Courtesy On The Road

Driving experiences can be less than positive sometimes.  But one of the things that makes even the most stressful journey more bearable is the simple act of courtesy between road users.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at junctions. If it's busy and you are joining a queue of near stationary vehicles, none of whom are making any progress on the main road, you are in a position to extend a little courtesy.

Make an effort not to block that junction.  Why not pull up a few feet behind the car in front, in order that you can "let out" a driver trying to emerge from a side turning?

If that driver is turning left, and joining the queue, that's no real hardship.  And if they are turning right, they will bless you if you at least allow them a little room to emerge and "have a look".

That said, just because you are letting that driver out, there's no guarantee that everybody will.  So make a point (before you create that gap) of checking your mirrors.  For example, there may be a motorbike "filtering" at a reasonable speed approaching you down the outside.  So if your emerging vehicle assumes all is well your side, because you have "let him out", how do you know that he will spot the bike?  He may well be looking the other way in order that he can complete his right hand manoeuvre and so be totally unaware of the bike coming towards him.

Sometimes courtesy is motivated by self interest.  If you pull over behind a parked car in order to let another road user pass at a "pinch point" and you do so in good time, everybody benefits.  Your positive "body language" makes it clear you have anticipated the blockage and that you are letting the on coming vehicle past.  They get through quickly and you will be able to move on quickly as well.  The alternative is two moving vehicles moving very slowly, trying to squeeze parked past cars, and worried about crunching their mirrors.

Remember a little courtesy can be catching.  Make a point of thanking other road users when they have done you a small favour.

10 December 2006 Staff

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