Driving etiquette, the name given to the courtesies that drivers are expected to show to others on the road, can make a huge impact on everyone’s overall happiness while driving. Whether you’re often on the receiving end of a horn honk, or you want to make sure you know exactly how to make driving better for everyone on the road, these essential things about driving etiquette will help.
Know How to Merge
Merging is perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of driving on the freeway. When you know you’re coming up to an on-ramp, you should always move into the left lane if it is safe to do so. After all, that on-ramp is pretty short compared to the rest of the road! If you are the one merging, make sure you reach highway driving speed by the time you make it to the end of the ramp. This will ensure that you won’t hold up traffic when you move over into the driving lane, or cause other drivers to have to slam on their brakes because you’re trying to merge at 35 in a 55 mph zone.
Use the Left Lane Properly
The left lane on a highway is designated for faster moving or passing vehicles. This means that drivers who are doing the speed limit in the left lane are likely holding up traffic. Take the time to look in your rearview – if you see someone, move back into the right lane when it's safe so he or she can get around you.
Turn off Those Brights
Brights are great when driving on a dark road, but not so much when other drivers are coming towards you. They end up blinded momentarily as they try to adjust, and that can be dangerous. If you are approaching other cars, including coming up behind someone, turn the brights off to be considerate and safer.
While you might think the person in front of you is driving too slow, tailgating isn’t going to help you get anywhere any faster – especially in a traffic jam. Back off a bit and you won’t have to worry about adding to the congestion when you rear end the person in front of you.
Give a Wave
This might be old school, but you know that driver that just let you in because you’re in the wrong lane? A friendly, “thank you” wave goes a long way. It also works as an apology when you make a faux paus on the road.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Driving Etiquette and was authored by Valerie Johnston.