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usagibryan
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01 Dec 2022, 9:29 am

I got a car and learned how to drive much later than most people, but it's been 10 years and I still hate driving with a passion. I think it takes the #2 slot in terms of sources of my anxiety right below my work environment. Something I realized lately that contributes to my driving anxiety is "peer pressure" from other drivers. I like to drive carefully, go the speed limit and follow the traffic signals, and I prefer to go when I feel it's safe, but other drivers are really aggressive and will tailgate you, cut you off or honk at you if they don't like how you are driving. Most people will speed up at a yellow light to get through, if it's not too late I will slow down (that's what you're SUPPOSED to do isn't it?) which seems to aggravate whoever is behind me. I know they are aggravated because they will express this by revving their engine and speeding up to get in front of me when they get a chance, possibly forcing me to slam on my brakes. It feels like I'm being bullied by other drivers.

Once I had no choice but to drive slowly, I was driving a loaner that had an ignition problem that would make the car stall if it went over a certain speed. In retrospect maybe I should have put a sign in the back or something (I think there are laws here about not using hazard lights) but even going speed limit it seemed like other drivers had it out for me, honking and cutting me off, etc. The irony is that by driving more carefully it makes my driving environment more dangerous. I read about how self-driving cars have a problem where they are too "polite" and not aggressive enough, allowing human drivers to take advantage, this is something I never imagined would be a "problem" with driving. I've had to learn how to be more "aggressive" while driving.

I'm dealing with a particular situation now, on the way to work there is an intersection near a school or something and all the cars from the other side of the road are turning trying to get into the school and they create a line blocking the intersection even when the light is green. Cars traveling in the same direction of me will then opt to go around and between the other cars, changing lanes to do this and sometimes after the light has been red for a while, creating a situation that feels like those videos of intersections in India I've seen. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I try to avoid going when there is a line of cars because I don't want to get hit by someone in the left lane if I misjudge when it's safe to get over or get stuck in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red.

But I get honked at if I don't, I'd rather go when I feel it's safe to do so. Unfortunately that's not always possible as I just recently learned, if I wait for it to be clear the light may turn from red, to green then back to red and I'm just stuck there. So I have to do what the other cars are doing and check to see if I can get over on the left, the left lane is NEVER clear unfortunately so I just have to judge if I have a reasonable opening. A matter of seconds makes a huge difference. I think I might have to change routes now.

This is why I avoid changing lanes while I'm driving. If I know I have to make a left turn in 10 miles, I will just get into the left lane near the beginning of the trip when there are literally no cars and stay there. Everyone thinks I'm nuts for doing this but it gives me peace of mind. I hate having to change lanes suddenly. I hate going "against" traffic too. When making a left turn I beg for the green arrow, I hate having to judge when it's safe to go at a green light, especially when someone is making at turn and blocking my view, and cars behind aren't going to let me wait for that person to turn and get out of the way. I still don't know what the solution to this one is.

I can't wait for self driving cars. I wish I had proper public transporation where I live. Who decided that this extremely dangerous mode of transportation that requires you to make split second life or death decisions every day should be the norm?


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jimmy m
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01 Dec 2022, 12:10 pm

Driving can be difficult but there are some steps that can help.

To begin with, I have driven most of my life. I probably have driven over 1 million miles thus far. I am a fairly safe driver. That was not the case when I first started out. When I was young one time I received a speeding ticket. Rather than pay the ticket I was offered a one week course of drivers education taught by police. It was very informative.

One of the cardinal rules they taught was Always keep at least a car lengths distance between you and the car in front of you for every 10 mph you are driving. So if I am driving down the road at 60 mph, I need to keep about 6 car lengths distance (or around 90 feet distance) between me and the car in front. This rule gives me time to react to any problem in the road. IT MADE ME INTO A SAFE DRIVER.

If you think about it - being safe is your first priority in driving. You are responsible for your actions but not responsible for the actions of other drivers.

So in general, usagibryan you are following a safe approach if you focus on distance between you and the car in front of you.

Onto a slightly different subject. How fast should one drive? Generally I found that driving 5 mph over the speed limit works but no more than that if you want to avoid a ticket.

You wrote: I'm dealing with a particular situation now.
First, it is appropriate to avoid curtain problem areas if you can.
Second, if you have to go through such an intersection, generally if you are within the intersection when the light changes red, it generally gives you a right of way. Just try and not hit anyone.

The stress of driving. I will give you an interesting solution. My brother when he was young bought an old used car. It had been in several wrecks with damage to both front and back. He didn't fix the outside of the car. It still drove fine. But he had it painted taxi cab yellow and drove it around town. Everyone on the road kept their distance from this car. No one would even come close to him. They theorized he was an accident waiting to happen.


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usagibryan
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01 Dec 2022, 12:58 pm

jimmy m wrote:
The stress of driving. I will give you an interesting solution. My brother when he was young bought an old used car. It had been in several wrecks with damage to both front and back. He didn't fix the outside of the car. It still drove fine. But he had it painted taxi cab yellow and drove it around town. Everyone on the road kept their distance from this car. No one would even come close to him. They theorized he was an accident waiting to happen.


That story is hilarious.


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"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age"


jimmy m
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01 Dec 2022, 8:12 pm

usagibryan wrote:
That story is hilarious.


And it is a true story.


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