Introducing The Daily Driver

Drive Time!  Having retired from a satisfying career in law enforcement and currently working as a driving instructor, I'm taken aback by some of the bad - and dangerous - driving habits I see every day.

So I had an idea. My thought was to try to make our roads safer by keeping the public updated on driving laws and by sharing safe driving tips. My idea was to have potential and current drivers submit questions or observations that I would answer or comment on.

The Rockport Observer has afforded me the platform and opportunity to do this. Our goal is to work together and with the public to keep everyone more informed and more conscious of his or her driving habits. We hope to increase awareness of the fact that when you are driving a car, you are operating a machine, one that can change lives forever in the blink of an eye.

Mostly I teach new students, students who are still in high school, 15 1/2 years old and up. It is amazing to listen to the students, who are just learning the laws and the correct way to drive, relate to one another what they witness their parents doing while their parents are driving. These parents are unknowingly setting examples for our youngest and newest drivers. Remember that when you are driving with your kids in the car, they are watching and learning from you. If you are disobeying the laws or just being thoughtless and careless, they'll assume it must be okay. This assumption could prove dangerous for everyone.

A Pet Peeve

Sometimes it's the "littlest" things in life that bother one the most. Let's start with a pet peeve of mine: The good old turn signal, or should I say, the lack of use of the good old turn signal!

Every car manufactured has a simple way to activate the turn signal, so that a driver can let other drivers know what his intentions are. Most commonly, the turn signal lever is located on the left side of the steering column. Lift the lever upward, it indicates a right turn. Push the lever downward, it indicates a left turn. This seems like an easy procedure, but apparently it is not, to some drivers! The lack of use of the turn signal rates in the top five reasons for road rage, an area where none of us wants to tread.

Proper use of the turn signal is to activate it about 100 feet before the actual turn. Activating the turn signal too early may indicate to someone who might be waiting to enter the road that you will be turning before reaching them and they might pull out in front of you. (That's why you wait for commitments, which we'll talk about in a later column.) Activating the turn signal too late might not give drivers enough reaction time.  

Also, please be aware: Activating your turn signal to enter a turning lane, change lanes or enter a highway does not necessarily give you the right of way. How many times have you seen a driver activate his turn signal then immediately change course without yielding when needed? This could end up as a police report.

So let's all use our turn signals. Being considerate of one another is an important - and often overlooked - aspect of courteous driving.

Hopefully, as drivers, we can grow together with this column. Until next time, keep both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road!

Please submit your questions and observations to Dale through our website. Click on Submit a new story and choose the Category, Daily Driver.

Dale Drottar

Dale Drottar is retired from the Avon Lake Police Department. He is currently an instructor at a driving school located in Rocky River.

Read More on The Daily Driver
Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 1:44 PM, 03.04.2014