A Testament to Driver Courtesy: NMA E-Newsletter #443

Though declaring June as Lane Courtesy Month allows the NMA to shine a spotlight on the importance of keeping right to allow faster traffic to pass, what shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle is that lane courtesy is a 24/7/365 principle. If not practiced universally, the benefits can easily be lost. Put another way, it only takes one driver camping out in the left lane to cause traffic tie-ups and to raise the ire of fellow road users. When that happens rarely is safe driving a byproduct.

In looking back on last month’s lane courtesy education campaign, we thought there may be no better way to keep the issue in front of the public than to share a note we received from Ken Willis, NMA Colorado member, with some personal observations about driver courtesy:

Long ago I read somewhere that when you act courteously toward others your heart likes that. Since I’m a lawyer (retired) that might not have come natural for me. 

I’ve always stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street. That might be because I was hit by a car when I was 8 years and spent 3 months in the hospital (they kept you longer in those days, 1953).  

After reading about how being courteous toward others might just maintain a healthy heart, I made it my leitmotif on the road. Although I usually drive pretty fast, I never fail to let another driver into my lane and I switch lanes as soon as I can when I see a driver behind me who wants to pass.   If someone passes me, I slow down (if I can so safely) to make it easier for them. Basically, even though I may be in a hurry I allow any other driver who wants the right of way to have it. When another driver gives me the right of way I always wave a “thank you.”   

I even give way to big rigs on the interstate to allow then to move into the left lane to pass another big rig, even though I know that will result in a rolling road block for the next mile or so. I know those guys make their money by getting the goods to market as soon as possible.  They also know the speed preferred by their engine for the best gas mileage so they try to maintain that.  

Now I’m an old guy but I still love to ride a motorcycle pretty fast and I’m usually a little over the speed limit in the car when possible (and safe). 

Apparently being courteous to other drivers on the road works well for me. My heart is healthy and I have never had an accident. I have received a few speeding tickets, but very few. I’ve been stopped by the cops a lot more often than I’ve been ticketed. I have a formula for courteously dealing with them as well, and they seem to like it.

A lesson about courtesy but also a formula for safer roads and more enjoyable travel.

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