Sunday, April 03, 2005

Top ten Israeli driving tips 

I was waiting for my kids outside their school, Beit Sefer Uziel, watching the traffic, and was suddenly inspired to do a top ten list. Without further ado:

  1. When approaching a crosswalk with a pedestrian preparing to cross, do not, repeat DO NOT stop or slow down as this would only confuse the pedestrian
  2. If there is a white line on your side of the middle yellow line, it is a good idea to drive exactly centered over this line, with occasional deviations left and right. This will discourage other vehicles from dangerously attempting to pass you.
  3. Contrary to popular opinion, the sidewalk is not to be used as a passing lane at your whim. It is only to be so used when you are in a dire hurry.
  4. When passing a slower moving car it is a good idea to swerve briefly into the other car's lane as soon as possible after clearing its front bumper so that the car will be sure to notice you have passed.
  5. When being passed by a faster moving car, it is important to discourage such behavior by speeding up as the car passes, especially if it is exposed to oncoming traffic in a single lane passing maneuver.
  6. When sending cellphone SMS messages while driving, it is helpful to have a spotter in the passenger seat to warn you before you hit anything.
  7. When stopping in the middle of moving traffic flow to chat with a pedestrian friend through the window, ignore anyone honking behind you because to acknowledge them would be rude to your conversational partner and encourage strife.
  8. The presence of a several second yellow light -- warning of a red light's impending change -- offers the truly alert driver an opportunity to honk before the light has turned green.
  9. Remember there is a seat belt law, so it is wise to practice the technique of driving with your left hand while holding the seat belt across your body with your right whenever you might otherwise get a ticket.
  10. When overloading the backseat during carpooling it is not necessary to use seat belts because the wedging effect of six tightly packed children should be strong enough to hold against most subsonic impacts.
[UPDATE: some bonus tips. Please add your own to the comments, in the interest of public safety of course].

  1. If you see an emergency vehicle with flashing lights behind you, let it pass and then slip in behind as closely as possible. You can ride in its slipstream, saving some gas, and reducing the likelihood of other cars passing you.
  2. If the lanes you are riding in seem wider than necessary, remember, they were probably drawn by a paint-truck driven by someone considerably less skilled than yourself, who needed more margin for error. You can probably fit two across if you're careful.
  3. Triple parking can be an efficient way to stack up cars waiting to pick up kids. But remember, if more than half of the third car extends across into opposing lanes of traffic, then its hazard lights should be left flashing for safety.

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