How do you drive, now that you carry.
I still poke around a lot at packing.org, but don't post there anymore. What never ceases to amaze me is the number of folks that post in the "Encounters with LEO's" section of "Gun talk." Many of the folks recount stories of encounters with police officers during traffic stops. When I read these stories I always ask myself first, "what was the poster doing to attract the attention of the officer in the first place?"
We all agree that carrying a weapon includes quite a bit of responsibility. Driving a car carries no less, specially while carrying. How many of us routinely exceed the speed limit, tailgate (whether intentional or not), and drive in the left hand lane when we are not passing? Now I don't want to give the impression that I am a "goody two shoes", but as a former California Highway Patrolman, and as someone who has been driving for almost 34 years, I have seen a lot of accidents, and "road rage" incidents that could have been prevented by drivers exercising good judgement and a little courtesy.
In this post I am going to touch on some of my pet peaves, and on some simple methods to lessen your chance of adversely encountering a police officer while driving or being involved in a "road rage" incident, and maximize your chance of arriving at your destination alive, with a lower stress level to boot.
- Stay to the right - with the exceptions of passing extremely slow traffic, or exiting (or turning) to the left there is absolutely no reason that anyone should be travelling in the left hand lane.
- Keep a safe distance - if you fantasize about drafting in a NASCAR race during your morning comute, you do not belong on the road. Reaction time decreases the closer you are to the vehicle in front of you.
- Red lights mean STOP, not "stop and then creep into the intersection to try to get a jump on the light."
- Travel at or below, yes "below" the posted speed limit. - Posted speed limits are MAXIMUMs, so don't get aggravated when someone in front of you isn't doing "at least" the speed limit. As a society, Americans are in entirely too much of a hurry. In 2003 the average commute in this country was 24 minutes, at a speed of 65mph this works out to be approximately 26 miles. At 75MPH that commute is only reduced to 21 minutes over the same distance. Is it really worth it? Specially with the price of fuel today.
- Don't squeeze folks out who are trying to change lanes. There is absolutely NO good reason to do this. I know that NASCAR is popular, and alot of folks can't separate fantasy from reality, but this isn't a race, it's a commute. Besides that "squeezing" contributes to other bad behavior like unsafe lane changing, and tailgating. The idea of a commute is to arrive at your destination alive, not see how much excitement you can generate on the way in.
- If you are exiting the highway, don't cut someone off or get in front of entering traffic while doing it. This just asking for trouble, specially since the driver entering the highway should be checking over their shoulder before merging and may not see the car that has cut in front of them. At highway speeds this is a recipe for disaster.
In addition to exercising caution and courtesy on the road in the interest of safe driving. It is the opinion of a lot of CCWers that we are among "the most law-abiding" citizens. Shouldn't we that consider ourselves the "sheepdogs" of our society be acting on their (and our) best interest on the road as well.
Try these techniques consciously for a week, see if your ride in isn't a little more pleasant. You'll get to see how foolish other drivers look (and by extension those of us that act the same), and you may even save a little gas at the same time.
Above all, keep your head. Specially if you have ready access to a weapon. You don't want to be busted for brandishing, and you don't want to take the chance that the other guy isn't armed as well.
I've traveled every road in this here land...
Well I drive a lot, I mean alot. I maintain several private radio systems for local municipalities all the way up to the Federal Government. I drive up to 3000 miles a month, and I can honestly say that I drive the same wether I'm carrying or not, due to my high rate of travel I figure I'm more likely to be in an accident, my shop averages 1 accident (some minor) every six months. Granted not all are our fault, most actually aren't. Anyway the vehicle is a more dangerous weapon than a pistol, almost every family has atleast 1 automobile, and like a pistol or any other firearm it the vehicle is misused, used by someone with substandard training, or worst yet someone with no regard to the law...someone will die. I attempt to stay on the right side of the traffic laws, every now and then I speed (who doesn't?) we're all human.
My father was a traffic cop for many years and I've always treated a vehicle as a potential weapon, and have always strived not to misuse it. Hopefully all of us here do the same.