Stopped-in-Traffic Etiquette 101
By David Menzies for MSN Autos
Is it just me or do you get the feeling the folks running driving academies should introduce a new component to their learning planner that will accompany such du rigueur lessons as the art of parallel parking and how-to-merge? What I’m getting at here is this: what exactly is one supposed to do in order to pass the time away while mired in traffic waiting for the light to turn green?
Full disclosure: I’m a Curious George kind of guy. I like to look around, survey the landscape, check out the scenery – including other drivers. Apparently, this seems to be a no-no in the etiquette department, at least it is judging by the brief stares of contempt that are shot my way whenever eye contact is established.
So I’m going out on a limb here and surmising that when it comes to being all revved up with no place to go, apparently immobile vehicle etiquette dictates the same sort of behavior as elevator etiquette: namely, keep those peepers focussed straight ahead. And don’t say a word.
However, aside from the vast majority of people who indeed simply stare straight-ahead zombie-style, there are two subsets of drivers who make use of the downtime in other ways:
Subset 1: Some drivers clearly focus their gaze downward, as if admiring a belt buckle. They’re not doing that, of course. Rather, despite living in a jurisdiction that prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving, clearly this legislation is being respected to the same degree as the law that requires motorists to signal lane changes.
Subset 2: What is it about being stuck in traffic that makes certain motorists believe their car is factory-equipped with a Romulan Cloaking Device? I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve witnessed a finger plunge into a nostril to carry out some impromptu excavation of mucous. If you are among this camp of drivers, for the love of God: STOP IT! Just because you’re immobile does not mean you’re invisible!
Then again, if I wasn’t being such a Nosey Parker I would never witness such odious behaviour to begin with. Hmmm ... come to think of it, perhaps there is a good reason why we should all just keep our eyes fixated on the rear bumper dead ahead...