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The 1990's brought us the term "Road Rage", and the words "Drive Courteously" slipped by the wayside. The nation's highways have become more crowded for many reasons. Highway construction, more cars on the road, high employment rates and people leaving late for their destinations are some of the main reasons for stressful drives for many people today. Driving Institute of America seeks to remind us how extremely important courtesy is to improve our driving.

We, as drivers, become easily upset with the driver in front who fails to signal, or the driver in our mirror who is tailgating so closely it looks like you are towing them with a hitch. Then we look at ourselves and we have the exact same habits! We need to look at ourselves honestly, and be critical if we are indeed not being courteous due to our habits.

Let's review several behaviors which lead to being un-courteous and some which are good habits we should use when we drive on a daily basis. Can you become over-courteous? The answer is yes, and we will explain this later in this article.

A couple of months ago, after attending some Friday night football games, when leaving the crowded parking lot I noticed how people were being very courteous in letting all vehicles exit the main parking lot when all the other roads were lined up as far as you could see. They would alternate each vehicle and the process seemed very organized. This was even without a traffic officer directing traffic!

Can you imagine if every one of us used courtesy as a primary safety philosophy? This would make driving so much more pleasant to all. Now lets look at some ways we can be more courteous in the way we drive.

DIA, whole-heartedly believes that the leading factor to improve our driving is leaving earlier in order to be at our destination 15-20 minutes ahead of time. This cannot be stressed enough, for planning to be at your destination 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule allows sufficient time to drive in a courteous manner. Oh, how importantthis is!

Be aware of how much traffic you will encounter at different times. An example is when going to work. How much traffic is there during your drive? What time will I arrive to work? If the answer is 15-20 minutes early, then you should qualify as a courteous driver candidate.

When you don't run late:
You will not have the tendency to tailgate drivers ahead of you.

You will not have the tendency to run a red light.

You will not have the tendency to pull out hastily in front of someone when you're at a stop sign.

You will not be guilty of failing to signal when changing lanes, or cutting in front of the car behind you.

You will not have the tendency to drive so fast that you lose control and involve others in a possible accident.

These are some of the bad behaviors which leaving late can cause. Strive to leave in sufficient time and DRIVE WITH COURTESY.

Beware the overly courteous!
But, as I said, there are situations where drivers can become over-courteous and cause a serious accident.

Here is one: You want to make a left turn and enter the so-called "chicken" or "suicide" lanes. The oncoming traffic has three lanes. The first two lanes are stopped, but instead of gridlocking the intersection they both leave a space for your vehicle to execute a left turn. The problem here is the two cars have created a BIG BLINDSPOT. The curb lane, which also has oncoming traffic, cannot see your vehicle, nor can you see them.

If you decide to make the left turn, you are placing yourself in a very dangerous situation. What I do in this situation is wave on the "Over-courteous" drivers and wait until all the traffic has cleared. And because I have the 15-20 minute buffer zone, my journey is not delayed to the point that I will drive unsafely later in the trip. This is just one of the situations DIA discusses in it's "Don't Be the Next Statistic" Driver Safety Seminars.

It is so important to drive with courtesy and hopefully other drivers will follow your lead. Drive selfless, not selfish.

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