Decoding Road Etiquettes: The Unspoken Road Rules

By Arup Das | on October 15, 2014

Driving ethics is all about ensuring that we commute safer and have a stress-free yet enjoyable drive. Also your correct way of driving may inspire fellow drivers and improve their driving style.

Driving etiquettes are a set of unspoken road rules, which are understood but with impatient drivers on the road and chaotic traffic conditions, we need to be model drivers and set the bar for quality and sensible driving style. It is all about making the road a lot more friendly place for both drivers and pedestrians. Here are some simple pointers that will make driving a pleasurable and a hassle-free experience.

Right lane is for overtaking

Sometimes sticking to the basics is the best solution. The right lane is for those who are in a hurry or need to overtake. There will be times, due to traffic problems, we will have to drive in the fast lane. This is acceptable as long we steer to the left lane once its clear. Remember to drive at a speed that you are comfortable at, so stick to the left lane and enjoy a relaxed drive.

Merging traffic ahead

Joining moving traffic can be tricky. While entering the merging lane, which leads you to the highway, start accelerating so that you can match up with the traffic’s speed. This way the other cars don’t get affected. Also check your outside rear view mirrors for on coming traffic.

If you are already on the expressway and you need to give way for someone entering the lane, then ease off the gas pedal and let him merge. This way there is no confusion created and everyone drives safely.


Avoid tailgating

This is a common mistake and we don’t even realise doing this. A simple three second distance or at least one car length distance between you and the car ahead gives you ample time to react if the driver in front reduces speed or steps on the brakes. Not only does this help prevent accidents, it gives others personal driving space. This is especially important during bad weather.

If you are being tailgated, don’t panic, just change lanes and let him pass by as soon as possible. If he continues to tailgate you even after you change lanes, then take the service lane and pull over.

Focus on the road

When you’re driving, your focus should be solely on the road and the driving conditions around you. If you need to make an important call, text or read a map, just pull over. Multitasking while driving is a strict no-no as it will only increase your chances of meeting with an accident.


Blinding lights

One of the most commonly misunderstood driving tools is the function of high beam. If you are driving on an unlit road, without any incoming traffic then the conditions are ideal to use high beam safely. If another car is coming from the opposite direction, please turn the lights to low beam because high beam will blind the other driver’s vision, which could lead to a fatal accident. Also running high beam while driving behind another vehicle will have a similar effect, only this time the car ahead will crash and you might end up rear-ending them. Either way, it’s a dangerous situation for everyone involved. If you are driving below 50 km/h or if there aren’t any vehicles less than 200 metres ahead of you, whether they are driving in the same direction as you or on the other side of the road, switch to high beam.

If a car is driving towards you with its high beam on, consider politely flashing your high beam a few times to remind them to switch theirs off. Do not use high beams when it is raining particularly heavily, or when there is thick fog in the air. This is because the high beam can reflect back in this sort of weather and actually make seeing even more difficult!


If you are driving and find yourself in a situation where the weather makes it very difficult to see, the best idea is to slow down and switch on your hazard lights they may make your car more visible to other drivers.

Pedestrians crossing

Slow down when you are reaching a pedestrian crossing and let people cross the road. It is just a matter of a couple of seconds, this way everyone is safe. Also try and avoid honking at the crossing.

Tags: Auto Guide

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