An Open Letter to Virginia Drivers

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear Virginia Drivers,

Because it seems that a lot of you did not take Driver's Ed in High School, I would like to fill you in on the common driving etiquette which you seem to be lacking:

  1. The far left lane is for passing.  Also for those of us who are attempting to break the sound barrier.  Unless you are driving at least five to ten miles per hour OVER the speed limit, please avoid this lane.  If I were armed, there would be far fewer of you in the left lane.
  2. Speaking of the left lane- if your exit is approaching, please do not wait until you are AT the exit to move into the right lane.  Slamming on your brakes, turning on your turn signal, and waiting for other drivers to stop and let you over is not proper road etiquette.
  3. Turn signals: These allow other drivers to know that you are either turning (hence the name "turn signals") or that you would like to change lanes. 
  4. Turn signals: After you have changed lanes or turned, please ensure that your turn signal is not still flashing.  They sometimes do not reset themselves, and this can lead to confusion for the people behind you. 
  5. Merging: The purpose of the "on ramp" is to allow you to gain enough speed so as to effortlessly merge into traffic and not disrupt the flow of said traffic.  Driving 20 mph onto a busy highway, then stopping at the end of the merge area and waiting for a break in traffic so that you can pull out and cut off another driver is not the proper way to merge.
  6. While we are on merging.... in other states, courteous drivers move out of the right lane when they see other drivers merging.  This allows those drivers to move onto the highway.  After you have passed the exit, you may move back into the right lane.
  7. Also, on the subject of merging: there is a large triangular sign on your on-ramp.  This sign has the word "Yield" on it.  "Yield" means that you do not have the right-of-way (right-of-way; a noun meaning "a common law or statutory right granted to a vehicle, as an airplane or boat, to proceed ahead of another").  While it would be courteous for drivers in the right lane to move to the left to allow you to merge, they sometimes cannot.  This does not mean that you should accelerate to 80 mph in an effort to race ahead of them- particularly if there is no one directly behind them. 
  8. High beams- there is absolutely NO need to use your high beams in Northern VA, MD, or DC.  These are for rural areas, where there is very little traffic and no ambient light.  Please do not use your high beams- especially if you are not skilled at switching between your high- and low beams.
  9. When driving around curves- you should not slam on your brakes in the middle of a curve (clover-leaf, turns, etc).  Instead, you should slow down BEFORE you get to it, then gently accelerate around the curve.  If this curve is properly banked, accelerating around it should help you to navigate it with very little help from your steering wheel. 
  10. Inclement weather:  I realize that if you grew up in an area with very little snow and/or rain, driving in such weather can be scary.  If you are uncomfortable, for the love of God, STAY HOME.  Please do not venture out in such weather.  Those of us who grew up (and took our driver's test after a large snow storm in February, natch) in areas with high amounts of snowfall know what we are doing in such weather.  Your being on the road, either riding your brakes or assuming that your SUV with 4-wheel drive is invincible, is dangerous to those of us who have the experience necessary to drive in such weather.  If your inability to properly handle your vehicle in inclement weather causes me to lose control, I will cut you.
  11. The 2-car-length rule:  In non-congested areas, the rule of thumb is that you maintain a distance of two car-lengths behind the person in front of you.  This is not the case in this area.  Doing so is an invitation for all of the other drivers in other lanes to pull in front of you.  Also, if traffic is moving at a fairly slow pace, you do not need as much of a stopping distance.  If you aren't comfortable with driving closer to other vehicles, get the hell out of the way.  
  12. Multi-tasking: Reading a newspaper while in traffic is NEVER okay.  Especially if said traffic is actually moving.  Again, if your stupidity affects me, I will cut you.
  13. Forcing everyone around to listen to your shitty music:  Blasting your crap music with all of your windows down and the bass turned up in your crappy little car is grounds for being rear-ended.  I sometimes listen to shitty music as well... the difference is that I don't force everyone around me to either listen to it or to roll up their windows.  Absolutely NO ONE else on the road wants to listen to your music. They have their own.
  14. A good general rule: The world does not revolve around you and your car.  Please stay out of my way.

Hugs and kisses,



Anonymous,  10/21/2010 07:10:00 PM  

Hope you are ok. I know my last comment to you might have been abrupt (you subsequently removed that particular blog post). You are not broken. You are not unusual. I was merely suggesting that a "professional listener" can be extremely helpful. Hope you are doing better these days.

Your pal, Anon1

Ashburnite 10/21/2010 07:35:00 PM  

Hi Anon 1.... sorry about taking down the post.... it had nothing to do with your comment. I do appreciate the insight. I took the post down because it was a bit too personal. I had been sort of seeing someone and he reads the blog. Needless to say, that particular situation did not work out- it's hard when someone knows all of those deeply personal things going into the relationship.

Fortunately, there's another person in the picture, and the outlook is good :-). That's all I'm going to say about that situation at the moment....

Anonymous,  12/20/2010 02:56:00 PM  

Your blog cracks me up. Good times, good times. I like to just sit down at my computer on a rainy day, with my snuggie and a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and just read the day away.


Anonymous,  8/24/2011 03:32:00 PM  

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

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