From the January 2023 issue of Car and Driver.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “crowd-sourcing.” That’s when ideas are solicited from a teeming mob rather than a small cadre of so-called experts, often generating surprising results. Consider the Volkswagen Tiguan. No, not the car itself, which highly trained engineers designed, but its name—a mashup of “tiger” and “iguana.” Thanks, crowd!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I could apply the wisdom of the masses to my driving. Is it possible that my personal habits and techniques could be improved by crowd-sourcing? Perhaps. So I decided to pay extra attention to my fellow drivers and see whether I could learn anything from the licensed citizenry as a whole. Like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system (perpetually in beta testing), I’d assimilate their insights and experience to make my own driving super-duper great. Here’s some of what I’ve learned.
For starters, if you’re unsure where you’re going, no worries! Just drive real slow, your car wandering across the lane like a two-ton divining rod, until you figure out that maybe the address you’re looking for was a block back. Then slam on the brakes and make a 16-point turn right there rather than, say, continuing to the next side street or crossroad.
Speaking of crossroads, everybody loves a surprise, so don’t use your turn signal. And when you arrive at an intersection where the rightmost lane is for turning or going straight, make sure you’re going straight so the right-on-red crew behind you gets a nice chance to relax and take a couple of minutes off from the stress of piloting a moving vehicle. They’re probably back there thanking you for the respite.
If you see someone getting ready to parallel-park—pulling up just past an empty space, with their turn signal indicating their intention to reverse into said space—drive right up on their bumper. Remember, nature abhors a vacuum.
When you’re driving on a two-lane road with a 55-mph speed limit, take the corners (however gradual) at 47 mph. But as soon as there’s a passing zone, speed up to 70. If someone still manages to pass you, tailgate them for a half-mile afterward, as if that’s how fast you like to drive all the time. Then gradually fade back into whatever 47-mph reverie you were in before a two-lane pass annihilated your fragile ego.
When following at night, make sure to position your car slightly to the left of the vehicle in front of you. That way, your headlights can shine directly at their driver’s side-view mirror, helpfully throwing around lots of extra light for everyone. Remember, sharing is caring!
Sometimes on the highway, two lanes will merge down to one, and you may notice other drivers forming a single-file line well ahead of the point where the pavement ends. These people are called suckers, and you should take advantage of them by driving as far as your lane will take you, even if it means going up on two wheels like you’re an understudy in Nitro Circus. Don’t worry—the other drivers will understand that your time is very valuable and may even give you a friendly honk or wave of encouragement as you cut in at the front.
Eventually, you’ll reach your destination and need to park. In the course of finding a spot, be willing to drive around for a half-hour to avoid walking an extra 20 seconds. And when you come to a space marked with a C, ask yourself whether it stands for compact or Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax dually, which is what you’re driving. There’s only one way to find out: Wedge your truck in between a Geo Metro and a Mitsubishi Mirage G4. Then climb out the sunroof, put on your Oakleys, and pat yourself on the back for another fine episode of driving.
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