Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

What constitutes a good driver?

Asked by Blackberry (31779points) August 28th, 2010

So yeah… do you know if you’re a skillful driver? Or what are the requirements to be considered a good driver?

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23 Answers

jerv's avatar

Lane discipline, situational awareness, and the ability to keep your shit together when the roads get slippery.

I’ve seen too many people totally panic and lose it when they first realize that snow and ice are nothing like dry pavement; they drive too fast, brake too hard, and can’t countersteer out of a skid to save their life (or the lives of others).

I’ve seen too many people forget that they are not the only car on the road and try to merge even when they are in a position to roll down their window and open the door of the car next to them.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

- The use of turn signals
– Not doing other things while you should be paying attention to the road
– Driving at a speed right around the speed limit (+/- 5mph is pretty good IMO)

jerv's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Try driving less than 10-over the limit near Boston and you will cause one hell of an accident. I prefer driving at the same speed as those around me. I have never been rear-ended, nor have I incited road rage the way driving the speed limit would when the rest of the pack is speeding in unison.

Austinlad's avatar

How ‘bout just following traffic rules and exercising courtesy no matter what. Seems pretty simple to me.

rebbel's avatar

It doesn’t say it all, but when your bonus/malus is high you could say that you drive okay.

christos99's avatar

a good driver shall be able to drive blindfolded ninja style. other than that, following the laws and not causing accidents constitutes as a good driver.

CMaz's avatar

A good sweet spot.

AmWiser's avatar

I don’t know what really constitutes a good driver but when I first learned to drive my Pop’s told me to always know/anticipate what the other driver is going to do. That’s easier said than done but it has worked for me.

Austinlad's avatar

@AmWiser, my mother taught me to drive, and she lectured the same thing to me over and over. She called it defensive driving. To illustrate her point, she once told me—in front of my dad, who was reading his paper—to pay extra attention to the car ahead of the car in front of me, because if he slammed on his brakes unexpectedly, the driver ahead of me would have to do the same. My dad’s head shot out behind the paper and he said, “Yeah—great advice. So what happens if you’re paying all your attention two cars ahead to the car ahead and the one ahead of you slams on his brakes first?” It was the last time my mom gave me driving advice in front of dad. By the way, I never rode with anybody whose driving made me as nervous as my mother’s. ;-)

AmWiser's avatar

@Austinlad point taken; )

JLeslie's avatar

#1 rule, other motorists and pedestrians should be able to predict what you are going to do on the road. The way to acheive this is to follow traffic laws (so many people don’t even know them)

Like, do you know what to do if the electricity is out, all traffic lights are out, not flashing, when you get to an intersection? Is there a difference if the intersection is two major roads, or if it is one major road and a lessor road? If a few people want to take a stab at it, go ahead. You would be amazed how many people don’t know the answer.

Do you know what to do at a flashing red? The difference between a flashing yellow and a solid yellow? I think parts of Michigan have flashing yellow that turn solid for left turns? I know they have flashing red for left turns, but Michigan is the home of the Michigan left, which you don’t see in other states. Still the light color and status ha sthe same meaning in all states.

When or if to put your lights on when it is raining during the daytime?

Enough with the quiz…

Also, use your turn signals! This is a warning to the people around you that you will be slowing down if you will be turning, so signaling when you are already breaking is missing the point. Also, if you are signaling to change lanes, it lets the driver in the lane youa re coming into know you are coming, or God forbid you miss seeing a driver in your blind spot, he can honk and warn you he is there, or slow down enough to let you in. And don’t change lanes on the highway into the right hand lane as traffic is entering the highway if it can be helped (I know some cities have weave exits) so incoming traffic can merge more easily. Also, don’t change lanes near, or in, an intersection, that is why the dotted white lines between lanes, become solid as you approach the traffic light.

When you turn stay in your lane. I you make a right turn from the farthest right lane, you should be in the lane farthest to the right on the new road also. If you make a left from the leftest lane, then you should wind up in the lane farthes to the left on the new road. I you make a left from the second to left lane, then you wind up in the second to left on the new road. When making a left turn you should be going kind of straight into the intersection, and then making almost a 90 degree left (not quite that severe). If you start to turn too soon, you cannot stay in your lane.

Avoid using your brakes on the highway. Have enough distance in front of you that you can just release the gas if you get behind someone travelling a little slower. This avoids traffic waves, which slows down all traffic.

Before a curve let up on the gas a little, and then accelerate into the curve to maintain control.

If there is a yellow warning sign about what speed to travel on a curve or exit, obey it, especially if you have never taken that curve before.

Stay focused on the road. No eating, drinking, texting, while moving. Even talking hands free takes your focus of of the road, it is different than talking to people who are sitting in your car.

Stay reasonably with the speed of traffic.

Stay to the right lane for slower traffic on the freeway/highway/interstate, pass on the left (obviously for countries that drive on the right)

I have more, but that is enough rant for now.

Trillian's avatar

Being alert, considerate of others, common sense and common courtesy. (Common sense constitutes paying attention all around you and – here’s a novel idea; OBEY THE TRAFFIC LAWS AND ROAD SIGNS! For instance: Do not attempt to force the person ahead of you through a light because you’re in a hurry. Do not pull into thehmiddle of the intersecion if you’re not going to make it all the way through before he light turns red. Now all the people to the right of you have to wait. Really? Are you that special? I dobthit. Just wait your turn. Oh wait, that falls under common cortesy, right? Hooda thunkit?)
Here’s a link for more tips. Click on “categories” and then “Drving in your car”. At the bottom of that page is a link to ways to avoid being a road idiot. Anything I can do to help….

Jabe73's avatar

Respect for other drivers on the road. Stay within the speed limit, do not tail, do not run red lights/stop signs and letting people make left turns ahead of you (when you can). Always be aware and expect that the other driver will do the unexpected. I forgot, use turn signals!

Frenchfry's avatar

No ticket and no accidents. You must no your right of ways to be a good driver… Yesterday I went to the store .and this guy didn’t care I had the right of way went. I had to stop. I gave him a funny look (curse under my breath) . I must say people are in such a gosh dang hurry now days to beat me to the red light or go when they don’t have the right of way. I guess those are pet peeves of mine, really.

Aster's avatar

Drive 5 mph over the speed limit and stay in your lane! Don’t apply the brakes on the highway (sign of fear I think). Stay 5 car lengths behind the person in front of you in case they stop unexpectedly.
Never change lanes without looking first out your sideview and rearview mirrors and I also turn my head and look. And something I learned: don’t assume no one will run a redlight.
Always look both ways at a 4 way intersection before pulling out.

deni's avatar

Someone who pays attention at all times, reads signs, looks twice before crossing lanes, turning, etc. and is considerate of other drivers.

jerv's avatar

One thing I don’t get is the people who say to stay a certain distance away. See, the proper following distance is highly situational. I’ve seen people (at least in Seattle) leave up to 3 car-lengths at a red light and I’ve also seen them leave ½ a car-length at 70MPH. Sometimes it’s been the same person too.. I follow closer in town than on the interstate.

Even the old “2 second rule” which takes speed into account isn’t always accurate, as anyone who has ever driven competently in the wintertime knows. In the slick stuff, it often takes at least double the distance and far more time to stop,

My rule of thumb is to leave enough room to either stop or swerve in the event that the guy in front of me hits a wall. Whether that is 10 feet or ten car-lengths depends on speed and road conditions.

Of course, it also requires one bit of knowledge many people seem not to have; knwing the capabilities of their car. My current car is a late-‘80s econobox that has a 0–60 time and braking distance about 1–½ times slower than the average modern car; comparable to a 1-ton pickup, in fact, but still has the nimbleness you’d normally only find in a small car. Accordingly, I drive differently in my car than when I borrow my buddy’s car which is more powerful with stronger brakes but less agile, especially in the snow/ice where it is far more likely to break loose than my underpowered car than is 500 pounds lighter.

There are those that think that they need 4WD/AWD, but I spent most of my years in New England driving small FWD cars perfectly fine and laughing at the people in the ditches who thought that 4WD made them immune to road conditions. Sure, I may be taking my little shitbox around corners sideways sometimes, but only because I can actually control the damn thing even without grip; ever watch FIA rally competition or drifting?

I know what my cars can (and can’t) do, and how to do (or avoid) it. As far as I am concerned, anybody who doesn’t have that skill, who doesn’t know the limits of their vehicle, doesn’t deserve a license.

deni's avatar

@jerv I believe the rule of thumb is that however fast you are going, divide by 10 and thats how many car lengths you need to be away. That makes sense. If you aren’t moving, you don’t need to be 30 feet back. I don’t get people who do that. But if you are flying down the highway at 80 mph, you shouldn’t be right on someones ass. 8 car lengths will do.

But yeah, I agree with you. Some people shouldn’t drive!!!!

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv yes it is situational. The old rule for when stopped was to be able to see the rear tires of the car in front of you. I don’t think many people abide by that, but they should. If the guy in front breaks down, you can maneuver around him without backing up. If you are on a hill and he has a manual shift car, he might just roll back into the car behind him if it is too close to his bumper. I worry about the latter example all of the time when I am driving my car that has a clutch in it. If you live in a mountainous or hilly city, those people are probably mor aware of this.

On the highway you can’t be so far back and slower than traffic that people are dodging around you constantly, at minimum stay right if traffic moves much faster than your comfort level. This also goes back to people should not be braking on fast moving freeways, unless necessary, it slows traffic and can be dangerous. The person paranoid about getting too close and constantly braking is making the highways less safe and less efficient.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie I have also been rather annoyed by the fact that people do not know that some cars even have manual transmissions. After all,it’s common knowledge that every car has an automatic, A/C, power windows, and an in-dash CD player.
I have had a few people stop too close behind me on a hill, and a couple have found out the hard way that their front bumper was weaker than my rear. Technically, they rear-ended me as they were following too close so they can’t say anything unless they want to get in trouble with the insurance and (possibly) the police :P

NaturallyMe's avatar

Someone who is considerate and obeys road rules. And someone who is aware of what is going on around them on the roads so that they don’t behave like lost farts on the road. And people who use their indicators properly.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv My manual transmission cars, are cars that almost always are manual transmission, very few people buy it with an automatic transmission. Even people who are not into cars, can pretty much assume mine is, they just don’t think.

Blackberry's avatar

This is very good advice, everyone. I will do my best to take heed to it, except for the staying 5 or 10 over rule, I don’t agree with it for reasons I’ve stated in other posts/questions.

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