Driving Tips for Amateurs

Vintage Car Vector Image
photo credit: Vectorportal

T HAS COME to my attention that the vast majority of today's drivers are, in fact, amateurs. I use this word not in the traditional sense of "someone who does not receive payment" but in the far superior sense of "barbarians who do not drive like I drive."

I may not know you, but I'm more than willing to help. Here are my excellent driving tips, which will provide hours of reading pleasure, if you read them over and over several hundred times. They will also make your driving experience a joy unparalleled by anything but a few dozen activities you like better than driving. Soon after practicing my suggestions, you will drop your pathetic "amateur" status and evolve into "One Who Drives Like Kate, Who Has Clearly Got the Right Idea in the Area of Driving, As in So Many Areas."

1. Green means "go."

Yes, once a red light turns green you really must give that accelerator a little push. We are not made of time; we are pressed for time.

If you are hindered by a single car in front of you, try the tactic known as "bumper reminder," a technique long practiced on European roads (their term for it is, loosely translated, "impact announcement"). The driver behind gently inches forward until making contact with the offending vehicle's stationary bumper. The stopped car is thus inched along until that driver becomes aware or "reminded." Generally there follows a friendly exchange of jovial horns and off you go. I'm sure it will catch on here in the U.S. and eventually replace the use of firearms.

2. Do not tailgate when you're following me.

I don't drive too slowly, nor do I drive too quickly. I drive anywhere from 5 to 8 miles over the speed limit, weather conditions (see below) permitting. My state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has informed me that this is, in fact, the perfect driving speed. Tailgating me will elicit the following behavior: I, or as the French say, je, will slow down. Je will giggle at your pointless exercise in intimidation. Je will drive slower and slower until your blood pressure reaches code red, or as the French say, moulin rouge. And besides, I don't see any of you wearing a DMV-issued "Ace Driver" pin.

3. Drive according to weather conditions, you idiot.

I mean that in the nicest possible way. It's just that I have a teensy problem sliding off the road into the ditch in my failed efforts to avoid Mr. Dodge Ram, who likes to fishtail for fun on icy streets. My, yes, that does look like fun, but couldn't we try that in an empty parking lot? Normally I would just drive one of my six or seven other cars, but they all appear to be in the shop at the moment. Wait a minute—I'm getting something. Oh, that's right, I own only one car and it's in the shop because I drove it into the ditch because you're an idiot (nicest possible meaning). So maybe you could drive like it's snowing when it's snowing.

4. When in front of me, always drive 3 to 5 miles an hour faster than I do.

All you need to do is remember the Golden Rule: Kate, by definition, is driving at the proper speed. When you can see my nose twitching in your rearview mirror, that would be exactly the right time to accelerate. I'm tailgating? How mildly amusing yet logically impossible, when you remember always to apply the Golden Rule.

5. Please don't make me honk at you.

If I honk at you, it means you've been very bad. You've done something really annoying, like turned in front of me when I'm going straight and have the right of way. You know better than that. Or refused to let me in when you were my last hope of getting in until next week. Very bad.

Here is a little-known fact: all of this honk-worthy behavior is going into your permanent record. You may, as a result of making me honk at you, be denied credit, have your pets shaved by unskilled labor, all of your subscriptions canceled, and/or all of your good works erased from the Book of Life. Hardly worth it, I'd say.

6. Drive during the most efficient hours of the day: 12 a.m. - 6 a.m.

All of the tips outlined in items 1 - 5 can be tossed out the window like so many parking tickets if you diligently practice this last and best tip. You can tailgate, forget what the color green signifies, fishtail your booty off, and be an all-around honk magnet. You'll enjoy freedom from my (and your DMV's) exacting standards and thus stand a chance, at least, of a decent afterlife. I'm trying to think of a more generous arrangement, but after knocking it around a few seconds, clearly there are no other options even remotely worth considering. How gratifying that we were able to arrive at this mutually beneficial destination, as it were.

Happy Motoring, or should I say, Bon Gâteau.