JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Simply being polite plays an essential role in defensive driving. It also cuts down on citations and road rage incidents. From roundabouts to blinding high beams, we can all get mad in a hurry out there on the road, but that really doesn’t do anybody any good.
Roundabouts are relatively new things in Mississippi, but they’re quickly rising up the annoyance barometer.
McLaurin Driver’s Ed. Instructor Jeff Walker makes roundabouts part of his class.
He says, “It’s difficult. It’s something that the kids have never done before and when I take them on the first time, it’s all new to them.”
Yet, many seasoned drivers are *still* doing it wrong.
We asked Sgt. Kervin Stewart with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, “What about those people that are in the inside lane and like to cut all the over to get to their exit to get off of it?”
Sgt. Stewart responded, “That is reckless driving.”
The solution is simple enough. When getting onto a roundabout traffic is always coming from your left. Once you’re on, stay in the right lane, then exit where you need to. High beams are another way to tick somebody off. You’re really not supposed to use them if there is another car within 500 feet, but that’s not always realistic.
Coach Walker advises, “It’s not easy to know where 500 feet is, when you are driving, so I teach my kids, if you see taillights, you should have low beams on or if you see approaching headlights, you should have your low beams on.”
Bicyclists can also spike your blood pressure, but its their road too, and you have to give them their space.
Sgt. Stewart says,”If you can change lanes, just change lanes because you are going a lot faster than they are. If they hit you, you are not going to get hurt. If you hit them, they are going to get hurt probably.”
Other things you probably should have learned in driving school, but didn’t: Always look over your inside shoulder when you put it in reverse. Use your blinker, anytime you’re turning, and other than that, keep both hands on the wheel.
On a driving lesson with Coach Walker, I exclaimed, “10 and 2. Oh, God. I’m not at 10 and 2.”
But the Coach calmly explained, “But now it’s not 10 and 2.”
Still in shock, I asked, “It’s not?!”
The Coach replied, “No, it’s 9 and 3 now. Okay, 9 and 3, because of air bags. Okay. Because at 10 and 2, if that airbag goes off, your arms are going to hit you in the face.”
And nobody likes getting slapped.
Another reason to be a courteous driver, a healthy percentage of Mississippians carry guns in their car. If fact when Sgt. Stewart pulls someone over, he assumes they are armed. It doesn’t upset him, but he warns people not to go grabbing at their gun, to show him they have one.
Officers can also access your drivers’ license information in the field, even if you don’t have it with you, but you can still be cited for that.