questionsdo you say thanks while driving?

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I always try to say thank you, either a wave or a nod. People don't have to be nice, I'm hoping that positive response encourages them (and me) to try it more often. More than once a simple act of kindness has changed my early morning, late to work, ftw attitude.

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Yes, if the person deserves it. I also give the single-finger salute when appropriate.

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I wave...using all my fingers. Flash my lights at night.

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I wave, but I live in Dallas where there aren't many opportunities to be appreciative.

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Always go out of my way to display "thanks". It's the least you can do for someone inconveniencing themselves for my benefit. And it's the right this to do!

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I always do, but it seems less and less other people do.

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@mtm2 lashing lights hereabouts means "go ahead" at an intersection or "your damn lights are off you dope" anywhere else.

Driving-thanks is always a wave from me, but there's no waving actually involved. It's more of a, "Here's what my palm looks like, in case you were curious, friendly stranger!"

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I always wave for thanks. I hate when I don't get one for letting people in.

I don't mind letting people in most of the time if you are cool about it. Use your signal and don't force your way. If I see you trying to edge a bumper in like an a-hole I tend to pull up and close that gap. Had they have signaled and waited then I would have no problem letting them over.

Bottom line, don't be a dick and wave thanks.

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In South Florida, it is by not shooting at them. We see more one-finger salutes than anything here, and few people are appreciative of any favor. It's as if they expect you to genuflect to them. (Flashing lights here mean they are going first!)

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Yes, it's only polite. Also, I now have to cross a busy street on foot at an unregulated intersection to get to and from my car to my office. About half the time the traffic is slow enough for me to walk across safely. The other half it's too busy for both directions to ever clear at once, so I walk halfway across with the intention of standing on the yellow line to wait for the other side to clear. But most of the time the oncoming drivers on the other side slow dramatically or stop to permit me to cross the rest of the way. I always hurry my steps and wave thanks as I pass them. Also often when I am walking my dog and I am waiting at a corner to cross a street, cars will stop to let me cross even though they don't have a stop sign. I always thank them. Most drivers here are nice (when they aren't on their cell phones, and a hazard when they are).

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Yep I wave if they were nice, but curse them in my car if they let out so many people it holds me up for a minute lol..

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I'll say, "Thanks" and appreciate it when I'm thanked after I let someone go (not abruptly cut off by someone on their phone).

Know what else is great? When someone admits their fault and says, "Sorry."

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I let people in that were waiting there before me. I do get a little grumpy when they don't say thanks somehow. I don't think it's about wanting that credit, but instead wanting someone to acknowledge that someone, maybe not me, but someone helped them when they needed it.

On a side note I hate when someone puts on there turn signal and drives slowly waiting to be let into 70mph traffic. Sometimes you have to help yourself.

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@lotsofgoats: My reference was after someone allowed me to do something or thanked me.

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@justagigilo85: Most times saying sorry gets you nothing more than a middle finger and some curse words. I usually don't acknowledge mine or others mistakes just to avoid the jerks. Which most drivers on my evening commute have become.

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I had been flashing the Peace Sign (2 fingers in a V shape for you youngsters) but then a friend told me she thought I was flipping her off...I think it depends on the angle of my hand as to how many digits you actually see...so I've stopped doing that.

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Yes, I do.
Even when I do a d**k move (it happens).

@hot72chev: Peace sign is equivalent to the finger in other countries. It's effectively saying "I win, you lose" (V for victory)

j5 j5
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I try to always wave, cause it's nice of people to let you in, especially when you are trying to leave an event and it will add some time to their waiting(and several lines are merging). At times when no one will let me in, I wave beforehand, and they let me in. Sounds devious, but it also happens to me so I make sure to let that person in.:)

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@nmchapma: To be fair, this happened on my day off at around 1 pm. XD

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I'll be the weird one. No, you don't have to let someone into a lane when they're trying to merge. Yes, I try to when the person is not being pushy. But I also don't believe in hand signals through a windshield of any kind - whether thankful, positive or informative.

I feel like, on some level, it's rude to look through someone else's windows. I'm probably alone on this. Kind of like standing in front of someone's house and staring in. So if someone expects me to look inside and see that they're waving me through and violating right-of-way even in a polite way (like people who don't know how to handle a 4-way stop sign), I'm still a bit annoyed. I'd rather people just go in turn at a 4-way stop and pay attention.

Being kind to merging traffic should just be a thankless job - lest we have more distracted drivers and hands off the wheel.

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@omnichad: I couldn't disagree more. I feel making visual and sometimes eye contact with other drivers is essential to driving safely, particularly in merging traffic or at multi-way stop signs. I also think it's an important safety tactic to observe if the drivers around you are distracted: talking on the phone, in an overly animated discussion with a passenger, messing with their radio or other items in their car, turned around looking at kids or pets in the back seat, texting, applying makeup, reading the paper, watching the DVD player, fornicating or just asleep at the wheel. I don't consider the interior of a car to be analogous to the inside of a home, but more like a person walking on the sidewalk or in a store. We are in shared public space and need to make observations about one another for safety and courtesy.

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Always wave and nod and say "thank you!" whenever someone lets me in. It's a simple courtesy for them to give me a break, and I want to let them know I appreciate it. I also want to encourage them to continue that courtesy, and an acknowledgement from me is a little reward to them.

Although it wasn't asked, I always try to practice the 'each car lets one car into the line' policy.

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@wickedd365: Your answer was similar, but much better, than mine!

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@olperfesser: I used to live in Plantation and worked in downtown Miami. I've lived and/or driven in a couple dozen states, and I've never run into more rude, crazy, reckless drivers than I did in South Florida. Trying to exit my parking garage in Miami at 5:05pm would often result in a 3-5 minute wait for someone to let me out; most folks studiously avoided any kind of eye contact, staring resolutely ahead and ignoring anything other than the car ahead of them.

I moved to New Jersey immediately after the Plantation stint, and even the often-maligned NJ drivers were more courteous than those in South Florida.

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@moondrake: Too many details. Too much for my brain to handle anyway. I have to treat a car as a whole unit to keep track of more cars at a time. But I can almost always spot a distracted or aggressive driver just by simple little movements or behavior. But if someone's trying to communicate with me from inside their car without a horn, I'm not going to have a clue. It takes too much of my attention away from driving to try and notice.

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I never really thought about it but I suppose I do. I also say a lot of not so nice things when I'm driving.

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@omnichad: Many driving rules and regulations as well as current roadway designs are connected to your ability to communicate with other drivers through eye contact. For example, three or four way stops, pedestrian crossing areas, and often U-turn situations. Police often communicate with other drivers this way as well.

Whether you are saying thanks or not it's expected that you be able to drive safely while communicating with drivers around you.

My basis/qualifications for making this statement is that I am a roadway engineer for a major transportation design firm and this is often a point to consider.

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@moondrake: I've seen pictures of how BIG your dog is. If I were driving, I would stop and let him cross in front of me anytime HE wants to. (I would let you cross, too) :)

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Unless they clearly did not want to help and I had to force my way in, I will always do a small wave. Did it just this morning actually; merging onto a local state highway.

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@nmchapma: Four way stop? First in, first out. In conflict, the person on the right goes first. If super-conflict (more than 2 cars) then communication is usually by a careful pull-out. I'm basing this on Illinois driving law, but assume it's identical most places. I know of no gestures that are universally understood for such a situation.

What more communication could there possibly be?

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@magic cave:
"Although it wasn't asked, I always try to practice the 'each car lets one car into the line' policy."

I hope that doesn't mean you're one of those who reward aggressive drivers in construction zones. That is, the lane is ending, there's signs for 2 miles, but they go until the lane ends at max speed and then expect to be let in ahead of the pack. They should just be forced to sit there all day waiting, in my opinion.

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@omnichad: this is a gross over simplification. Set rules, like first come first serve, are often idealistic but not representative of the way actual driving works.

Eye contact can do so many things for drivers and pedestrians. It can ask question "are you stopping for me to cross?" at a four way stop it can confirm your intended movement of going straight (which the lack of a turn signal does not always do). It can help someone into a lane they intended to be in but got mixed up and missed it (family vacation fun), this avoids the situation where they sit and hold up everyone behind them. Maybe it shouldn't happen, but it does and it is not illegal. A little driver communication can make a big difference. Refusing or ignoring such communication often leads to problems like @magic cave: 's driveway issue. Like it not driving is something we all do as a group and communication makes everything easier.

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@omnichad: flashing your lights a a four-way stop at night seems to universally mean "you go first". doesn't it?

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@nmchapma: Also, not everyone really knows the rules of the road. I have had more than one person tell me in complete confidence that drivers going straight have right-of-way over drivers that are turning at a four way stop, regardless of arrival order. I also recently had an argument with a friend who believed that the left-turn arrow gave him right-of-way across all three lanes of the road we were turning onto, and he almost hit a car that was turning right from the opposing street into the lane adjoining theirs. He completely did not buy that the turn light allowed him only to turn into the lane corresponding to his, and to move across the other lanes required him to follow normal lane-changing rules.

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@nmchapma: No. I've never seen or done that. And if someone flashed headlights at me at night, I would be quite angry.

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@nmchapma: Gross oversimplification? The only reason that ever doesn't work is because people somehow got a license without knowing any rules. You can't account for people who ignore all the rules. You just can't.

In @magic cave's issue, hand/eye communication is not needed. Everyone who's paying attention can see that someone needs to get out and it's impossible to solve with right-of-way alone. If several people in front of you did not let them in, you can let them in without any hand communication needed. The vehicle clearly stopping to allow them in is communication enough. Just think of you car as giant hands or eyes if you must.

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@magic cave: You've been mentioned a couple of times above and weren't notified. :)

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@olperfesser: When I lived in Miami, a friend broke her middle finger. The big joke was that she couldn't drive there without it.

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@omnichad: I used to be annoyed with drivers who'd dash to the end of their disappearing lane and then expect to be let in, as if their time was more valuable than mine.

Then I read a traffic study on exactly that issue, which said it was a better use of the road structure and ultimately made for shorter delays if both lanes filled and then drivers in each lane alternated in driving through the bottleneck.

The dilemma, of course, is that many drivers won't to the take-turns thing to funnel through the blockage, but I can't take responsibility for their actions. I can make sure my own actions will help the situation as much as possible, though, so yes, I let cars in even if they've sped ahead.

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@omnichad: Once again, you seem to have bad information. In Florida, a four-way stop is regulated by law; there's nothing haphazard about it nor does it depend on carefully assessing who's brave enough to pull through the intersection.

Whatever car reaches the intersection first has first right of way, and after that the next car to its right, and then the next to that car's right.

It's seldom safe to assume every state follows your interpretation of your own state's laws.

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@countdown: "Unless they clearly did not want to help and I had to force my way in, I will always do a small wave."

I especially like to wave - and smile - in that situation. It amuses me, and I hope it confuses and annoys them.

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@magic cave:

http://law.onecle.com/florida/motor-vehicles/316.123.html

The first person who reaches the intersection has the right of way. After that, the next person to reach the intersection has the right of way. But if 4 people arrive at the stop sign in sequence (none at the same time), then the first in is the first out.

IF, and only if, two or more cars arrive at the same time, the car to the right has the right of way. Always the one to the right that goes first. The one to the left yields. Same as Illinois. Apparently nobody knows the rules after all.

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@omnichad: Yes we get it, you can qoute rules but you have little to no real information on the formulation or reasoning behind them.

My company is based in Florida, I'm well aware of the traffic rules and design regulations in that state. I'm also well aware of a book called "A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" 2011, 6th edition printed by AASHTO and the Highway Capacity Manual 2010, printed by TRB. Both of these govern the design of roadways, intersections, and interchanges. Both of these books use driver communication to base design rules. You may not like it, you may not agree with the thousands of studies listed in these texts, or the regulations and designs they influence but they exist for a reason. It seems like a better idea to drive in a way that takes that into consideration. If you'd like a more presice passage I'd be happy to supply it. for now just check out 9-1 in the green book and vol. 3 of the HCM.

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@nmchapma: Just because that kind of visibility is there doesn't mean it's needed 99.9% of the time. You talk as if some secret sign language or sequence of flashing lights should somehow generally supersede the rule. And that this is what someone should be using primarily.

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I wave if someone is nice and lets me in. It's polite to say thank you when someone is nice.

I also follow letting one car to move into my lane in front of me in backed up traffic when people need to merge over.

I do not allow cars to merge into my lane if they have driven up in an open lane that has been clearly marked to be ending. My feeling is queue up like the rest of us.

I hate when someone lets in cars at a traffic light that is green taking up valuable seconds of green light time, meaning that the cars behind them do not make the light because they were "nice." People will let cars in when traffic is stopped on red. Green means go.

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@omnichad: I am not telling you to disregarde the rules because you can make elaborate hand signals and stare down other drivers. I am telling you that communication between drivers is a positive thing. You can set up rules for the road, most of the time thats enough. But it is certainly on a daily basis that drivers come upon instances for which there are no rules. When you're merging into traffic I can leave a gap for you but if it's small and you can't completely see me you have no idea if I really plan to let you in or if I'm going to close that gap never really having intended it for your use. You then hit the brakes and wait, backing up traffic behind you. But if I wave you into traffic, you are sure of my intensions and are not having to make that judgement call and the flow of traffic is not impeded. Am I correct to assume that you would ignore that wave and not make the move? If you see me, make the move and give no thanks, you communicated, you just didn't say thanks :-)

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@hessem: I understand wanting everyone to wait their turn but that que is not best for traffic flow. Traffic as a whole flows quicker if vehicles are equally distrubuted until the bottleneck. Driving for the group instead of the individual could say us a lot of time spent in traffic, it's just not our nature to do so. We all want to win, and are stuck to a first come first serve, fair is fair attitude. I'm often guilty of the same, even though I know it's not best for traffic :-/

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@omnichad: Sorry, no, it's not the same as Illinois, unless you totally misstated the Illinois law. You said, "If super-conflict (more than 2 cars) then communication is usually by a careful pull-out." Do you see any such language in the Florida statute you cited?

In 50 years of driving, nearly all of it in Florida, I have never encountered a situation in which more than two cars arrive at a four-way stop simultaneously, and it's a rareity that even two cars arrive at the same time. My description of proper handling of traffic at a four-way stop reflects reality and is, in fact, in concurrence with the Florida law.

[continued]

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[continued]

You've argued with everyone here that your way of driving is the only correct way there is, even in response to at least one expert in the field. It's painfully evident that you've marked your line in the sand and will defend it no matter what. That's fine with me.

You started this conversation by saying, "I'll be the weird one." and then said, "Too much for my brain to handle anyway." I'm happy to let your self-descriptions stand as accurate. This will be my last response to you

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@nmchapma: I doubt it makes much difference at all in the overall traffic pattern as the same number of cars are squeezing into the same number of lanes. What difference does it make whether the car merges in early or late? The same number of cars still merge in. If it makes a difference it's nominal.

My attitude has nothing to do with "winning on the road." It has to do with my willingness to queue up and not considering myself deserving of privilege. I don't understand the mentality that someone else thinks where they have to go is so much more important and thus they don't have to wait in a long line and get to cut in. I don't like people who cut in line at stores, etc. either. I'm polite, and patient and wait my turn. I'm not going to accommodate those who think they are special.