QOTD: Driving Rules

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Years ago, teenage me was leafing through an issue of Car and Driver that was already a bit old when I happened upon one of those rare magazine/newspaper columns that changes your life, or at least how you see things.

In the column, the then-boss of C/D William Jeanes laid out his rules for driving. These rules were really tips for safer/better driving, and I don't recall all of them. Sadly, a quick Google was unable to turn up a digital copy of the piece.

Here are the two tips I do recall: Look through the windshield of the car in front of you whenever possible, thus making it easier to see what's coming; and never drive in a manner that forces other drivers to use their brakes if they wouldn't otherwise need to.

That last one has stuck with me all these years. I interpret it to mean that you shouldn't drive too slow, pull out in front of someone, cut someone off -- things like that. People should only have to use their brakes to slow down for stop signs, stop lights, traffic jams, lower speed limits, and the like -- not because you've done something that forced them to hit their brakes to avoid a collision.

I've had a hard time finding exceptions to this rule. It seems to be a no-brainer, and I try to use it every time I drive (not that I always succeed. We all screw up once in a while).

I use the windshield trick when I can, too, though it doesn't work when I'm testing, say, a Miata, and I'm behind a QX60.

All that said, what are your rules? I don't mean rules of the road as dictated by the state or feds, but rules you live by to make your drives safer and/or more fun.

Sound off below.

[Image: Garsya/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 65 comments
  • John66ny John66ny on May 03, 2023

    Glancing at the point where a stopped vehicle's front tires meet the ground ("ground viewing") will give you a more accurate feeling for the driver's intentions more quickly than their turn signals will (or despite their lack of signals), even more quickly that you will sense their whole vehicle starting to move. Even works to a degree with moving vehicles, you can sometimes get a better feel if they are accelerating or decelerating, etc.

    When it's unclear what another driver is going to do, and they could become a threat, move your foot over the brake and your hand over the horn ("cover the brake and horn") to reduce reaction time in case you need to use either.

    Unless it's a real emergency, use a "double-karate-chop" action on the horn button to give a quick "beep-beep" to establish communication with another driver who seems unaware of your presence. A long blast can escalate into road rage.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on May 03, 2023

      Great ideas, just be mindful that you get your hand away from the horn pad if a collision appears inevitable—in 2010, I was T-boned at slow speed by a city bus whose driver ran the red light, and my right hand was holding down the horn as I was trying to avoid the collision with my left! If the driver airbag had deployed, I’d probably still be suffering from the effects today! (If I ever see an inevitable collision happening, I hope I’ll have the presence of mind not only to get my hands away from the steering wheel, but also to lock my arms over my head so that my arms are covering my ears and the rest of my head!)

  • BEPLA BEPLA on May 03, 2023

    Don't do anything that will get me shot or rear-ended by the NASCAR crowd.

  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!
  • Roman Our 1999 Pontiac Sunfire Gt is still running without any issues. 25 years and counting.