Q When I drive on the freeway and traffic isn't going bumper to bumper, I notice a peculiar behavior: Drivers in the fast lanes like to sit right next to cars in the slower lanes, at the same speed.
Sooner or later traffic builds up behind the "blockade" driver, and subsequently behind the driver in the slower lane as well. I've been had emotionally in the past by these weirdos; now I try not to bite anymore. Then I see drivers starting to drive erratically to get out from behind these drivers. I don't consider blockade-driving safe behavior.
I now tend to steer clear from this passive-aggressive behavior by slowing down more. But then those strange drivers sometimes slow with me. I slow down even more until they give up and get away from me.
What possesses these drivers? Is there a large group not aware of their blockade behavior? I hope you can provide me some insight about them.
A I think they mostly are not aware of the impact of being road boulders. If traffic is moving at the same pace as vehicles in lanes to the right, they should either speed up or move right and allow others to pass when it's safe.
Q Will you please advise drivers on 101 freeway southbound at 5 p.m. from Woodside Road down to Great America Parkway that it's OK to leave two, three, even four car lengths of room between you and the car in front. Especially when you stop and realize:
It's absolutely comical how irate drivers get when I leave room in front of me. I even make sure I stay in the far right slow lane, but it never fails. There's always that one driver who becomes unglued and insists on riding my bumper in display of his/her protest. So what do I do?
I leave even more room because now I have to account for the possibility of this moron hitting me from behind. I just pretend I don't notice the irritated look on his/her face to avoid a road-rage incident, but inside I want to scream:
"HELLO, DO YOU SEE ALL THE RED BRAKE LIGHTS AHEAD OF YOU? CHILL OUT!"
Please, people, don't freak out about open spaces. The freeway can be a lot safer and less stressful if only others could adopt the rules above.
A Hmmm. I drive like you drive as I go north on I-880 in the morning, using the slow lane and allowing three to four car lengths between me and the vehicle ahead. But I don't experience the problems that so aggravate you. Maybe it's Roadshow karma?
Q We all know the impolite gesture one can make when the other driver did something rude or stupid. Is there a universal gesture for thanking or for "whoops -- sorry" when a driver (me) does something stupid and the other driver makes a defensive move to avoid hitting me, as happened a few days ago? My husband says in that situation he hits his head with the palm of his hand -- a sort of "duh" gesture (not that he has ever admitted to making a mistake while driving or any other time).
A Mr. Lawson sounds like my kind of guy. The "duh'' hand gesture has the endorsement of Bill-the-AARP-Driving-Guru, who says it works for him almost every time.
A wave of the hand and a simple mouthing of the word "sorry" also can be effective. That's what I did recently after I made a stupid move behind the wheel and the other guy smiled and waved back that every thing was cool and he understood we all do stupid things at times.
If those tricks don't work and the other motorist remains peeved, look away and break eye contact. Don't let the situation escalate into road rage.