame compared to the drivers in Reno.
I think I need to take a video!


Serenity May 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

Funny, but to me it looks like although the white car did cut you off for sure, the next 2 were changing lanes, and from where I am sitting, it seemed like they had plenty of time and room..the second one that “cut you off”, had almost 2 full car lengths when they pulled ahead of you. That’s not cutting someone off….unless you just don’t like ppl to get ahead of you, ever?!!


Um really? May 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

Okay, maybe the video doesn’t show things accurately, but some of these seemed pretty tame. A couple examples of you getting “cut off” just looked like lane changes to me. Are people not allowed to change lanes in front of you now?


Claddagh Lass May 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm

The “driving without a brain” reminds me a lot of how people drive where I’m at. I’ve been cut off numerous times and have had a lot of people either breeze right through the stop sign or tap their brakes and go.

I walk around town a lot and won’t cross the street unless I know the driver sees me. I almost got hit once because someone wasn’t looking.

Sometimes it’s scary to think about how people drive this way.


Isolde May 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Hmmm…in the case of the second and third drivers in “Driving w/o a Brain”, they did have their turn signals on, trying to merge into the exiting lane. I think the recorder was quick to cry foul and declare that drivers were cutting them off.


Ellen CA May 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I hope she wasn’t driving and filming at the same time! I disagree with the “just got cut off” examples. Just because someone changes lanes in front of you doesn’t mean they’re cutting you off. A problem we have here in LA is people speeding up to keep you out of the lane when you put your turn signal on.


Chocobo May 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I have to say with some of the “cut offs” in the second driving video didn’t really seem dangerous or a faux pas. The traffic was generally heavy, and many of them had their blinkers on before they pulled in front of the video taker. It’s impossible to expect other drivers in that kind of traffic to be 5 car lengths ahead before they pull into another lane. Some of the traffic violators were genuinely making dangerous decisions, such as the white SUV that pulls over 3 lanes at a time and barely makes it into the exit ramp. But on the whole, the video felt like it was making a mountain out of a a few molehills.


LadyJ May 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Yesterday on my way back to work from lunch I nearly flipped my lid when a woman stopped at the limit line at a GREEN light with her left turn blinker on because she’d missed the entrance for the left turn lane. This is a major four lane (on each side) highway with a 50mph speed limit! Traffic was moving so fast to the right of me that it took over a minute of cautiously looking in my mirrors until I (and a couple of the cars that had stacked up in the lane behind me) could safely move over one lane to drive around this selfish person. Mind you, myself and at least 3 or 4 of the cars stuck behind her leaned on our horn the entire time and this lady just refused to move. What a jerk! How hard is it to go an additional 300 yards and make a U-Turn? Instead this self-important twit sits at the green light endangering 10-15 other people (including herself!) simply because she missed her turn and didn’t want to take the time to turn at the next light.

Furthermore, this is a block from the city police station. I’ve never prayed so hard to see a cop in my life.


Mom May 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Driving home from Darling First-Born’s graduation there is, on a major highway going about 65 miles/hr (legally), a young man in the car next to us. He is alone. He has both hands on his phone and is furiously texting (looking down all the while). I have to say I have NEVER seen that before – I know people do it but couldn’t believe it. No hands on the wheel, not looking at the road. Hope he didn’t hurt anyone.


SciFiLeslie May 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I would like to respectfully disagree the videographer’s assessment of being cut off twice early in the video. In each case, it appeared the driver of the other vehicle signaled intent to lane change. Neither instance seemed to cause the husband to have to slam on his breaks. I live in Connecticut, and I can honestly say that very few people use their signals here. In all the states in which I have lived, this one is truly the worst for signaling I have encountered. I hate that.


Simone May 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Traffic for no reason (as in the second video) is a well known phenomenon. It’s called a shockwave and it’s usually caused by a minor slow down by one car followed by a knock on effect as several other cars over brake. To avoid it slow down when traffic is heavy and don’t forget to leave a good gap between you and the car in front.

The student video was great but the second one seems to have been made by a very inexperienced driver with a chip on their shoulder.


PrincessSimmi May 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I’m surprised that the second clip didn’t have any of my locals. We have the usual failure to use blinkers and people on their mobile phones but we also have crazy cyclists, people who read books/mail on the way to work, cranky old people who don’t let others merge, people flipping other people the bird and random gridlock on the same section of road every damned day. People who just walk randomly across the road pushing carts/dragging kids while cars fly by at 50-60 km/hr.

I had one person walk up and open my passenger door, throw a wallet and phone in and walk away. I just sat there stunned until his mate walked up, knocked and politely asked for his belongings back. Apparently the first mate was stoned/drunk/both. Insanity reigns!!


Kendra May 21, 2010 at 12:44 am

Marrilee, you’re from my neck of the woods. Hiya.
I agree, that second video doesn’t hold a candle to the drivers in Reno or Washoe Valley. The road through Washoe Valley is a 4 lane highway (2 lanes each way). I’ll be going from Carson City to Reno at a little over the 50¬†mph speed limit in the slow lane. People will act like I’m grannying down the only lane in existence. They’ll ride my bumper, honk, flip me off (with my son in the car), speed around me quickly then cut in right on my front bumper and slam on their breaks (I’ve learned to watch for this), all kinds of nasty stuff. The funny thing is, usually the other lane is completely clear when they are doing this, there is nothing stopping them from just passing me normally. In Reno, most of the “rudeness” seems to be more about inattention than malice. Lots of cell phone talking, turn signals rarely used and changing lanes without signal or looking. You learn to stay on your toes. I’m planning on getting a dashboard camera so I can get these antics on tape. It will be fun when I do.


Shoegal May 21, 2010 at 1:04 am

Okay, so while I was watching the second one I was like, “Wow, we Aussies must be pretty crazy drivers if that’s what the Americans call ‘cutting off’.” Glad to see that we’re not.


LeeLee88 May 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

That honestly isn’t half as bad as the stuff I see on an average day; I mean, some of what she showed was pretty dumb driving, but honestly, not nearly as bad as what most people experience. I didn’t really understand what she was getting at with the “traffic/no traffic” thing, was I missing something that should have been obvious?


Merrilee May 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

Kendra, I’m in Sparks and tailgating is a huge issue, as is speeding. I’ll be driving through a construction zone and doing the posted limit and have 10 people on my bumper while they are drinking coffee and talking on their cellphones. There are also the 4-lane changers that just coast over all four lanes with no warning or blinkers.

I’m originally from NJ and believe me when I say, I know bad drivers. But the traffic in Reno doesn’t really justify the speeding and craziness. There is no traffic in Reno. But they drive like they are all in a tremendous rush and I just don’t get it.


Jules June 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Yeah, agree with the above posters. Lane changing is not “getting cut off.” Especially if you are going slower than traffic. Also looked like the driver was driving too slow in the left lane.


Maryann June 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

What I see in traffic is rarely as bad as what I see as a pedestrian. I frequently like to walk down to the local branch library, about a mile away. I’ve learned to be incredibly cautious. Many drivers do not look for pedestrians, and still others appear to just ignore us, or seem to expect us to be able to move as quickly as a car can.

I will never forget the time I was walking my dog back from the library and was moved, for the first and only time, to confront someone (she pulled into a parking lot, so I was lucky enough to have the opportunity.)

There’s a busy strip mall on the way home, and I have to be especially careful with people pulling in and out of the driveways. As I crossed one driveway that afternoon, I did my usual routine. I looked for anyone pulling out, anyone turning in from the right, and anyone turning in from the left, then I began to cross the driveway (it’s very wide) as I continued glancing in each potential direction a car could come from.

I was extremely lucky that my eyes hit the area where cars come to turn in from the left when they did. I was able to save my dog’s life.

A middle-aged woman in a small red sedan raced up into the left turn lane (facing me directly, and it was early afternoon, so she should have seen us extremely clearly) and, paying no attention whatsoever to me or my dog, barely slowed down as she turned and simply plowed into the driveway, almost squealing her tires. I yanked my dog’s leash so hard (and he was not a small dog) I was afraid I had hurt him, but I yanked him back far enough that the car missed him by about a foot.

I have never been so angry in my life, and I must have looked it because when I stomped up to that such-and-such’s car she absolutely refused to roll down her window (probably not helped any by the fact that had a medium-large sized dog with me and was myself in my early twenties and wearing a rather tough-looking bandanna to keep the sun off.)

She innocently smile-grimaced at me, and I shouted through the glass “EXCUSE ME, MA’AM. I JUST THOUGHT YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW THAT PEDESTRIANS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.” And gave her my most deadly if-you-ever-screw-with-me-again-you-will-regret-it-look, then turned and stomped away.

In a magnificent turn of karma, a few weeks later I was walking my dog back from the grocery store in the opposite direction. I was crossing a large intersection at the crosswalk, in accordance with the pedestrian light. A few feet ahead of me was a tiny elderly couple shuffling as well as they could across the street.

Who showed up in the right turn lane directly ahead? The evil witch in the red sedan, of course. She was again speeding, and she again prepared to turn without hardly slowing down. Had she turned, she would have whipped inches, at best, in front of these poor old people, who could not have hoped to hop out of her way.

But suddenly she slammed on her brakes and came to a hard stop, mid-turn. I stared at her with furious malice, and she stared back at me. I could see something click into place. Big angry girl wearing a bandanna and her furry black dog. The elderly couple had stopped in their tracks. She waved them on with an impatient gesture and waited until she actually had room to turn.

She’s very lucky she made that decision, too, because I had her license plate memorized.

Ladies and gentleman, I’d like to respectfully request one thing of you above all others when you drive: REMEMBER THAT PEDESTRIANS ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! And make no mistake, that’s in your driver’s handbook and it will hold up in court.

Thank you.


WisconsinGal June 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Drivers like that silly person who made the second video drive me crazy, thinking that they “own” ridiculous amounts of space all around their cars. It is called a lane change, kids. Expecting right to four car lengths in front of you shows a startling lack of basic etiquette. I am not offended if someone puts on a signal and comes over in front of me. As long as they are not a hair’s-width ahead, they have every right. And in super-slow, congested traffic, creeping over just in front of me is fine. If your nose is further along than mine, you have the right to do that in stop-and-go traffic.


MaryFran June 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Maryann, I feel your pain as a pedestrian. I walk to work every day. At the only intersection I have to stop at, there’s a stoplight and a crosswalk, but some days it still feels like I’m taking my life in my own hands to walk across the street. One thing I have to particularly say to drivers is ALWAYS stop on a red light, and don’t assume that just because you have a green light to turn right or left, you don’t have to look before you turn.


Chelsey July 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm

It makes me so happy when people report things like the woman you mentioned on her phone and drinking coffee. Thank you for doing that!


Jay September 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

Someone stuck in traffic, stopped, and on the cell phone? Say it isn’t so! And most of those “cut me off” cars are signalling a perfectly good lane change.. Does this person just hate when anyone gets in front of her? And one car had its signal on by accident for a minute? Okay, it happens.. how is this worthy of scorn and videotaping?

And “traffic for no reason”? Really? It happens. Cars get a bit slower in spots, then speed up again three minutes later.

Not worthy of being on this site, I have to say.


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