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April 19, 1999




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Etiquette lessons needed for rude, moronic drivers

H.G. Miller
Kansan staff columnist

millerI take it as a relatively simple understanding that most of the students attending this fine university do not actually live in Lawrence. Sure, most of you have gotten an apartment somewhere, or perhaps you´ve cozied up in one of the dorms for the semester, but you only reside here. This isn´t the place you call home.

No, Mom and Dad, or Uncle Bob, maybe your favorite teddy bear or the only dog you´ve ever really loved — they all exist in a world apart from Lawrence.

Sometimes, this separation warrants a deep need to visit the people we love and re-establish cherished, kindred relationships. Or maybe there´s just a huge party going on, and you want to impress all of your old high school chums with the hot freshman that you´ve connived into dating you.

Whatever the reason, you most likely will have to travel on highways to make this trek back to the homeland. Since I also make this routine trip, I would like to take a few moments and provide a quick refresher course on the finer points of highway etiquette.

  • Slower traffic to the right.

OK, this is not up for debate. I don´t know what it is that compels people to drive 55 in the left lane, while a line of angry drivers tails them within inches of the most massive pile up in recent decades, but stop it! Should you take a moment to glance in the rearview mirror and happen to see that somebody is approaching you rather rapidly, simply move over to the right lane, and a barrage of verbal attacks against you, your mother, and anybody who may have ever met you can be easily avoided.

  • Speed Limits.

I think it is the accepted philosophy of business travelers and highway patrolmen everywhere that the speed limit is to be exceeded by at least five miles an hour. Trust me, we´ll all be a lot happier if you just conform to this one little thing. I know it´s fun to push those pansy tendencies by “going at a safe speed,” but do it on some dirt road that I´m not driving on, OK?

Remember, it´s only called speeding if they catch you. Otherwise, you´re just making good time.

  • Passing.

I don´t mind being passed. I really don´t. Years of failed relationships have erased any sense of manhood I once possessed. All I ask is that you maintain your driving speed after passing me. I do not enjoy playing leapfrog at 80 miles an hour when I could be doing something useful such as reading my map.

  • Changing lanes.

Occasionally, while traveling, you may find yourself driving through a busy section of a large city. For some reason, a sudden plethora of lanes all going in the same direction confuses many drivers and compels them to swerve and sway from lane to lane without employing the proper ritualistic practices.

I´m talking about turn signals here, people!

Although my particular religious beliefs do not need to be voiced here, I would like to state that I am a strong believer in the turn signal and its benefits for all of mankind. I am not clairvoyant, and when people decide to move to a lane that they think will get them to their destination that much faster, I would like some kind of fair warning, so as not to become acquainted with them in the first name, last name, insurance policy number kind of way.

  • Personal Hygiene.

I´m sure that it has happened somewhere, but the chances of actually meeting the man or woman of your dreams while cruising along at breakneck speeds is rather unlikely and, in my opinion, should be left up to fate anyway. Thus, any cosmetic adjustments such as make-up or hair that you feel need to be attended to can wait.

  • Flying objects.

Because of the advance of capitalism in this country, I would estimate that there is at least one gas station with trash receptacles for every 10 miles of highway, so that paper cup from Hardees can remain inside the car until you reach the next one.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Miller is a Hutchinson senior in English.



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