In this world you meet all sorts of people, and likewise on the road you meet all sorts. As in life, knowing what motivates people to do annoying things make them less annoying, and also helps you to handle them. In life it doesn’t pay to confront people doing what is in their nature, and riding is the same. Its better to adapt your actions to theirs, unless you are their teacher, which on a motorcycle you are not. When you meet the driver types below on the road, the goal is not to “teach” them what is “right”, but to recognize them and adapt.
A creeper is a driver at a give-way or stop sign that creeps forward as you approach them. In general, they are people in a hurry. Creepers are annoying because you never know if they will go. Maybe they dont either. If a car in a side road creeps forward I slow down. If it creeps again, I slow down again, and so on. I go slower and slower until they stop creeping and let me go. When I am close and they stop, I accelerate past before they can do anything stupid like quickly pull out behind me. I dont want some driver in a hurry accidentally hitting the back of my bike. Or if creeping out is the only way for a driver to enter a constant traffic stream, I may wave them in.
A wide-turner is a person who swings left before turning right to get a better turn. This is annoying because you assume a car swinging left is going left, and they dont – they swing left to go right! Even when stationary and indicating right, a wide-turner still swings left first to make the turn, so dont pass them too close on the left. Its just a habit they learned somewhere, unaware of its affect on others. Note that big trucks have to make a wide-turn to get around a corner, so give them wide berth when they do.
A half-turner is a person so cautious that they have to stop in the middle of any turn to “catch their breath” . Its surprising how many people do this. It is annoying because you expect them to complete the turn and they dont. For some reason, they stop mid-turn just to check all is OK. If you are following too close, you can run into the back of them. Dont get frustrated. Not everyone is as confident as you!
A first slug is the first in a stream of cars that takes off very slowly when the red light turns green. They take all the time in the world to go as they will always get across. They are annoying because their tardiness means the cars behind dont get across and have to wait for the next green. They are people who consider time at a red light “wasted”, and so spend it talking, changing a CD or adjusting their dash screen, so they are not ready when the light goes green. Sometimes only a honk from behind wakes them up. An experienced motorcycle rider can safely slide alongside a stream of cars at a red light into the gap behind the first car. Then when the light goes green, shadow them across in the gap behind them (not for beginners).
Sunday drivers are people who drive very slowly in rush hour traffic, maybe retired people with no reason to hurry just out for a drive in their old banger. They are annoying because have all the time in the world but others around them dont. There is a time to go out and smell the flowers, and rush hour traffic is not it. They frustrate other drivers who may need to be somewhere on time, like work. Hopefully on highways they are in the left lane. One a motorcycle, just let them be. If one day you become be a Sunday driver, go out in the middle of the day when the traffic is light!
Blockers are people who try to force others to go at the speed limit all the time. Their pleasure is to sit in the fast lane at a slow speed to stop “speedsters”. They are annoying because they are trying to control other people. In their mind, they have every right to be in that lane, but in fact the road code states that drivers should always keep as far to the left as possible. The psychology term for this behavior is anal retentive, the desire to obstruct a natural flow. When you meet such a driver on a motorcycle understand they are doing this on purpose. Blockers won’t give up what they see as their “right”, so dont get agitated and try to squeeze around them unsafely. Take your time and choose your moment.
Sudden stoppers are drivers who jam on their brakes when a bird flies past. They think the best response to any danger is to jam on your brakes. They are not only annoying but dangerous, as their fear often causes rear-end crashes. When they suddenly stop on a highway, sudden stoppers become a major accident risk. In accidents, it is not your speed that counts but your speed relative to other vehicles.
Hard bargainers is my name for drivers who think that indicating is an offer not an intent. They are annoying because they seem to think that indicating some how clears a way. As my wife explains to me when there is no gap to change lanes: “If you indicate, they will let you in”. When I asked “But what if they don’t?” she replied “Well, if they speed up, you don’t go, but if they let you in, wave to thank them.” Later, I was in a car with my brother driving when a car ahead indicated to turn in front of him, and he sped up! I didnt ask why, but I guess in his mind the other car “offered” to change lanes and he “refused”. Unfortunately, some drivers make an “offer” you can’t refuse, as they just indicate and go anyway. On a motorcycle, it is not a good idea to play Chicken with a car, because you always come off worse. If a car indicates to turn into your lane, take them at their word and let them. You are a fox, not a chicken.
A lane wobbler is a driver who wobbles about in their lane, maybe even crossing the line then swerving back. There can be are many reasons for this, none of them good. They could be checking their cell-phone, adjusting their music, fiddling with dash controls, drunk, drugged or very tired. It doesnt matter – the response is always the same, keep away from them! They are not in control of their vehicle. Whatever you do, dont accelerate up along side them to see what they are doing. You dont want to know.