Roadshow: Honking at student drivers? Tailgating them? Really?

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Q Our 16-year-old daughter has her learner’s permit. To alert other drivers, I bought a “Student Driver” magnet that we affix to the back of the car she drives.

However, I’ve noticed an alarming and disturbing trend: Many drivers drive WORSE when they see a student driver magnet than if there is nothing on the back of the car. People cut her off, pass on the right, honk, and one lovely gentleman yelled an obscenity at my daughter for daring to slow down to turn with her signal on.

I’ve also noticed that when I drive that car with the magnet on it, people drive a lot worse than when I am driving my own magnet-less car.

C’mon, people. Grow some patience. It’s scary enough for a new driver on the roads out there without selfish, dangerous drivers surrounding them.

Karen Van Dyke

San Jose

A You are not the only mom upset at these impatient adults.

Q My son is learning to drive with a learner’s permit. He is a bit nervous, and impatient drivers make him more nervous.

Recently he has been honked at because he was going a few miles under the speed limit going into a turn. In one instance, a driver executed a very dangerous lane change in front of him during a left turn in a three-lane left turn that, frankly, stunned me. Just to gain a car length.

So, here is my advice to drivers on how to tell if the driver in front of you is going slowly just to annoy you and encounter your rage, or if the driver might just be learning, and you should cut him some slack:

Is it a solo driver? Maybe he’s seen something up ahead that you can’t see, because you are behind him. Give him space, and thank your lucky stars he’s driving safely.

Is it a driver with a passenger? Maybe the driver is just learning, and the passenger is teaching. While living in fear for her life.

Consider that every driver that has a passenger may be a teen learning to drive.

Thanks in advance for not honking.

Beth Limesand

Pleasanton

A Honking can scare a young driver and take their focus off mom or dad saying slow down, use your blinker and ignore that pushy tailgater.

Q I am a driving instructor in the East Bay, and even with the “student driver” decal on my car, my students are continually tailgated and cut off.

Everyone on the freeway and city streets needs to remember that they at one time were also learning to drive.

If drivers would follow the simple three-second rule, there would be much less braking and much safer driving conditions for all of us.

Susan Dunn

Danville

A Amen. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14- to 18-year-olds in the United States. Yet, a survey showed that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about driving.

Parents need to take time to discuss the many dangers of driving.

And to tell them to ignore the bad driving habits of nearby drivers.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Follow Gary at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.



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