10 Tips for my Fellow Drivers in Rush-Hour Traffic [Egotistical Rant by Mrs. Dude]

mini traffic jam

By Mrs. Dude (aka “Clever Dudette”)

This is a guest post from my wife, Stacie, and a follow-on to my hit rant “10 Tips for My Fellow Mass Transit Riders“. Stacie has to drive about 40 miles round-trip per day and decided to take a swing at her own (more polite) rant.

I am usually a well-mannered, polite woman, but some things people do in traffic really annoy me (see list below). Although I’m not going to give you any mean hand gestures or swear at you if you do these things (because I just don’t do those things), I am probably going to wonder why your parents didn’t teach you to “be nice to people”. And I’ll go home and tell Mr. Dude and all my friends about “that mean person in traffic today!” So be courteous.

Oh, and I might call up the authorities and report your license number. I’ve done so numerous times already…

  1. Keep the window up when you smoke. If I’m within 5 cars of you (anywhere in front of me or beside me basically), I CAN SMELL YOUR SMOKE IN MY CAR. It’s like you’re sitting there next to me smoking, and I’d like to preserve my health, thank you. And think of it this way, if you don’t want to keep the windows up when you smoke because you don’t like the smell, do you really think I like the smell?????
  2. Use your turn signal when you want to change lanes, not after you’ve already done so. And please, use it. I can’t read your mind and think you’re going to change lanes.
  3. If I give you space to be in the lane in front of me, wave at me nicely. The acknowledgment brightens my day.
  4. Don’t text message while driving. I like it when you pay attention to the road and the rest of us around you. Make your plans and talk to your friends when you’re at your destination. If anything, use a hands-free device like bluetooth or a headset. You’ll still be distracted, but at least you’ll hopefully be looking at the road.
  5. Don’t multitask–talking on your cell phone, smoking, and operating a stick shift are just too many things to do at one time! We were only given 2 hands–to have both on the wheel!!
  6. If it’s sprinkling, your car is not going to drown. You do not need to drive 15 miles slower than the speed limit! This is also applicable to any weather condition that will truly not impair your driving. And if you are scared, wait to drive until it’s a lower-traffic-volume time period or take public transportation. Many other drivers will thank you.
  7. Brake wisely. Your gas mileage and other drivers will thank you. I get annoyed when the person in front of me speeds up dramatically and then brakes suddenly, several times. Why do you do these silly things???
  8. Merge wisely and don’t wait until the last minute to merge or take an exit. It’s rude. It’s like cutting in line at the amusement park or ice cream shop (different story). You just don’t do it!
  9. Obey HOV laws. These are special lanes where at least 2 or 3 people must be in the car. When Mr. Dude and I get to use HOV together, we really don’t like those people who drive alone and try to use HOV. Not only is it illegal, it’s just NOT nice! Some day you will get caught, and I will laugh at you.
  10. Keep your distance. Even cars want their personal space, so obey it. It makes me queasy to think that if you invade my car’s personal space, you’d probably be that creepy guy at the bar trying to invade my body’s space too. It just isn’t cool. And I don’t want you hurting my MINI.

So now that you know my personal pet peeves on the road, obey them, and wave a happy hello to me in my blue MINI!

Photo by Robot B

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Love that all the cars are Mini Coopers in the photo, too bad they all have NYS plates.

    I agree with all your rules, Stacie. I had to drive down I95 this past weekend, and it totally sucked. I’d like to point out that sitting in my car, stopped in traffic, going 5 miles in one hour, I smelled the smell of cigarettes the entire way. Yes, I was blocked in to the middle lane, and the highway was a parking lot. Apparently, me being a non-smoker should have used my air conditioning in a non-moving car so that I didn’t have to smell the smoke. Apparently I don’t have the same rights to preserve my gas mileage by opening my windows in 80 degree weather in a stopped car on a packed highway. Can you tell that totally peeved me?

    I’d like to add to number 10, if I could…..Just because you tail gate doesn’t mean that I’m going to go faster. Especially if the car in front of me is going slow. Do your car a favor and slow down, not only is your car going to like you more, but so is your wallet.

    So, with that, I’d like to give Stacie a hearty A-MEN SISTER!

  • Actually as soon as the road surface is wet you should slow about 10 – 15MPH . . .

    On a dry surface your stopping distance is about:
    70 mph – 70 feet before you hit the brake, 245 feet to stop, 315 feet total.

    On a wet surface (IE, light rain)
    50 mph – 50 feet before you hit the brake, 250 feet to stop, 300 feet total.
    60 mph – 60 feet before you brake, 360 feet to stop, 420 feet total.
    70 mph – 70 feet to brake, 490 feet to stop, 560 feet total.

    So not only should you slow down about 15MPH, you should also back off about 100 feet . . . that’s 8 car lengths or so. Basically the 2 second rule should become the 3 second rule . .. you know the ‘find a thing the car in front of you is passing, and do One one thousand two one thousand nice and slow’. If you hit the thing before the number, you’re too close. Do three seconds unless you’re in clear, dry weather.

    Keep in mind your stopping distance depends on a pile of factors including your brake wear, your tire condition, road heat, weight of passengers, contents of car, and pavement type.

  • I agree with Minimal.Mammal. A road is most dangerous when it’s “sprinkling.” The mixture of water with the residue of oil on the road creates a slick film and this is when most accidents will occur. That said, if you want to drive a bit slower in a sprinkle, I’ll take the better gas mileage and putter along.

  • I believe the intent with the driving slower in the rain one was more that you have a third of people still speeding, a third going the speed limit and a third going way lower. When you get these 3 groups of people together, it becomes mayhem.

    In D.C., you can’t get up to the speed limit (55) on the beltway even in good weather during rush hour, so I don’t think it’s more that the people are going 15mph when they should be going 30-40mph just to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

  • I have so many more to add to your list (I live in NJ and work in NYC) but it drives me completely bonkers when someone changes lanes into my lane (in front of me) and then proceeds to drive slower than they were in the original lane. Especially when they were driving the speed limit and now are driving under the speed limit. Sometimes I truly believe I am invisible on the road and people just don’t see me (I drive a minivan so I doubt it!)

  • Omg, I died at this. YES. This is exactly what I’ve been saying for years. I lived for four years in Washington DC – a place that ranked #2 in worst traffic in the country – and drove everyday between Baltimore and DC. This post about sums up my thoughts on it, too – especially the smoking and rain issue.

    I moved back to Seattle not too long ago, and I was SO surprised to see that people freaked at the rain here. It’s…Seattle… Uhm. Rains like 75% of the time, right? You’d think they’d be used to it by now, but nooooo…

    … it only takes ONE stupid driver to slow up rush hour. Urgh. Something else that’s super-annoying is those lookey-loo’ers who spot an accident and slow down 20mph to LOOK at it while they’re passing. Meanwhile, while goggling at the wreckage, they’re not watching where they’re going! Hypocritical much? Shoot.

  • Eesh, I hear ya. On my commute to the library (which is just <10 minutes down a mid-size road), there are two major turn-offs. It always seems that half the people didn’t anticipate that they needed to be in the other lane. So there’s a lot of slowing down and avoiding lane crossing drivers. Some of whom don’t signal. At least I know to expect it.

  • Stacie…thanks for the inspiration…i am going to start calling the cops on old people who drive slow in the left lane (aka left lane vigilantes)

    the police will get sick of hearing from me 🙂

  • Stacie – great post!

    My pet peeve is when slower drivers sit in the far left lane. If you are going to drive slow… get to the right. Same thing for trucks. Trucks have no business in the left lanes except to pass. And if you’re on your cell phone or whatever, you automatically drive slower… so get int the right lane.

  • I just moved to Kentucky, and there appears to be one particular thing people like to do here: As people are merging onto the interstate (or other limited-access highway) people don’t speed up to the speed of traffic….people will honestly get on the interstate going 25 or 30 mph! Which of courses causes everyone else to throw on the brakes and practically wreck their cars. The other thing that happens on the on ramp: People will hit their brakes and completely stop! UH HELLOOOO Get moving!! It is not that difficult to merge! I have started laying on the horn and not letting off until they have finally merged. Hilarious.

  • First thing you do is bitch about what others do in their own vehicle. Not a very Dude thing to do. That would be posted under a Bitch page

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