We've written a story before about why it's improtant to look ahead of where you're going when you get behind the wheel. We reasoned that it allows you to predict the road conditions ahead and prepare accordingly. This time, we're going to explore why it's just as vital to be aware of what's going on behind you and to routinely check your rear-view and side mirrors. A few reasons why include:
* You can watch for other vehicles before you make your move. Before you change lanes or make a turn, you should always watch for vehicles coming up from behind. When changing lanes, a quick shoulder check helps as well.
* You can react to emergencies quicker. If you see an ambulance or police car far behind you with their sirens on, you can make way for them sooner and leave a clear path.
* You can avoid those tailgating idiots. It'd be great to teach them a lesson, but they're not worth the cost of getting your rear bumper fixed. When you spot these guys behind you, you'll know not to slam the brakes too quickly.
Now, we've all come across those drivers who are unaware of the cars behind them. A dead giveaway is when they putter along at a snail's pace even when the road ahead of them is clear. They fail to notice the build-up they're causing. It should go without saying, but the road belongs to everyone, so this practice means you're being selfish.
Here are some common reasons why drivers do this:
* They're waiting to pick up a passenger somewhere. You can drive around in circles all you want, but it becomes a problem for other motorists when you take up a whole lane and drive at a snail's place. You're holding up traffic, dude. Find a place to park or pull over where you're not obstructing the road. Oh, the mall guard won't let you? Sorry, but that's still not a valid excuse.
* They're a taxi/jeepney/UV Express looking for passengers. Again, the road is for everyone, so just because you're doing your job doesn't mean you get to prevent others from going to theirs. Even worse is when they stop in the middle of the road so their passengers can get in and out. Not cool.
* They're distracted by something other than driving. Whoever you're texting can wait until you get a chance to pull over. Until then, keep driving.
So you see, unless you're driving slowly for a legitimate reason (e.g. your car is being towed or you've suffered a mechanical problem), there's really no excuse for driving below an acceptable speed. Traffic barely flows as it is during rush hour, so why would you drive slowly when the road is actually free? Sometimes, it pays to look behind you. Drive safely!