What I Saw: Driving Habits

By Traveller


If you spend a lot of time on the road you will most likely agree with what I’m about to say. If you spend a little time on city streets you will probably agree with me as well. We have a problem that is growing and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better with time. 


I spend a good amount of time on the road, some weeks logging close to 1,000 miles including city streets, two lane black tops, interstates and turnpikes. Over the last four years I’ve noticed there has been a noticeable difference in driving habits of the average citizen. 


Before Covid 19 I would witness three drivers a month deliberately running a red light. Now I see three people every day and in the last few months I’ve started seeing more than one vehicle at a time run red lights. In October of 2023 I saw a pack of three vehicles at one time blowing a red light.


In the last decade I’ve noticed how vehicles pull out in front of me when I’m on a narrow highway only to turn off that same road a mile down the road. They couldn’t have waited 5-10 seconds until I passed by before they pulled out and proceeded on their way. Is that rude behavior or is it an example of how many have lost patience and attention spans? 


When I’m on an interstate or two lane state highway, I will often come up on a vehicle that is driving under the speed limit by 5 or 10 mph. As I pass them I notice they are on their phone. A few miles later it’s not unusual to see them pass me and disappear into the horizon. In at least half of these cases, I’ve been driving at a set speed, via my cruise control feature.  I’d bet less than 20% of the cars I see on the road are using cruise control. Why such a little percentage? Am I the only person who knows you get better fuel economy with cruise control? 


When you went through driver’s education, did the instructor ever talk about driving in fog? If so, did the term ‘low beams’ ever come up? Every time I drive before dawn and see cars coming towards me in the fog with their high beams on, I wonder what student drivers program those people attended. It happens more than you think. 


Is it a law in your state that if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights (not just daytime running lamps) should also be on? I’ve counted the amount of vehicles heading towards me in the rain and many times, one in four don’t have their headlights on. This is about the same on city streets or on highways. I’ve even seen police cars driving in the rain with no headlights on… more than once. 


I don’t know the term to use to describe these acts of driving, if it’s just one word or a few but I do know that drivers are not getting better as more vehicles hit the road. Auto manufacturers are making efforts to design safer cars by using various sensors to assist drivers. Are these attempts by manufacturers enabling bad drivers or are our drivers paying less attention to the road in front of them? 


It would be easy to blame digital devices for all these issues, but I’m not sure that would be accurate. When we are at the wheel it’s time we start paying better attention to the road and let go of all our distractions. 


About the Author

Traveller is a 50+ Vet who has lived in 12 states since birth. Before turning 23 he shook hands with two sitting U.S. Presidents and before turning 30 he met three Playboy playmates. He’s ridden an ATV in three countries and driven eight motorhomes over 12,5000 miles and counting. 

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