By on August 16, 2019

2017 Toyota Camry rear, Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

It’s normal to worry about — or at least give a passing though to — the possibility that the airliner you’re about to step onto may, in fact, never reach its destination. The same goes for thinking, hoping, or praying that a road trip you’re about to embark on goes well, with no cataclysmic incidents along the way. It only becomes a problem if these concerns dominate the mind, leading to paralyzing fears and a determined avoidance of certain activities that negatively impacts your life. At that point it’s time to see a psychologist.

We’ve talked in the past about our worst driving fears, the most obvious being the accidental running over of a human being. Understandable! But sometimes, despite our fearlessness behind the wheel, we bake into our daily lives strange little habits, performing these rituals unconsciously until a friend or family member calls us out on our neurosis.

It can be literally anything. For example, your author, even when driving around with a full tank, sometimes wishes the needle was at three-quarters or a half in order to save a measly buck after spotting a station with a lower pump price. A thought appears — if I could burn off some of that pesky fuel, all of those those sweet, sweet savings could be mine! (There wouldn’t be any.)

Perhaps that’s a bad example. The other day, a colleague mentioned how he witnessed an Uber  driver in an automatic transmission car bump the vehicle into neutral at each stoplight, setting the parking brake at the same time. The general consensus was that the driver was used to driving a stick shift in traffic, possibly in a foreign country. Still, who does that? At the very most, bump the shift lever into neutral and just keep your foot on the brake (I’m guilty of this sometimes).

Bizarre.

Oh, but our various manias run deep. Here’s one that’s a little more to the point. I don’t like drive-thrus, and I don’t use them. No, not because of the land-use stuff (read Jalopnik for a screed against that), but because sitting in a drive-thru lane, once that F-150 has cosied up to your rear bumper, leaves you vulnerable.

To a robbery or some sort of attack, you ask? Nope, though that could be a concern to some folks. No, it leaves you, assuming you’re in a normal car with limited ground clearance, vulnerable to Armageddon. When the big one comes, whatever it is (aliens?), you need to move — and fast. The soccer mom or hipster dad in the crossover in front of you will probably freeze in fear and confusion, and backing up isn’t in the cards if you’re sandwiched in a line of vehicles. Nor will you get very far after tearing off your oil pan in a failed attempt to mount that extra-tall curb bordering the lane.

Great. Now you don’t stand a chance of making a break for the hills to live a solitary life of regretful murder and despair, subsisting on a diet mainly of rainwater, dead squirrels, and grubs.

That’s why I don’t like using the drive-thru. I park my car like an upstanding individual and march proudly into the store, waiting patiently in an excruciatingly slow line caused by the fact that impatient drive-thru patrons get first dibs. The fact that I’m saving a microscopic sliver of the environment by doing so is merely a bonus.

So, B&B, what’s your weird car habit, if you want to call it that? What’s something you do, feel, or believe that goes against prevailing wisdom and common sense?

[Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

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116 Comments on “QOTD: Carrying Neurotic Baggage in That Trunk?...”


  • avatar
    RSF

    Anytime I’m in a sedan/coupe I have a fear of being rear-ended by a lifted truck or semi. One of the reasons I only drive full size trucks I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      warrant242

      That’s not too neurotic where I live. Borderline normal.

    • 0 avatar

      I have the same fear because I was actually hit hard by Ford 250 during stop and go traffic. I try to stay away from any pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        My Prius was totaled when it was rear ended by a Silverado.

        The Silverado bumper hit my lift gate, and totally missed the bumper on my car. If it had hit the bumper, nether vehicle would have been damaged.

        The Prius bumper is lower than it looks; there’s some empty space under the cosmetic bumper, and the real bumper is about 4 inches lower than you’d expect glancing at the facia.

        The Silverado bumper is higher than it looks, because of the plastic air dam underneath it.

        Again, if we’d have bumper heights which matched, the crash would have been a non-event, instead of something that totaled our reliable and efficient cockroach of a car.

        A standardized bumper height is something highway safety regulators should consider.

        I stay away from pickups, too. I’ve owned three pickups over my time as a licensed driver, but I have no use door one at the moment. So, I keep my distance, and silently judge the air-haulers.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Leaving plenty of space in front of me at a light and being extra-aware if I do use the drive-thru, precisely with the robbery scenario you mention. Not unheard of in my old neighborhood.

    fox59.com/2018/12/06/victim-shoots-attempted-robber-in-mcdonalds-drive-thru-on-indys-east-side/

  • avatar
    RangerM

    I start and let my vehicle run for about 1-2 minutes before moving; convinced it makes my vehicle last longer. My VW Passat manual said I should just put it in drive immediately (perhaps that’s why it turned out to be a POS)

    It annoys my passengers.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Wow, growing up my buddies dad was the opposite. He tried to have it in gear prior to starter gear completely withdrawing and was a notorious reverse to drive prior to stopping kind of fella.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      When my daughter got her license I told her that after she passes the test to forget everything they said and start the car firs, then adjust the seat and mirrors and anything else. That gives the engine a little time to get the oil moving and a little warmth to the oil.

      For her test she had to do everything first, start the car and go as soon as practical.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      thanks to my setup, my warm-up procedures are near perfect. I start the car, wait till needle reaches 1K rpm, roll down the hill to a stop. then I have 1.2 mile of 25mph driving while warming up. When I come to highway, my engine is nearly there. Then I drive another 1 mile 55-60. Then I start going 75. So, basically, I have room to drive gently for the first 2 miles. But definitely not rip from the start. Neighbor 4 houses down does this. In the cold winter, gets into car, starts and immediately drives like a maniac. Well, he is on his 6th car while I only have 2nd.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve been driving SUVs/CUVs almost exclusively for 20 years, now when I drive a standard sedan I am in fear of being crushed by semis I drive next to. I know it’s irrational and if I had to drive a standard car I would eventually get over it, but as it stands, there it is

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Not irrational at all. I often look at the vehicles around me when driving my sportscar and realize all those trucks could roll right over me. Even more concerning as it is a convertible. Still, I made my choice as they made theirs. I try to be a proactive as possible but I recognize I am more vulnerable.

      Somebody posted above that a standardized height would be beneficial and while it would, it would be difficult to implement and besides, would never gain traction in the present “regulation is a dirty word” political moonscape we are in. However, a blocker beam under the trucks like semi trailers have would be a workable solution. The Ford Excursion had one. I’m sure many rednecks would cut them out, just as removing catalysts was once a thing but still, a blocker could be a lifesaver.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    I generally drive at (or just slightly above) the speed limit and only use the left lane to pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      As you should

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I guess you could call what you do an idiosyncrasy because so few people know how to do just that. It’s also called being conscientious but let’s no go there.
      I too drive faster than the speed limit (like 75 in a 65) and only use the fast lane if all of the other lanes are going slower than me. But I always try to keep an eye behind me and see if someone else is coming up on me – if so, I move over and let them pass.
      I’m not the ruler of the road – Although I should be. I mean if everyone drove just like ME, there would never be any issues on the road. Am I right?
      (please note humor/sarcasm in post)

      • 0 avatar
        A Scientist

        Where I live, it makes me a total weirdo and definitely “goes against prevailing wisdom and common sense” ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Are you from Wisconsin? Even though it’s posted everywhere “Slower Traffic Keep Right”, no one does :(

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Scientist, there is nothing wrong with going the limit on the highway as long as you stay to the rightmost lane. The problem is when somebody insists on doing the limit in the middle or left lane and create havoc.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            ^ This!

            @Lie2Me: I was very pleasantly impressed with Wisconsin traffic manners on a drive from Toledo to Minneapolis in September, 2016; the only left-lane bandits I encountered were vehicles bearing Ohio license plates! Things improved once on the Indiana Toll Road while going to MSP, and blasting down the Chicago-bahn was almost an answer to prayer! Even the construction on I-39 in both directions north of the Illinois border wasn’t the slog which the same stretch would be in Ohio!

            The real fun was when, with my Dad at the wheel doing 78 in a 55 on the inbound I-80 at 9pm on Sunday night, we were passed by four “crotch-rocket” motorcycles and a GTI in three separate waves; the minimum speed that any of these groups were traveling was at least 130mph!

    • 0 avatar
      warrant242

      You monster.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    4 issues, 2 related to parking.
    1) Why do so many people, including those wearing sweat/warm-up suits, drive around and around to get a parking spot close to the entrance to a store, etc? Regardless of the weather. Wouldn’t it better to pull into a spot farther away and walk to the store?
    2) To go with this, I prefer to park in spots that have no cars near them. Yet many times after doing this, I will find some nutbar has parked their vehicle right beside mine. Despite there being multiple empty spots surrounding our vehicles? Why?
    3) Why will people line-up at a gas station, burning fuel while they idle to save a few cents per litre/gallon on their purchase? If they factor in the fuel spent while idling, the cost of their time and in some cases the cost of driving to and from that particular station, they are saving very little if any money.
    4) Why do retired people insist on going places during the morning rush hour? They drive/move slowly and clog things up, when they have the rest of the day to do whatever it is they are going to do. All retired people should be banned from the roads, public transit, coffee shops/fast food restaurants and the sidewalks between 7:30am and 9:15 am, Monday to Friday.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      “1) Why do so many people, including those wearing sweat/warm-up suits, drive around and around to get a parking spot close to the entrance to a store, etc?”

      Arthur, do you know my wife by any chance?
      ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I so agree with #4. When I had to commute to work I would get so angry with people who obviously weren’t commuting that I swore if I ever had a job where I didn’t have to be on the road during prime travel time I wouldn’t. I no longer have to commute and am quite respectful of those who do and give them at least one car length extra

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I have to argue #4; not all slow drivers are “retired people”. More often than not, I’ve found them to be notably younger than me (I retired early, three years ago.) Rather, they appear afraid to drive and while I don’t blame them, that fear is exactly what causes most of the traffic problems (with those who drive recklessly to get around them being most of the rest.) I’ve always said, “It’s not how fast you drive, it’s how smoothly you drive that gets you to your destination.” Most of these Fearful Drivers don’t know how to drive smoothly, nor do those street racers who jink their cars around in sharp maneuvers. Someone driving smoothly, even if over the speed limit, is less likely to get tagged by traffic cops than someone driving erratically at or below the speed limit.

      As to #2, I started doing that when I bought my Chevy Colorado–a truck notably bigger than my prior Ford Ranger (’97 model) and out of my comfort zone when I first purchased it. Of course, it didn’t matter. I parked at a store just about as far from the door as I could get, with a hard curb and trees to protect one side. With no fewer than five open spaces between the nearest car and mine, I felt safe going in to do my shopping. Less than 30 minutes later I come out to find a MAJOR parking-lot ding on the driver’s door, where the back-seat passenger of a CUV had slammed the door into the truck and bounced out of the vehicle, not only leaving two dents but also scraping the paint off in the process. Of course, the CUV itself was long gone, leaving only those marks as evidence of its presence… The truck was less than 3 months old at the time (custom-ordered.) I can only wonder why the driver chose to park right next to me when they could have parked just one space over with no problems. Those five empty spaces when I entered were still empty when I departed and I find it hard to believe they filled up and emptied all five spaces in the relatively short time I spent in the store.

      I still park more remotely because I am quite aware of how large my truck is–more so than many truck owners, it seems, since I see full-sized trucks squeezed tightly between smaller vehicles just to get closer to the door. I do my best, no matter what I’m driving or riding in, to avoid hitting another vehicle with my doors. But too few seem to be thoughtful enough to realize a little courtesy goes a long ways towards making their own lives easier.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        On #4, it’s not just retired folks, if you’ve ever noticed commuters are in total sync with each other. They can hook bumpers @ 90mph in a line headed for town without issue. They instinctively know what each other is going to do. A non-commuter disrupts that single-minded sync and screws everybody up

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Lie2me – well said. As a long time long-distance commuter for the past 30 years, you do instinctively know what most are going to do. It’s like the Vulcan mind-meld. And it makes no difference if you are a car commuter or on transit. After some time you see the same cars/people, the same behaviors, and when you really have been at it for years, you develop a kind of bond with some of them. Those are the ones you give preferential treatment to and they reciprocate at some later date. An army of ants has nothing on us!

          Occasionally you do get an “outsider” in the fray. The road to the train station I take is marked 30, but at 5:15 in the morning, all the train traffic is moving at 45. No problem and never saw an accident. However, there can be that early riser on their way to wait in line at the public golf course and they lock in at 27. It is like the pied piper – a long row of cars stuck behind one turtle. Since everybody has timed their car time to the train schedule, on the straight section of the road there will be 15 cars blowing by Gramps, who always has that indignant look on his face…

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      Arthur, I always enjoy your insights. I (mostly) agree with your four points here–item 4 being most important!

      FYI, it is ME! I am the one parking next to you!

      Do you know why? Because I also seek to park in spots with no cars near them. Because many people are either inconsiderate or stupid or uncoordinated, and they might dent my car when they open their door.

      So, I try to park in isolation and walk extra.

      Now then, when I see a SOLE car parked in isolation, especially a nice one, I figure, that driver must be like me. He/she likes their car.

      So, by parking next to THAT car, I have insured one side (because who is to say that the lot may not get full later), because that car will not damage mine.

      There you have it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Tom: Thanks and thanks for the explanation.

        Now can anyone explain why more often than not usually a ratty ’71 Dart, old Corolla or pick-up held together by bondo, that is usually the one parked right up against my car?

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Arthur, when I see a nice Vette parked in the distance, I might be putting my 27 year old station car next to it for the very reason above – I am saving one side for them. One guy did once mutter under his breath about my car (which is completely dent free BTW) being next to his. I introduced myself to him as a fellow Vette owner, and told him why I was there. He got it and was sorry for being d!ckish. Now the side windows of my old car have decals that say “My other car is LT1 powered” If they don’t get that then I should not have bothered to protect once side of his car.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Inept drivers need to park next to some one, right next, but don’t want to be surrounded. Parked out there all alone, we’re perfect targets. I just learned to accept dings.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      #2 is one of my pet peeves too. Really bugs me. Then there’s the tailgater who’s too timid to pass on an empty road but happy to ride my bumper.

      • 0 avatar

        Russycle: Bugs me too – especially when their headlights are on. I give them one chance when I see road open for an “easy” pass without any trouble. If they don’t take it, I slow down 5 mph either immediately or when the next opportunity to pass easily presents itself. If they still don’t take it I drop another 5 mph. Usually most will finally pass although. . .

        I had one time someone was tailgating me at night on a 4 lane – worked a midnight shift at that time. In that scenario, obviously, there was no oncoming traffic. I slowed eventually to 45 mph after 3 or 4 miles before the motorist passed. Chalked it up to inattentive driving (It actually happened 2 nights in a row – same car.)

        And, yes, the temptation to do something stupid like brake checking these folks is there, but I am smart enough to realize that runs the very real risk of severe damage to my own vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @Russycle: No matter the vehicle I’m driving, I get those tailgaters too. Of course, I drive with cruise control active 90% of the time so when I get one of those tailgaters, it doesn’t intimidate me to speed up but rather entices me to tap the Set button to slow down, 1mph at a time. It usually takes dropping about 4mph over a two-mile stretch before they realize they’re being slowed to or below the speed limit. Once they pass, I tap back up to my normal cruise and have to laugh when suddenly it’s me on their tail instead of the other way around. Usually tailgater ends up finding a faster car to ‘gate.

    • 0 avatar
      Mc Lean

      Arthur-
      They park next to you because they realize you are careful about door dings. They know that you will not bless them with a door ding, because you parking in the boondocks signals your aversion to parking lot damage. If they parked elsewhere they would risk having a door basher park next to them. They are actually paying you a compliment.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      “1) Why do so many people, including those wearing sweat/warm-up suits, drive around and around to get a parking spot close to the entrance to a store, etc? Regardless of the weather. Wouldn’t it better to pull into a spot farther away and walk to the store?”

      I always figured it was a misplaced sense of self importance – the VIP spots are by the entrance while the unwashed poors are to remain in the boonies.

      “Why will people line-up at a gas station, burning fuel while they idle to save a few cents per litre/gallon on their purchase? If they factor in the fuel spent while idling, the cost of their time and in some cases the cost of driving to and from that particular station, they are saving very little if any money.”

      I have the opposite question: Why do people go to a more expensive station when there is a cheaper one just a block away? Its not more convenient nor are you necessarily getting better gas. Maybe its a gas card thing?

      Even more baffling, why do some people insist on putting premium grade gas in their car that calls for regular?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @AtoB:
        • Why do people go to a more expensive station when there is a cheaper one just a block away? Its not more convenient nor are you necessarily getting better gas. Maybe its a gas card thing?
        — For some, you’re exactly right; there can be little difference. But not always. Where I live there are stations that make their profit on volume sales over high margin. There can be a price difference of as much as 10¢ per gallon between these volume locations and the nearest chain location that includes a convenience store. However, what you get for that 10¢ difference is noticeable if you have a good feel for your car’s performance. People insist there is no difference between 87 Octane fuels, no matter where you go but there really is when you consider the actual quality of the fuel. I used to frequent such a station because of a long commute and the appealing price and I will admit I thought nothing of it–until I got a different job that didn’t have as long a commute and paid better. It also didn’t take me past that station any more, so I started going to one of the more local convenience store chains. Their gas proved notably better as my fuel economy jumped about 10% and I realized better performance as in quicker acceleration at traffic lights and when I needed to pass on a 2-lane highway–all in the same vehicle as before. Granted, this was anecdotal as I was going by ‘feel’ rather than physical measurements but note also that it wasn’t a ‘tank-by-tank’ result but rather the effect of the car re-tuning itself over several tanks; something most of the so-called ‘studies’ tend to ignore.

        • Even more baffling, why do some people insist on putting premium grade gas in their car that calls for regular?
        — This is more of the above and I would note that some newer vehicles actually require different fuel grades under different usage. My own pickup states, “minimum 87 Octane” for regular driving but specifically states “Premium fuel only for towing,” meaning at or near its towing limits. Moreover, while I have not experimented with vehicle performance using different fuel grades in my truck, previous vehicles including a Saturn Vue and a Jeep JKU Wrangler did demonstrate performance differences between 87- and 89 Octane fuels from the same brand of gas. Like above, the difference was felt over several tanks of gas, not tank-by-tank. The Jeep’s V6 in particular commonly sounded like a diesel on 87 and averaged the EPA-rated fuel economy but when going 89 it exceeded EPA ratings by as much as 20%–even managing 25mpg on an extended freeway run of almost 1000 miles. Oh, and that Jeep was an ’08 so did not have the benefit of the Pentastar engine. So despite these ‘studies’, I have personally realized improvements in economy and performance by using the next-higher grade of gasoline over its minimum grade. The price differential to go Premium grade, however, has not made me willing to carry that experiment higher. If and when I buy an RV to tow behind my truck, I will do as the manual recommends but until then and for everyday driving, I honestly do prefer mid-grade over regular-grade gas.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      @ Arthur

      While I agree in principle that retired/unemployed folks are better off the roads during morning rush hour I also think more employers should enact work from home policies and employees should not abuse such policies. Too many bosses are “empire builders” that demand their employees needlessly commute long distances into the corporate mother ship each and every day. Set goals for your employees to meet and leave it at that – if the employee abuses the system such they fail to meet goals its no different than if they had failed to meet their goals in the office.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My biggest phobia comes from an accident I had 20+ years ago.

    I was driving in a 1984 Rabbit GTI to Detroit with my GF to visit her sister. There was a state trooper maybe a 1/2 mile back, so I was watching my speed so I wouldn’t get pulled over.

    The car in front of me was going a little slower than me, so I went to pass him. Very slowly. The driver was obviously paying too much attention to the the cop car, gently went into my lane and hit the rear corner of our car. The VW immediately went out of control. I fought the steering wheel as hard as I could but we ended up sliding into the snowy ditch. Thankfully it was a little wet and slippery out, otherwise I fear we would have flipped over.

    Anyways – the other guy got a ticket. The trooper helped me push the car out of the snowbank while my GF drove. We made it to Detroit in one piece and a small dent.

    But ever since that accident, when I go to pass other cars on the highway, I do it as quickly as I can, often accelerating as hard as the car will go.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Well, I’m retired and stay off the roads in the morning rush hour traffic only sometimes getting caught up in the afternoon rush hour traffic trying to get to the golf course, store or home! I also hate the drive throughs only because I got wheel rash on my leased cuv because of the high curbs and sharp turning radius of pulling up to the speaker box!The close encounter with the large truck/suv behind me in line is also unnerving to me because most don’t leave a buffer zone in case they slip off their brake because they are paying too much attention looking down at their cell phone reading and texting or reaching for their wallets/purse to have the money ready to pay so I too will park and walk inside and take the extra stress of waiting in line!

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Good tip. I’m very aware of spending time in other peoples’ blind spots, and avoid passing on the right on multi-lane highways if possible.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I’ll get cars riding my blind spot, absolutely no else around, especially when towing a trailer. So I’ll gradually drift into their lane, then correct. After 2 or 3 times, they get picture and blast off.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Once I see the light turn red in the far distance, I immediately start coasting, or ride the brakes early while angered drivers fly around/past. It’s not for saving fuel, minimizing stopped time, or not having to stop at all, although side benefits.

    My paranoia is with being rear ended. This doesn’t guarantee I won’t, but bringing traffic behind me to a methodical gradual stop can’t hurt. So after 35 years of driving, more than a million miles covered, I’ve been rear ended exactly zero times.

    So when I hear people complain of being rear ended multiple times in a relatively short period of time, some with permanent injuries, I have to bite my tongue, since I know they’re all late brakers, at least from my experience.

    And hell I’ve been in just about every type of accident or close call, usually not my fault, but have yet to be rear ended or had anyone come close.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’ve been rear-ended once, in a drive through, where the driver behind me got distracted and lifted off the brake. That was almost exactly 40 years ago. I still use drive throughs without qualms.

      However, I do the same as you by lifting off the gas when the light turns ahead of me. And pretty much for the same reasons. And when I do finally come to a stop, I leave about half a car length between me and any vehicle in front at least until I see a cushion of other cars line up behind me. But I’ve also had to teach others how and why to do it that way because, as you say, some rush past you to get to that light a few seconds quicker, needlessly but one in particular had simply been mis-taught in the first place, applying the brake firmly down to about 5mph and creeping up to the light–more than half a block in many cases. I can’t tell you how many times he came close to getting rear-ended and getting a lot of verbal ire from other drivers. Once I explained to him that slowing needed to be gradual and smooth and he started doing it that way, the near-collisions stopped and he no longer got cussed out at the light. This, too, was 40 years ago. In Las Vegas. Where everybody drove like idiots–especially the taxi drivers. Said taxi drivers also learned to watch out for a certain black Dodge as I took no guff or bullying from them. More than once I forced them to reverse as they would attempt to push their way in front of me coming out of a parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      I understand this practice, I will do it myself at times, but I don’t enjoy being behind this when
      1) I’m planning to be turning left while the gently-decelerating car is going straight,
      B) at an intersection that only allows left turns when opposite-direction through traffic is stopped and the through traffic that the left turner is leaving has the green, but
      III.) only allows those left turns if the left turn traffic got onto the sensor at the stop line in time, and
      d) that has a center boulevard blocking traffic from entering the left turn lane other than where the DOT chose to put that entry.

      At some intersections in my town, if the left turner in this situation doesn’t get onto the sensor in time, they have to wait through an entire cycle of the intersection because the car they were behind was holding them back.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      You’re the cause of all Denver’s traffic. Just so you know.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_wave

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I agree, I like DenverMike, but today I’d like him more if he’d stop coasting, Grr!

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I’m not trying to get in anyone’s way, but braking late to hurry up and wait, makes no sense to me. And there’s not a more courteous, conscientious driver on the road. Otherwise.

          I don’t see anyone else (while keeping right) move to an inside lane to let a waiting (at an intersection/driveway) big vehicle, RV, semi, etc, into the right lane, instead of waiting for me to pass by. I drove an big commercial truck for decades and no one did that for me.

          I’ll pull away from the gas pumps (after filling) when I gotta go back in the store, even with no one waiting, yet no one does that for me, even when they clearly saw I’m waiting on them to return and leave the pump.

          When anyone’s waiting on me, I’ll hang up the pump nozzle, jump in and scram. When I’m the one waiting, they have to get all situated, adjust setting, put on their seatbelt (IT’S THE LAW!), check their makeup, etc, before moving.

          Or when stopping at a light, I’ll hug the inside line (when there’s no right-turn lane, just a lane and a half) so not to block where a car can squeeze through and make a right.

          I can think of many more, but when it comes giving those around you extra room, big vehicles/combinations especially, it’s also self preservation.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        From your link

        “It has been said[2] that by knowing how traffic waves are created, drivers can sometimes reduce their effects by increasing vehicle headways and reducing the use of brakes, ultimately alleviating traffic congestion for everyone in the area. However, in other models,[which?] increasing headway leads to diminishing the capacity of the travel lanes, increasing the congestion”

        I have often thought that if everyone followed the 1 car length for each 10 mph rule traffic could almost always move at the speed limit. You will see traffic waves during commute hours and seem to be caused by cars suddenly braking because the are close to a slowing car ahead or someone has quickly pulled close in front of them.
        As to maximum capacity of the highway that is reached when every car is bumper to bumper in all lanes and the road becomes a parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Once I see the light turn red in the far distance, I immediately start coasting, or ride the brakes early while angered drivers fly around/past. It’s not for saving fuel, minimizing stopped time, or not having to stop at all, although side benefits.”

      I do this too, with the invariable result of someone flying around me to be first in line to wait at the light. Bonus points if my signal is on and they can block my right turn as well.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Think the weirdest thing I do is when shutting the car down, I will first kill the entertainment system, A/C, wipers, etc. – because I don’t want those things coming on as soon as the engine catches on subsequent startup.

    And I am the opposite of the close-parking-space types – when parking in a lot, I will immediately go to what I think is the best spot, from an anti-door-ding standpoint, exit the car and walk to whatever is my destination…invariably I will be passed while on foot by other cars that entered the lot at the same time I did…but whose drivers are now cruising their second, third or fourth pass through the lot, trying to save themselves from walking an additional 75 feet. And these folks usually look like they could use the exercise. So I guess typical Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Why have Democrats allowed themselves to be sold on hating their country and their fellow countrymen? What’s the upside while you’re waiting to be a pawn in a war against yourself?

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Where do you get Democrats out of this? Certainly not the “exercise” comment. I’ve been to many a NASCAR race and 80% of them are ticking time bombs on our healthcare system because of their lifestyle-driven obesity. And the vast majority are Republicans just like you. Got your troll hat on I see. Loving America is not wrapping your fat a$$ in the flag and driving your pickup through peaceful protestors.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      Ha! That’s exactly what I do….shut everything off before turning off the engine!

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I shut nothing off; it’s simply unnecessary in newer cars. In my older ones that had a manual A/C compressor switch, I would turn that off because the A/C did tend to start almost as soon as the engine was turning and would load those older engines before they reached a stable idle speed. The modern BCM computers have programmed in a little more of a lag before clicking on, which has made a huge difference.

        As for the rest; happily enough, nearly everything is automatic in today’s cars… as long as you remember to leave them in their automatic mode. Even headlamps will turn on automatically in reduced light, depending on how sensitive you’ve set them and you (or another driver) hasn’t turned them off manually. I think GM has even gotten around that one because on one occasion I turned my truck’s lights off manually only to find them back in Auto mode the next time I got in.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    This explains why rude drivers sitting in the drive-thru after ordering, leave 16 ft in front of them while I’m trying to inch up to the ORDER HERE so I can minimize my wait time.

    Except I see them inch up to car in front of them when it’s their turn to order.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I always use the mobile apps for the various fast food emporiums, but sometimes I still have to dig the phone out of my pocket first as I’m approaching the speaker to “check in,” and it always seems that I always have the one most impatient person on the planet who pulls in behind me, even when the other lane of a double-lane drive-thru is wide open, and it freaks! Me! Out!

      Same thing in a parking lot if I’m trying to find a space far enough out to avoid door dings, or if I’m driving slowly along a street resembling the Moon’s surface, especially with my new car, sporting Michelin rubber-bands on 19” wheels! On a street like that, I’ll have my four-ways on, but the idiots still sit 2mm from my rear bumper, even if they could just go around; sometimes, I’ll turn off the hazards, signal right, and pull over to let them pass, and for my heart to slow to normal!

      I think part of it is that I know that * I * get impatient in similar circumstances, and don’t want to do the same thing to others.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    All of a sudden I feel like a weirdo for NOT having an odd driving-related ritual……

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    Re: parking brake + neutral. I was in Japan visiting friends who did that in order to not blind the driver behind with brake lights. They may have done it only when someone pulled up behind them, I don’t remember. If they were first at a signal light, they would also turn off their headlights until the light changed, to not blind pedestrians and drivers across the intersection.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I used to live on a street with unlined parallel parking. It drove me nuts when I had to park in a way that left 3/4ths of a space almost unusable because of the way other cars and trucks were parked. Sometimes I’d walk out of my house and see that the vehicles which had forced me to park in a badly spaced spot had left, leaving my car to appear as if driven by an inconsiderate person. I used to pop my car out of gear and push it free up space for another car when that happened.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I look both ways at one-way intersections. My head is almost on a swivel at any intersection, even a double one-way..

    I have been asked why by people who have noticed it.

    “I learned to drive in Boston.”

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      That just sounds like best-practice to me. In addition to the occasional wrong-way driver, a large percentage of cyclists pick and choose when to obey any traffic laws and think the world is looking out for them. Where I live, there are also Byrd scooters.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        You are making a right hand turn from a north-south road to an east-west road.

        You check for pedestrians travelling north-south, you start to make your turn and find someone in a bicycle travelling north-south has disregarded your turn signal and tried to ‘blow past’ you on the inside.

        Often happens at 4-way stops.

        It also happens when making a right turn on a red light and the bicyclist has decided that they can travel through the intersection against the red light.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yeah I see this all the time. Some time ago I was passing a guy as I approached a 4 way stop. I signaled properly, stopped at the sign and since there was no other traffic I was free to go. Thankfully for the cyclist I pegged him as an idiot and waited until he ran the stop sign and then of course layed on my horn as I made my turn. He looked at my like I was the a$$hole. I felt like yelling at him how lucky he was that I could see he was an A$$ and he wasn’t having to be scraped off the side of a car had it been someone clueless.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Forget my all time favourite driving frustration. Drivers who continually use/tap their brakes to ‘slow down’ on highways (freeways, divided lane highways).

    If I see a driver ahead of me applying their brakes multiple times, then I pass them. As soon as I can.

    These ‘drivers’ notice that they are going ‘too fast’ or have creeped too close to the vehicle in front of them and then apply their brakes.

    You see their brake lights and must assume that they are stopping. Particularly if they are in a higher vehicle like an SUV or pick-up and you can’t see past them. So not knowing what is in front, you apply your brakes or back-off. (Even though I maintain a safe distance as a rule of thumb.) This creates a ‘shock wave’.

    Eventually the shock wave will result in someone who is not paying attention or making a lane change, colliding with another vehicle.

    Brakes are primarily for stopping.

    If you need to slow down or give up some space on a highway, take your foot off the accelerator, or just pay attention.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparmann

      @ Arthur Dailey: Yes! This a thousand times! Totally nerve racking, and then there is the idiot that pulls out in front you at slower than the posted speed limit, causing you to have to slow down abruptly, and then exacerbates the situation by only going a few hundred feet to turn off…Oh! and there was NO ONE behind you! Then we have the person who decides that you are not going fast enough for them (while you are on cruise control) so they dart around, get in front of you and then slow down to a speed slower than your c.c. assisted constant speed. I guess mention should also be made of those who upon seeing a LEO’s car beside the road slam on their brakes, even if he is standing outside a vehicle that he has stopped! :-)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “I guess mention should also be made of those who upon seeing a LEO’s car beside the road slam on their brakes, even if he is standing outside a vehicle that he has stopped! :-)”
        — You do realize that if you’re in the lane nearest that LEO’s vehicle that you’re SUPPOSED to slow to 45mph, don’t you? The law in most states is to either move over or slow down to 45 (or less if not on the freeway.) No exceptions.

        What’s worse and more along the lines of your intent is people slamming on their brakes for an LEO sitting in the median, even when they’re not speeding OR at risk of hitting a vehicle on the shoulder. I laugh my head off when I’m doing 5-over and people passing me on the left suddenly slam on their brakes, letting me pass them. I never get tagged and suddenly, for a while, the right lane is the fastest lane on the freeway while the ‘wave’ continues to grow from Speeder’s Panic. What’s even funnier is that when a genuine speeder does it, they tend to accelerate even more sharply to WELL over the limit–only to be actively caught less than a mile farther down the road as, on I-95 at least (and I’ve seen it on I-81 as well) a second Trooper is more effectively hidden and absolutely waiting for exactly that kind of reaction. In over 23 years of driving through Virginia on those two highways, I’ve never been tagged once yet I’ve seen innumerable vehicles pass me after one of those pulses only to get pulled over within another mile or two.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Every state may be a little different: Ohio law, for example, states that you move over, or if that’s not possible, slow to ten under the posted. (I’ll put my hazards on, as well, whether I’m able to move over or not, just to warn following drivers, and to let the LEOs or other personnel at the roadside know that I’ve seen them, and am aware of their presence.)

          There’s a habit of mine I forgot: if I’m at the end of a line of traffic going even one mile under the posted speed limit, on come the hazards! Plus if I have to slow or stop quickly in traffic, if I can get to the button, hazards come on, and if I can do so, I’ll pump the brakes to flash the brake lights, just so there’s no doubt whatsoever what’s happening in front of me!

          My biggest fear is having to stop on a freeway, then getting pole-vaulted into the next state (and a premature meeting with St. Peter) by a semi or other very large object with wheels which makes no attempt to stop, and as a result, my Accord becomes the meat in a metal sandwich! Every few years, there’s an accident of this type in and around the greater Toledo area or on the Ohio Turnpike in the immediate vicinity, usually with fatalities!

          I’ve told the story on here many times where I was entering SB I-75 from downtown Toledo behind two lanes of traffic doing 50mph into a 60mph freeway, and an oncoming semi almost pancaked me into the Accord in front of me!

          Since then, I’ve done the “flashers-below-the-speed-limit” thing, and have developed less-than-zero tolerance for people who insist on being cop, judge, jury and executioner by driving the speed limit in the passing lane!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Last winter I was lucky to not get rammed by a semi, OK it was a bit of my smarts. There was snow on the road and it was slippery of course. So I like many people were cruising along under the speed limit when I’m passed by a semi that had to be doing 10 over the 60mph limit. Glued to his butt was a lady in a Tahoe. We were just cresting a rise and coming up on a long sweeping turn half of which is a bridge with no shoulder.

            I thought to myself this isn’t going to end well and backed off even further. As the truck starts the bend he starts to loose it. I go deep on the shoulder and come to a stop well away from the impending crash. Yes those hazards went on. The guy in front of me did the same. Next thing we knew there were a could of semis that went well past us, 100′ plus, before they came to a stop.

            Yes the Tahoe bounced around off the truck. Of course the semi ended up with the trailer on top of the guard rail while the cab was up on the embankment on the other side.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Or if I’m in the left lane on a freeway, with nobody in the zip code behind me, trying to make a little time, and the doofus in the center lane pulls out from behind the moron in front of him doing two below, then doesn’t pass! Bonus points if both offending vehicles are semi-trucks!

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          You get lots of bonus points on the mountainous parts of I5 ( “The 5” for socal residents).

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I bet!

            Maybe twenty years ago, the Ohio Turnpike between the Cleveland and Toledo area wasn’t three lanes, and one day, an old friend of mine was driving back from the Akron area where he attended school, and had this happen, with semis! It took TWENTY-THREE MILES for that truck to pass! Of course, by the time my friend rocketed around the idiot, complete with a two-fingered salute out the sunroof, there was a line of traffic behind him as far as he could see; he had moved back into the right lane.

            That’s not the end of the story: the driver of the third car behind him, in an MR-2, tried to put into practice what some of us are sane enough to only contemplate! This driver cut in front of that semi about as close as could be done without making contact, and that truck driver had to stand on the brakes, which started the trailer wiggling a little! The MR-2 went around the two cars which were behind my friend, but hadn’t passed him yet, on the left shoulder, and was out of sight in no time, probably running well into triple-digits!

            Fortunately, that trucker, or a citizen with a bag phone or StarTAC, might have contacted the Ohio Highway Patrol, because twenty miles up the Turnpike, the MR-2’s driver was being loaded, handcuffed, into the back of a squad car!

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I park way out in the next county, and if possible up against a curb on one side. I’ve learned never to park next to any whipped raw beater of any kind. Also as a general rule it’s best to avoid midsized and smaller appliance grade sedans as well as any hybrid/electric car as best case scenario, that’s an apathetic non-car person. I avoid being anywhere near a minivan or 3-row suv/cuv which almost ALWAYS means kids.

    Some may be quick to point out that im being a judgemental Richard, and I’ll own that. I’ll also point out that I also own a 10 year old Challenger with exactly ZERO door dings or major cosmetic flaws—I win.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “I avoid being anywhere near a minivan or 3-row suv/cuv which almost ALWAYS means kids.”

      With the van, at least the doors the kids are more likely to be using are the sliding ones, which can’t possibly ding you. But I get the sentiment.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I insist on having everything in its proper place each time I park the car at the end of a trip and get bothered if it’s not. Seatbelts correctly retracted and not tangled, storage compartments free of trash and closed, sunvisors up, cargo net stowed, cargo cover open (in the car with a retractable one).

    I still haven’t trained my wife, who always drives or rides with the sunvisor down no matter the weather or the time of day, to put it up at the end of the trip.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Interesting, I’m a keep the cover closed person, and only have it open if there is something too tall to fit with it closed.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I like to show thieves that there is no reason to break in. I’m definitely a bit neurotic about that, but I’ve also never had a car broken into in nearly 30 years of driving in the city.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well I guess since it is common for something to be in there I don’t want thieves to see that there is something to steal. There is almost always an emergency kit in the back and since it is the wife’s car she frequently has something else back there too. So yeah I want the norm to be that it is kept closed.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Makes sense. My emergency kit lives in the tire-change tool hole under the cargo area floor (which is very generous in the Highlander). There’s pretty much nothing ever visible in the cargo area proper.

        • 0 avatar
          redgolf

          dal20402 – so you just leave nothing in sight and the doors unlocked?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Nothing ever visible, doors locked. The goal is to get the peepers looking through the windows to move on to the next car that has a GPS on the windshield or sports equipment in the cargo area. So far it’s working.

            The one time my wife took a shortcut and left a bag visible, she had the car broken into within a few minutes of leaving.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Ugh!

            From what I’ve heard from a couple of people at Safelite, sometimes insurance will pay to replace carpets and mats if glass spreads into an area from a break, just because it is sometimes impossible to get every last piece of glass up, which could possibly cause injury later! Same with seats.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Here is what I do religiously. When light turns green, and while I am already slightly rolling, I still check to the left and then to the right. And once, it saved me, if not life then a lot of damage. I was driving a van and on one intersection I was turning right. Light goes green, I started moving but I looked left. Next thing I know, a transit bus runs the red light and straight for me. I stopped on time but sucker was already in avoidance maneuver, so he struck my van @20 degrees or so. It was minimal damage and minimal hurt.

    Another thing I do religiously, is checking to my right before right turn, if there is a shoulder, even if it is marked as “no entry shoulder”. I’ve seen too many times “no entry” being ignored. I told my kids same thing. If there is no curb, there is no guarantee that some idiot will not be there.

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      Another thing I do religiously, is checking to my right before right turn

      There is a No Turn On Shoulder sign by our McD’s to go SE on I 24 toward Chattanooga, the police have tried for years to stop this practice, even putting up orange cones, drivers just mowed them over until they were destroyed!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      At a light in front of my local Lowes and McDonald’s, on a rainy Halloween night several years ago, I was the first person at the front of the line waiting to turn left heading westbound towards home, a mile away. This light is short-cycled, fifteen seconds, with a two-minute wait if you’re unfortunate enough to be too far back in line.

      I get the green arrow, took my foot off the brake..and hesitated for a second — something felt..WEIRD! Not half a second later, a dark-green W-Body Olds Cutlass, without headlights on, blasted through the red light headed eastbound! I had stomped the brakes again when I saw the movement in my peripheral vision!

      So I suppose it was OK to take an extra two minutes to get home that night!

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Additionally, other things – parking under trees (not in rain or snow) to keep car cool. Park with rear (tinted) side to the sun. Park further away to walk and avoid door damage. Pump brakes to warn drivers behind. I guess, anger is also neurotic. Because I get really angry when traffic light goes out and people don’t stop. Other violations don’t seem to invoke such anger with me. Yesterday I was actually amused watching 6 drivers one after another turn with “no turn on red”. 1 – idiot. 2 – idiot’s follower. 3 – interesting. 4 – will he turn? 5 – can’t be 6 – wow, a new record!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “No turn on red” violators are rampant here and they make me very angry because they turn crossing the street on foot into a game of Frogger.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      On the contrary, I try not to park under trees so as not to have my car crushed by falling branches. One car on my block was just significantly damaged by a falling branch last week, and another car two blocks away was crushed by a huge limb a few years ago.

      Regarding your earlier comment, you’ve had two cars while your neighbor has had six, but in how many decades? I am on car number five, approximately one for each decade I have been driving.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Person who parks Subaru under a tree will soon have clogged sunroof drains and mildewed carpet.

        • 0 avatar
          SilverCoupe

          ToddAtlasF1,

          Have you been spying on my wife? We did get rid of her Subaru WRX after ten years, clogged drains and all, and now the sunroof drains of her six year old Mini Cooper S are clogged too, causing damp carpet.

          • 0 avatar

            Had this issue on my 2G caddy CTS The problem is usually at the bottom, where the OE tube constricts the flow….you don’t need gobs of tree bits, a bit of dirt like that at the bottom of your wash bucket will clog most tubes. GM cut only a small x at the bottom of the tube, so the dirt clogged it easily…I removed the bottom of the drain tubes, cut an actual hole, and never had the problem again. I get that they probably don’t want spiders, etc moving up there, but I had less than a teaspoon of grey bucket dirt clogging both drains.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        SilverCoupe

        I would say, 15 years. And “I had 2 cars” needs a lot of explanations. I mean, since I actually owned way more than 2 cars, I only counted how many cars of mine was gone. I have only 1 car, where I was main driver – gone, while neighbor – 5.

  • avatar
    azulR

    On the putting into neutral and setting the parking brake thing, that would also be as traditionally needed to pass a driving test in the UK. Not blinding people behind with your brake lights is a beneficial side effect but the main reason is the theory that the car should be under control if it’s hit from behind, or if the driver has some medical emergency. If hit from behind or side, inertia may cause your foot to move from the brake pedal, letting the car move further than it otherwise would and possibly into further danger.

    That might all be very paranoid about things that are unlikely to happen, but would explain training for use of parking brake with an automatic transmission

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “If hit from behind or side, inertia may cause your foot to move from the brake pedal, letting the car move further than it
    otherwise would and possibly into further danger.”
    Reminds me of siting at a red light back in 88 in Lincoln Park Mi.in my 77 Ford Club wagon when a drunk woman slammed into my rear in her big Chrysler, I flew backward breaking the captains chair and landing in the rear seat floor area with my foot coming off the break and rolling forward half way through the busy intersection when I lunged forward to hit the break able to stop, looking up at a big semi who witnessed it all and stopped before he T boned me! I hated the Michigan No Fault insurance!

  • avatar
    Dan

    I treat cans, bottle caps, etc on the road as live-action practice for placing the tires. When there’s a real cat you get one chance and no warm ups.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      “I treat cans, bottle caps, etc on the road as live-action practice for placing the tires. When there’s a real cat you get one chance and no warm ups.”

      Is this supposed to be funny?

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    I’ll only manually trigger the wiper when there’s enough water to be wiped, I don’t like wiping an almost dry windshield and the squeaking sound.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    What’s something you do, feel, or believe that goes against prevailing wisdom and common sense?
    a) I don’t buy cars I can’t afford.
    b) I don’t generally buy cars from manufacturers who don’t know what they are doing or weren’t making an effort with the particular vehicle I choose.
    c) I buy cars which sold in relatively high volume, because parts availability.
    d) I like white paint because it is cooler in the sun and fades more slowly.
    e) I get weird about the parking brake on inclines (my parking pawl leads a sheltered life).
    f) I have a “pedestrian switch” which comes on when I’m in a college town or downtown area (because I usually am not).
    g) I secretly wish I could mount tires, do alignments and install windshields – these are about the only things I don’t do on my cars and I never feel quite right handing over the keys to my baby.
    h) I am anal-retentive about parking inside my space and will usually give myself a grade as I am walking away.

    If more people would adopt a), b) and h) the world would be a happier place.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      “I treat cans, bottle caps, etc on the road as live-action practice for placing the tires. When there’s a real cat you get one chance and no warm ups.”

      Is this supposed to be funny?

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      Alignments are easy! All you need is a decent level, a plumb, laser pointer and wrenches.

      I haven’t paid cor an alignment in decades yet my tire wear is spot on and no steering pull.

      Try it!

  • avatar
    redgolf

    ToolGuy – the body shops/repair shops HATE you, insurance company LOVES you though! ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Last time I talked to my insurance company, they couldn’t offer me any additional discounts because the ones I have already fill up every available row in their computer system… :-)

  • avatar
    redgolf

    one word for you – BUNDLE!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree with all of the above and can I add the frequency of drivers to use the right lane as the fast lane. I have had drivers ride my bumper in the right lane even when I am going 5 mph above the speed limit and even when there is no one in the left lane. Maybe these drivers think that in the right lane they will not be caught speeding.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    1. I had the “turn the A/C off in the summer when killing the engine” thing beat into me from birth. But I listened to the startup sequence when using the remote start (which turns on the A/C full-blast whether you want it or not in summer), and heard the compressor kick in well after engine-start!

    2. My 2013 Accord had only one door ding when I traded it

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    1. I had the “turn the A/C off in the summer when killing the engine” thing beat into me from birth. But I listened to the startup sequence when using the remote start (which turns on the A/C full-blast whether you want it or not in summer, and will kick the defroster and rear-window defogger/mirrors on in the winter), and heard the compressor kick in well after engine-start! The car does indeed do it for you! So I can focus my OCD elsewhere!

    2. My 2013 Accord had only one door ding when I traded it in, on a day when I didn’t straddle the line far enough over at my work lot. I seek out the back 40 of a parking lot, and the ends of rows if possible, so the inevitable tuckfard who parks next to my car has a chance at not hitting my car when he swings the door open like a battering ram! If I am forced to park in the middle of a bunch of cars, I’ll actually pull into the spot and angle my car so that there’s potentially more room for a driver next to me to hopefully open their door without contact. If it weren’t socially unacceptable, I would carry four small traffic cones and set them out around my car in an empty part of a lot. Or I’d purchase two of the bumpers that can suction-cup to the side of the car, were it not for the fact that detail spray won’t cut through the salt layer which blankets my area of Northwest Ohio for five months out of a year, so using those would inevitably damage the paint!

    The worst door ding I’ve had required PDR on my 2006 Accord, and it happened one Sunday at CHURCH! If people aren’t going to give two $hits THERE, FFS, they won’t anywhere!
    3. I’ve got a temporary seat cover which has elastic on the headrest, and the rest of it just flops over the seat so that it won’t interfere with airbags. It goes on if it’s going to be wet out or in the winter — the seat heaters still work with it in place! In the summer, on the weekends, or if I’m just running errands after work, I’ve usually got a sleeveless T-shirt or tank top on, and in my 2006 Accord, the seat belt had a nasty dirt spot where it rested on my shoulder after a few years, so I’ve got two cloth, Velcro-secured seat belt covers in the driver’s seat. (If I’m coming back from helping my parents clean up the boat, and sweating like I just ran a marathon, I might just toss my shirt on the back-seat floor before driving home instead of putting it on, so the seat cover and the two belt covers mean that everything stays clean.) I’ve also kept a cloth in the car within reach of the driver’s seat to wipe up any water that drips onto the inside of the door if I go into a drive-thru. Unfortunately, a couple weeks ago, the heavens opened as I pulled up to the pick-up window, and I didn’t have the cloth; my food had to be nuked when I got home because the first thing I did was to grab a dust rag and dry the inside of the door, which was soaked, while my Big Macs got cold!
    4. I just spent a little over $3k on Paint-Protection Film for my new Accord; unfortunately, because of the amount of work required, the vendor couldn’t come to my dealer to complete the work before delivery, so there were a couple minor damage areas even though the car was a little over a month old! Did that on my last two cars, as well!
    5. All my cars get a trunk mat and WeatherTech FloorLiners; they go into the car as soon as I get it home from the dealer!

    There’s some stuff I won’t do because of the cost and maintenance requirements! The biggest one being the professionally-applied ceramic coating: you essentially cannot take a car with that coating through even a soft-cloth car wash, which has to be done as often as possible since my area resembles the top of a margarita glass for a substantial part of the year, as stated! Also, I’ve stopped detailing my car and let the pros do it twice a year, which is a little spendy, but they do a better job than I ever could, and the last time I gave one of my cars a proper Zaino treatment, I was so wiped out that I slept most of the following day! I’ve gotten too lazy to HAND-WASH the car because it almost takes me longer to un-knot the hose and deal with the buckets and stuff than it does to actually wash the car! And I still miss spots! (And then I have to try to roll that hose up — no room for a reel —afterwards! A PITA! Then lather, rinse repeat the next weekend!)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I also was taught by my father to turn off all accessories such as heat, air, blower fan, radio and any other accessories before turning off the engine. My oldest brother taught me how to drive on a manual transmission and emphasized that you drive not with your brakes but with the gears and the accelerator letting off the accelerator when going into a sharp turn and when a traffic light is getting ready to turn red. Also anticipate what other drivers could do–drive defensively. Easy does it on the accelerator with no jack rabbit starts. My middle brother was anal when it came to keeping a car clean and waxed his cars every 3 months. A man I worked for in the oil business taught me to keep my vehicles dusted with a Kozak cloth and always to follow a strict maintenance schedule–he had a black 75 Cadillac Sedan DeVille that always looked and ran like it came off the showroom floor.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      I also drove only a stick for the first 20 years of driving and was taught to use the gears as primary for normal slowing. At some point someone told me “brakes are cheap – transmissions are expensive.” And from that point on I use the brakes primarily just making sure I was in the appropriate gear when letting the clutch back in.

      And I agree little to no braking while entering or in the curve (at least with RWD). It changes the balance of the car unloading the rear wheels just when you are hoping that they stick. That same person told me when discussing curves and their entry line “Go in slow, come out fast. Go in fast, come out dead” which I have taken to heart.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I too will use my brakes if I need to slow down instead of shifting all the time but I try to anticipated and slow down instead of shifting or braking. My brother was a good teacher when he was young but unfortunately now he has lost his ability to drive or ride a motorcycle due to declining health. As for manual transmissions it’s more about replacing the clutch which is not so cheap anymore. I only have one vehicle currently with a manual and it will probably be my last manual because manuals for the most part are endangered.

  • avatar

    Two fears: one is paranoia, the other is reality.
    Paranoia: Traffic on a fast road comes to complete stop…I’m afraid of being hit in the rear by a guy texting, I always turn on the emergency flashers if I’m the last car in line.

    Reality: I almost never pass on a legal two lane road. I had an incident where I tried to pass someone, legally and with room. The guy I was passing sped up, blocked me, when a car came in the oncoming lane I hit the brakes hard, the guy I was trying to pass intentionally blocked me, and I spun off the road. The guy behind us saw the whole thing, so it wasn’t my imagination that the driver I was trying to pass tried to kill me. He only regretted not getting the guy’s license plate number. The car was luckily undamaged, but ended up in the woods. No, the guy didn’t stop….

  • avatar
    snakebit

    My dad was one of those who put the transmission into neutral at stoplights. My foible – I stop far enough behind cars at lights that I can see their rear wheels. That way, if they’re not paying attention or their car dies and won’t restart, I can drive around them without having to back up first to clear their car.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I worked with a guy years ago that was stopped in a traffic jam and was hit by a semi who failed to brake. He told me when he looked up he was under the truck, luckily he did not have a scratch on him. It shook him up so much that he replaced his totaled Camaro with an older Cadillac CoupeDeville. After that incident he was always nervous in stopped traffic.


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