Gathering Places


Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Are you really
a good driver?

Being a good driver doesn't just mean knowing and practicing the rules of the road. It means being courteous, alert and aware of your surroundings when behind the wheel. A courteous driver gives others a break. A conscious driver is constantly aware of weather, traffic and pedestrians.

Good drivers are constantly checking their mirrors for positions of other vehicles. They watch the sides of the road for signs of movement from pedestrians or brake and backup lights on parked cars.

They stop to let pedestrians cross when they see them waiting on the sidewalk for a break in traffic. They slow or stop to let a vehicle in the opposing lane make a turn in front of them, or let a vehicle merge into traffic from a private driveway, side street or onramp.

The good driver positions his or her car close enough to the left lane line so the traffic behind can pass on the right.

Good drivers travel at a speed that is safe for conditions regardless of the posted speed limit. They adjust their speed for road, traffic and weather conditions.

Good drivers judge the speed of the vehicles coming up behind and, if the approaching vehicle is closing the gap, whenever possible will move one lane to the right so as not to impede the flow of traffic in the existing lane.

The good driver does not stop on a freeway on or off ramp. The good driver knows how to merge. When entering any roadway, the vehicle already on the roadway has the right of way.

The good driver knows how to judge speed and is able to merge into the traffic or, if already on the roadway, knows when to slow down, speed up or move one lane to the left to enable the oncoming vehicle to merge smoothly into the lane.

The good driver looks for a sufficient break in traffic and uses the proper turn signal before changing lanes, turning onto a roadway or exiting a parking stall into traffic.

The good driver always travels or stops with sufficient room, between his car and the car in front of him/her, making him/her able to pull around the front vehicle if it becomes necessary.

How do you accomplish this? Whenever stopping behind another car, you, the driver, should be able to see where the rear tires of the car ahead meet the pavement. And the good driver never stops in the middle of the lane to pick up or drop off passengers. Be courteous, pull to the right curb!

Be a good driver. Allow opposing cars to turn left; let cars out of cross streets, other lanes or private drives onto the roadway; move to the right for faster traffic coming up behind you; travel and stop a safe distance from the car ahead; and know how to merge into oncoming traffic.

Drive Aloha, the life you save may be your own.

Patti Adolphson, born and reared in Wahiawa Heights,
spent 20 years as a police officer in Northern California.
She returned to Wahiawa four years ago and says
driving on Oahu scares her.

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