Driving Do’s and Don’ts Part 2

Here’s part 2 of my driving do’s and don’ts. These are general things one can do or avoid to be considerate drivers.

Tip #1:      Since when are you so important? Don’t cut people off–it’s rude, it induces road rage, and it is dangerous. Even if someone is dying or a baby is about to be born, it would be a bigger shame if you never made it there because you got in a wreck or you ran someone over because of your rushed driving.

Tip #2:      Remember what it’s like to be on foot. Stop before crosswalks and give pedestrians right of way. To the pedestrians: a little hustle or jog through a crosswalk when there is traffic waiting to go through is always considerate (& if it comes to a showdown, you’ll probably lose). Also, use the crosswalks rather than crossing the street just anywhere.

Tip #3:      To bicyclers: if you are in traffic, you are like a car. Running red lights is hazardous and wrong. If you are on the sidewalk, you should stop at every intersection. Once a biker zoomed out into a crosswalk going 15 mph when I had a green light and was turning right. It was impossible to see him coming, and I nearly ran him over. Not cool.

Tip #4:      Don’t text while driving. Ever. Period.

Tip #5:      Can’t the call wait? Ten years ago most of us did without cell phones just fine. My lord, how did we ever keep all that information inside until we got to a landline?! People that talk on their phone while driving often drive too slow, too fast, forget to signal, weave in traffic, run red lights, and so on.  Best not to do it or keep it to emergencies only. Besides, you miss a lot of interesting scenery when you are distracted or “double-tasking.”

Tip #6:      Emergency Alertness:  check mirrors and keep music at a reasonable volume so you can see and hear emergency vehicles.

Tip #7:      Shoulders are for breakdowns or for friends to lean on (tee hee!). Don’t pass on the shoulder or use it to get to an exit. That’s a surefire way to get side-swiped.

Tip #8:      Show some respect. In some communities, a funeral procession warrants people pulling over and stopping as it passes to show respect for the loved ones of the deceased (as in, “What I have going on is of no importance in the face of your loss and your grief.”). If this isn’t a tradition in your community, you should be aware of it (and hopefully honor it) in the places to which you travel.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

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Driving Do’s and Don’ts Part 1

Driving etiquette is something I’m big on–probably because I was a city-transit bus driver for five years. So here are some tips about merging and making room for your fellow roadway-goers.

Tip #1:      Look before you merge. I’ve noticed a trend lately: people seem to be merging by sonar. Have you heard of side mirrors and blind spots, folks?  Use them and check them respectively!

Tip #2:      Driving comes with karma. Trust me. If someone is trying to get into your lane when it’s crowded, let them in. You would want the same courtesy if you were in their place (and in that case you would thank them with a wave, right?).  And a little positive karma couldn’t hurt when it’s your butt stuck in the other lane (or worse, stuck behind the car desperately trying to merge).

Tip #3:      Don’t be that guy.  I really really hate it when I’m stuck in a lane with a ton of other cars because the second lane is closed up ahead, and then some car comes speeding up in that soon-to-be closed lane just so they can be let in further ahead of everyone else. Yeah, she/he’s probably thinking “Suckers,” but everyone else is thinking, “Jerk.” (Or more realistically: “F*&k you, you F%*king D*&khead A%$hole!) “Wait your turn just like everyone else.

Tip #4:      Anticipatory and conscientious actions matter. Things like accelerating to the correct speed limit on an “on” ramp or making room for a semi truck when it is trying to merge are kind things to do and can increase roadway safety.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Be Nice. to the environment and yourselves

There are a lot of ways to be nice to people. And we’ve heard a lot about being nice to the planet. Here’s one unavoidable reason we need to start thinking about our waste and our purchases that contribute to it:

“Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic. Are We?”  is an article that tells of the numerous ways plastic is in our bodies and in our food supply. There is an island in the Pacific made of floating plastic twice the size of Texas and growing. Tiny confetti-sized pieces of plastic float around (more numerous than the plankton the fish eat in oceans) and are eaten by fish, which are in turn eaten by humans. These little plastic pieces disrupt our endocrine and reproductive cycles (among many other things).  It’s a long (and depressing) article, but worth the read (spread the word forward too!!!!).

Once you’re done reading, do the whole world a favor and:

  1. Buy some canvas re-usable grocery bags,  & keep them in the car to use them for shopping. They make carrying groceries easier actually and you often get a 5 cent credit for each bag you use.
  2. Buy reusable glass containers (Anchor brand makes some) instead of plastic reusable.
  3. Look in your pantry and grocery list and cease buying individually wrapped food items. Dole out the servings yourself into reusable packaging! It’s easy and saves a lot of packaging that will be around 3 times as long as we will.
  4. Check out the Green Bag Lady  site and you can learn how to make your own bag or win a bag in a giveaway–and you can donate old fabric for the making of more bags!

Thanks for reading!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Favorite fingers find us in frightening frays

Oh, I just read the greatest book! My grandma recommended this one. It is called: “Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life” by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal. If you are looking for a pick-me-up story, this is a great read. It’s fast and easy to pop through and all the stories are short, so it’s great for a wait in an office, a lunch break, or a daily train commute.

Below is a synopsis of one of the stories from the text, which is a great example of how being courteous on the road can pay off in the short or long run.

A man is driving furiously to an appointment across town for which he is likely to be late. Just as he is entering an expressway, he is cut off by another driver. He rolls down his window and screams obsinities at the other driver. Obviously angered and in a hurry as well, the other driver replies in kind by cutting off the man again and returning with more fervor his own explatives. Suddenly both of them arrive at their destination. They had both been late for their appointments–with each other!

Imagine if this had happened to you all those times you yelled in traffic or shared your favorite finger with your fellow driver!  I think this story can remind us all: when we’re behind the wheel, manners don’t go on a sabatical. Take a deep breath when you get angry, focus on driving safely, and just let it go. There are so many things in the world to get angry or stressed about. Why let an inconsiderate (and unsafe!) fool add to your plate? They don’t deserve that kind of attention, do they?\

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009. (Except quoted and paraphrased material above.)

Aisle etiquette

Here is a Dear Abby article my aunt sent me from December 7, 2008. It sums up pretty well the idea of “aisle etiquette” — the act of staying to the right on common pedestrian thruways.

DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to the idea of keeping to the right? Most drivers observe this rule in their cars, but as soon as their feet hit the pavement, all memory of it vanishes. Our sidewalks, airports, grocery stores and shopping malls have become free-for-alls.

I was taught in school that keeping to the right prevents accidents. People have crashed into me with their grocery carts as I made a right turn from one aisle to the next and they are making a left turn along the left side. Then they look at me as if I’m in the wrong place.

Rules like this are designed to make life easier. It seems a growing number of people don’t realize this is common courtesy or just don’t care. I hope that by mentioning this in your column that it will remind people so our sidewalks, stores and malls will be safer for all who are walking.

If people will remember to stay to the right and pass on the left, they will see that these important rules of the road make all traffic move more smoothly. — TIRED OF THE DO-SI-DO IN ATLANTA

DEAR TIRED: I’m pleased to print your reminder that there would be fewer collisions — of every kind — if we practiced good manners more of the time. And speaking as someone who has sashayed up my share of the center of supermarket aisles, I promise to be more careful in the future. Good manners are a manifestation of the respect and concern we have for others.

Seems like a good idea to me!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009. (Except Dear Abby article)

But please be careful

My boyfriend told me that he had passed along the Be Nice.pamphlet to a few people. Apparently, one of them tried one of the suggestions the other day when he was in Buffalo, NY. The pamphlet suggests that one can offer to take someone’s cart as they are finishing loading their groceries in order to save them a trip. This man tried out this suggestion and the person with the cart was so shocked, he reached into his pocket as if to get a weapon. So of course the man who offered to take the cart ran off before he was hurt.

This is an important thing to remember: you must be protective of your safety. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t seem like a good idea to reach out and interact with someone, don’t do it. Even though I try to embody social courtesy in all my actions, I always consider my personal safety before I interact. If I am alone, I would think twice about talking to just anyone.

There are certain things I do without worry, like: holding doors open for people, saying excuse me if I need to get around someone or if I bump into someone, and saying thank you to those who do kind/courteous deeds. But there are some that I am more selective about, and those are typically the ones that involve initiating interaction without any particular context (i.e. I converse with a sales person or clerk because there is a context for my conversation with them–I am a customer; whereas talking to a perfect stranger with no apparent reason for initiating the conversation might make the stranger feel threatened or unsafe).

While it would be ideal that people could all be friendly and courtious all the time, it is most important that we be safe.  So, please do be mindful always of your safety, and remember: it is our positive, compassionate attitude that makes the biggest difference in every interaction we have every day.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Disclaimer

The ideas, suggestions, material and information presented on this weblog and on the associated pamphlet are intended as a means for discussion only.  None of this information is intended to replace the sound judgment of your self or the advice of your qualified health professionals (i.e. physicians, therapists) and qualified protectors of safety (i.e. police officers, fire safety personel).