1: THE REAR WINDSHIELD CHECKER
These heroes of the highway risk life and limb as they drive up behind you, sometimes close enough to kiss bumpers, just so they can check your rear window for cracks in the glass. It doesn’t matter whether you’re tootling down a side road or doing 65(ish) on the interstate, come rain or shine, they have a job to do, and they’re jolly well going to do it.
2: THE ENTERTAINER
These folks share their love of music with everyone. Time spent waiting at the lights simply flies by when an Entertainer pulls up alongside. Who can resist bopping along to the thunderous (yet strangely muffled) boom, thrap, thrap, boom, boom, thrappy-thrap emanating from the bowels of a neighboring car?
3: THE SWINGER (aka THE TEASE)
Driving for miles down the same road gets pretty boring, but not if there’s a Swinger around. Always ready to keep you from getting complacent, these selfless drivers slip in and out of lanes, often into gaps no sane person would attempt, just so the folks around them keep their attention focused on driving safely.
A good swinger rarely uses the indicator, unless it’s to signal right before a sudden swing to the left. The real experts keep everyone on their toes with their party trick, The Houdini. One moment they're overtaking you on the outside lane, next thing you know, they've cut across in front of you and the two, three, even four, other lanes to make their exit in the nick of time.
4: THE TARMAC TESTER
Whenever lanes merge, you’ll find a Tarmac Tester. Instead of getting in line with the rest of us, these often-misunderstood drivers stay on the closing lane, testing the road surface to make sure it’s okay for those who might come after. Ever humble, ever shy, Tarmac Testers want no praise or thanks. They keep their gaze fixed on the road ahead as they drive all the way up to the merge point, not wanting to risk catching the eye of the grateful drivers they pass by, in case they offer praise.
5: THE ROSE SMELLER
In an effort to help less-enlightened road users, these gentle souls take to the outside lane at ten mph below the speed limit. Why? Because they want remind to us life is about the journey, not the destination.
6: THE PITCHER
Waiting to pull out onto a main road, it’s tempting to edge out across the line. Pitchers know this. They recognize the potential danger we might put ourselves in. To help folks resist this dangerous urge, they abandon the near 90-degree turn favored by most drivers making a left (or, right if driving in the UK), opting instead for a gentle curveball approach.
Good Pitchers will start their turn as much as fifty yards early, so their vehicle cuts across both lanes of the side road they enter. This causes any driver waiting to join the main road to reverse to safety at high speed, thereby saving them from a potential worse fate.
7: THE GAME SHOW CONTESTANT
Five cars, six, it doesn’t matter how far back this driver sits, the Game Show Contestant waits, hand poised over the steering column, ready to toot the buzzer the instant the light goes green, just in case the driver at the front of the line didn’t notice.
8: THE MULTI-TASKER
Multi-Taskers perform one of the most unappreciated services to road users. With nerves of steel, they venture into rush hour traffic, drifting first one way, then the other, all the while pretending they’re too busy texting, eating a sandwich, reading a newspaper (and/or any of a hundred other little distractions available to drivers in this hi-tech age) to notice they’re now straddling two lanes on the interstate. Why do they risk their lives this way? Their selfless actions are made with our well-being in mind. In the spirit of 'Show, don't tell,' the Multi-Tasker wants to remind other drivers about the danger of driving without focusing on the road ahead.
9: THE TEACHER
Like their counterparts in the classroom, Teacher drivers have a compulsion to help others. No matter how busy they are, they’re always willing to take time out to let fellow road-users know where they went wrong. As if these selfless acts weren’t enough in themselves, they usually impart their knowledge in the form of a loud, verbal critique, complete with accompanying hand gestures for the hard of hearing, so nearby drivers might also benefit from their wisdomous words.
I left #10 blank, what type of helpful driver would YOU add to the list?
If you enjoyed this, you might also like A HANDY GUIDE TO HUMAN HANDSHAKES