Like most moms, when my kids were little, I would take opportunities to use ‘teachable moments’ whenever we were out and about town. We would play ‘I Spy,’ to learn colors, or the Alphabet game, calling out each letter in sequential order as we passed this or that sign.
I would help the kids count change at the store, or point out people who did something particularly kind or noble.
Even though my son is an adult, with his own car, he sometimes rides with me when I run errands around town. I still take these opportunities to pass along my many years of parental knowledge and brilliance. For the most part, these pearls of wisdom take the shape of rules of the road and driving etiquette.
- Use your turn signal when changing lanes, and especially when making a turn
- Don’t tailgate
- Don’t pass other motorists only to slow down once you pull back into their lane
- Don’t speed up when someone is attempting to pass you, it’s not a race
- Don’t change lanes in an intersection
- If someone is nice enough to let you into traffic, give a little ‘thank you’ wave
- Stay in the middle of the road, don’t drift into the other lane
- Slow down!
The list goes on…
One particular day, The Boy and I were running errands in Big City #1. To return home we had two options, either drive 20 miles out of our way through Big City #2, or cross the 4.5 mile bridge connecting Big City #1 to our town. Despite my dislike for the bridge, this is our typical route home.
By way of explanation, the road leading up to this bridge is a short, four-lane, divided highway named for Florida homeboy-made-good Danny Wuerffel. The two right-hand lanes merge into a single-lane ingress at the foot of the bridge, with the outside lane turning into the entrance of a middle school and bayside marina.
The road is made all the more precarious by an intimidating row of metal poles separating the lanes exiting and entering the bridge into narrow, curving pathways.
For the most part, motorists are polite and will merge, one after the other as the lanes narrow, but there will always be that one asshat who finds the need to pass a long line of cars, only to swerve into that narrow single lane leading to the bridge at the last minute, often times causing many cars to brake abruptly to avoid collisions. This is a particularly grievous pet peeve of mine.
“Look at the VW, she’s gonna try to pass everyone.”
nothing from The Boy
“I hate that! Look at her!”
nothing from The Boy
“That really pisses me off. If you do that when you’re driving, and I’m with you… I will pinch you, hard, and it WILL leave a mark!”
I couldn’t see him laughing at me because, like a law-abiding and polite motorist, I was looking straight ahead, minding traffic.