I know that anyone who reads my blog is too smart for this information. Perhaps, though, you could just send a link to the people in your life to whom you know this advice pertains.
And, for those of you who arrived at this post through a link in a friendly email or perhaps after following a url from a crumbled piece of paper shoved hurriedly into your hand by a well intentioned if not all too subtle relative... they didn't mean you needed to read this... yeah. They meant they were sure you knew someone who knew someone who should read this for their own good... right. Uh huh... maybe you could just take a quick skim-zy over it anyway?
So, let's say your driving along a highway. For simplicity, there are, on this highway, two lanes of traffic headed in the same direction, this is the direction you're headed, too! There are many, many signs along the road. They say something along the lines of "55 (or 65/75/80) STATE SPEED LIMIT". For starters, let me interpret "STATE SPEED LIMIT" for you. This means "I will make that little arm on my speedometer hit said number". I know it seems like what that sign is saying is "limit means no more than, so just make sure you do 55 or less", but that's not what it means. The "or less" must go. Holy hell, just hit the speed limit. If you can do fifty, you can do fifty-five. Why? Because I goddamned said so.
(For those of you who are now yelling at the screen, "Fifty-five? What do you mean fifty-five?! They should be doing over that!", okay, I get what you're saying. Shut up now. You're scaring your family with your incoherent screaming. A? I'm not advising anything illegal (regardless of what I do in my own life) because the hell if I'm gonna get sued because some moron can't identify a state trooper when they see one. And B. Isn't it enough that I'm just getting these assholes up to the limit? Plus, I'm about to give the more important advice, so settle down.)
Okay, class. Eyes over here. Back to the highway. You are now traveling at the speed limit. Of the two lanes, which one are you traveling in? The left lane? Wrong, Johnny, sit the hell back down. The right lane is for normal driving. The left lane is for PASSING. What's passing? That's what the rest of us are currently doing to you. Or would be, if some other idiot- and I'm not naming names, *cough*JOHNNY*cough*- wasn't in the left lane keeping pace with the right lane. Let me explain further. Have you ever wondered why there are so many other assholes out on the road? Why they all seem to come flying up from behind you, ride your ass for a minute, then veer out from behind you, into the right lane, get ahead of you, only to veer back into the left lane? That's because they aren't the assholes in this scenario. They're hoping you will suddenly come to your senses, then, within a minute, they've learned their lesson, and have to get around you by passing on the right. Get the eff out of the left lane! Are you passing someone? No. This is a highway, not a free-for-all. Move. Over. Now. The interesting thing about this part is this is not just common sense. It is not just basic decency. It is not just a regular courtesy, some made-up rule that the rest of us abide by because some how we are in sync with each other. In a ton of states, it's an actual law. And it's not even one of those pesky ones they never tell you about. The have signs. They post those signs- at regular intervals, even. Sometimes that sign seems to be more apparent than the speed limit signs I kindly pointed out earlier.
So let's say, now, class, that you are driving the speed limit, you are in the right lane. You are approaching a car in the lane ahead of you. They have not listened thus far in the lecture, and are traveling at a less than reasonable speed. What to do? Change lanes? Okay, that's right- and you'll move back to the right lane after you've passed the other car? Good, good. Now how are you going to change lanes? (You know what, Johnny? Don't even bother giving me whatever stupid answer was going to come tumbling from your pie hole. Just go stand in the corner.) The correct answer is, "I will not only signal my lane change and check my blind spot, I will make sure I'm not about to cut off a car that is already passing in the left lane, especially if that person has chosen to do so at a higher rate of speed than I." You can signal using these lights on the outside of your car that are wired to that little stick thingy that sits behind the steering wheel. They let the other drivers around you have the slightest bit of warning before you pull some jack-assed maneuver. Your blind spot is this little space just back and to the side of your car that you cannot see using your rear view mirror- you do use your mirrors, right?- so you must actually turn your head in order to see this area. I know, I know, actually using muscles within your body to do anything besides flip someone off seems like a lot more effort than it's worth. Give it a shot, though. It might save you something in insurance premiums.
Okay, that's it for today. Next time, we will discuss how allowing someone to merge in ahead of you in traffic does not make you less of a man, why it's impolite to keep your brights on when you're behind someone, what to do on the highway when there are three lanes of traffic (god help us all), and why you do not always have to lead the pack. 'Til then, turn in your licenses and stay the hell off the road. Thanks in advance.