Let’s give courtesy a spin

Now that it’s vacation season, Americans will spend more time than ever in their vehicles, which is saying something.

As we head out on our adventures, it’s good to review some rules of the road, some of which are actual laws. Let’s put consideration into gear and see where we go.

•Gas is expensive and pollutes. And yet people sit in their idling vehicles everywhere. Or leave them unattended.

A woman in Everett recently pulled up in front of a bank and left her car running as she used the ATM. She looked back every few seconds to check on her car. Yes, someone might steal your running car while you get cash. So go ahead and turn the vehicle off. It’s not like we have to crank them up to get them started these days.

Similarly, it actually makes sense to park your vehicle, turn it off, and go inside an establishment rather than sit in a multiple-cars-long drive through to get your coffee, fast food, or prescriptions. If you insist on sitting in a line that is going nowhere fast, it also makes sense to turn your vehicle off, but no one does.

•Don’t stop with “defensive” driving. When sitting in your car on the side of the street, (idling or not) it makes sense to check for oncoming traffic before swinging your door open. (And then leaving it open as you obliviously do whatever.) Yes, it’s the driver’s job to look out for you, but you have to assume they don’t see you as they text. It’s worth your life to take a quick look before opening your car door.

When you smoke, use your cell phone and try to drive at the same time, there’s a reason why another motorist is riding too close to your bumper. You are going 5 mph.

When someone stops at a 4-way stop and then they glance at you in your car, do not assume they are looking for you to tell them what to do, via hand-waving and gesturing. They are just looking to see if you are going to go if it is your turn, or not go, if it is their turn. Quite often, the hand-wavers arrived first, but insist it’s your turn. Chances are, they are on the phone.

There’s likely a psychological or sociological explanation as to why, when entering a fairly empty parking lot, some people insist on parking next to another car. Sometimes very closely. Which only invites door “dings.” Regardless of the reason, it sure is annoying. If there’s room, why not enjoy a little bit of space between vehicles?

Everyone is just trying to get somewhere. Acting like you’re the only one is selfish and dangerous.

The only people sanctioned to race like it’s an emergency are emergency responders. And it’s the law that everyone is supposed to pull over to the right to let them pass.