Q Despite trying my best to be courteous on the road, once in a while, I do find myself having done something wrong like cutting someone off. Is there a universally understood sign to signal to the other driver that I realize I messed up and that I am sorry?
A The National Motorists Association recommends that you hold two fingers in a “V” position with your palm out to convey an apology. I’m not sure that would be clear to me and I fear that raising a finger or two could be taken the wrong way. On the very few occasions where I’ve needed to apologize, I simply frown and mouth the word “sorry.” A friendly wave can also signal regret (as well as thanks).
Bill-the-AARP-Training-Guy often would take one hand, slap his head and say out loud: “Sorry, but I’m old.” He said it worked.
Q The horn is outdated! Automakers have ignored this dinosaur car part for too long. We need buttons in the middle of the steering wheel with presets, blasting out from engine compartment speaker:
1: Excuse me.
2: Sorry, my fault.
3: Hey, please be careful!
4: I’m calling 911.
A And …
Q I was heading north on Highway 85 in the carpool lane when out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone shaking, seemingly uncontrollably. I quickly realized that his spastic hand gestures and the presumably vile words that he was mouthing at me were due to him believing I was riding solo in the carpool lane.
Of course, I’m no carpool cheat. My 3-year-old was safely strapped in his car seat in the back. I drove on hoping my impressionable child doesn’t start making obscene hand gesture at innocent people.
My question: How often does this happen? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid it?
A Get a “Kid On Board” bumper sticker perhaps?
Q So many times I have moved into the fast lane, only the driver ahead of me is poking along at 55 mph and holding up traffic. How do I get them to either speed up or move into a slower lane?
A Try turning your left directional light on and off, four to six blinks at a time. If the road boulder does not respond, briefly flash your headlights. And if that doesn’t word, back off and move right when safe to do so and then pass.
Now, to the best way to signal another driver.
Q You have touched base on the importance of using blinkers in the past, but I feel people need a few reminders about them. I live in Stockton and work in Union City, and I commute four days a week. So I see a lot of “wonderful” drivers. Please do not honk, gesture inappropriately or get very close to me because I did not let you into my lane. If you use your blinker I will gladly free up some space for you. As I would hope everyone would do when possible.
But I am not a mind reader. If I can’t see a clear indication that you need to change lanes (your blinker!), how am I supposed to know to give you space?
A Send me your address and I’ll send you a Roadshow bumper sticker that says, “Be a thinker. Use your blinker.”