Dear American drivers,

My heart goes out to you.  You have a huge country, millions miles of road, no public transportation system to speak of, you drive since the age of 16 and yet, nobody has ever bothered to teach you even the basics of driving.  This is very unfair to you and it turns your otherwise mostly decent roads into a total nightmare.  So let me help you out here with a few simple words of advice:

1) The left lane is not the “here I can text safely lane”.  It is a *passing* lane.  It is so called because it is designed to allow faster moving cars to pass slower traffic.  And no, this is not the “I will enforce the speed limit by blocking faster drivers” lane either.  Let the cops enforce speed limits.  Your job is to pass, and then get back into the right lane.  Also, if you pass a car excruciatingly slowly, ask yourself if that really is necessary.  If yes, then, by all means, go ahead, but if you see a faster vehicle catching up, gently step on your brake and get back into the right lane, or accelerate.  But please, don’t take 20min to pass a car going 0.00001 mph slower than you.

2) When you see a car signaling with its blinker that it intends to go into the right lane to pass, do not accelerate.  Believe it or not, the point of the blinker is to ask you to slow down and let the other guy in.  Yes, that can be irritating, but it is safer than slamming on the gas pedal and try to “just squeeze in first”.  You know why?  Because every driver behind you will do the same and, as a result, the signaling car will never be able to pass.

3) At a red light.  No, it is not “cool” to leave 20-30 yards between you and the car in front of you because “you are in no hurry”.  It is good that you are not in a hurry, but folks behind you also need to squeeze in.  Believe it or not, you are not alone on the road.

4) At a stop sign.  No, you do not need to wait for God knows how long until the other car stops.  Get to the stop sign, make a full stop, and then immediately move forward and cross without waiting for the other guy, who is still far way, to stop.  The stop sign is called “stop sign” because you stop.  Not because you wait for the other guy to stop.

5) I know that your huge, overweight SUV and trucks are terrible to drive, I feel for you.  But that is not a reason to begin brakeing 500 yards before taking a turn into a driveway.  Let me give you a trick here: even with your immense machine it is fairly safe to brake while going straight.  So decelerate without fearing to skid off the curve and then turn.  When this technique is applied even your morbidly obese trucks will be able to safely turn into a driveway.

6) Speaking of turns.  Your cars, SUV and truck are not semi-trailers.  You do not need to go as far left as you can before turning right.

7) Entering a highway.  If you think that by entering the highway slow, reaaaaalllly slow, you are making it safer – you are mistaken.  The bigger the speed difference between you and the cars on the highway, the more dangerous your situation becomes.  Try entering the highway at about the speed limit.

8) At a red light.  The road is not a mini-NASCAR race. If there is a car already standing in the right lane you do not have to go into the left lane to be in the “pole position”, especially not if you intend to then start texting or engage in a deep cleaning of your nose.  If you really have to be in the left lane, at least have the courtesy to accelerate when the light turns green and move into the right lane as soon as possible.

9) Driving your Harley.  Setting aside that driving this heap of metal makes you look infantile, insecure and plain dumb, what makes it all worse is when you feel like you have to drive below the speed limit “kuz you are cool”.  The best thing to do is sell the bike ASAP (along with a ton or so of the obligatory Harley merchandise) and get yourself a real bike (say, a BMW)  or, better, a car.  But if you have to drive your Harley, then at least try not to be acting like you are looking for negative attention.  Just display a huge over-sized US flag and one for the POW and you will have done enough for everybody to “get it”, trust me.  You patriotism will never be questioned.

10) Life in the USA can be tough, I know that myself, and Americans are often exhausted.  So I cannot blame you for sleeping at the red light.  However, when somebody tries to wake you up, and thereby get you closer to your dinner and a comfy bed, please consider other replies than a thunderous “f*ck you!!” followed by a display of your middle finger.

That’s it dear American driver.  I know that this is a lot to process, but it is well worth it for as long as you will keep driving the way you do, you will continue to turn your roads into a dangerous and frustrating version of hell on earth.  So please, just try to learn how to drive.

Thanks for your time and good luck on the road!

The Saker

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world