It’s that time of year again – roads are peppered with cars toting giant signs proclaiming STUDENT DRIVER AT THE WHEEL.  As if the snail’s pace, ten second count at stops, and compulsive side mirror glances weren’t enough of a clue.  But hey, safety first, right?

My own instructor didn’t seem overly concerned with our safety (or his own, come to think of it) since he typically went to sleep while we were logging our drive hours.  Nerve wracking for me, power nap for him – I guess he figured it was a win/win. 

But while the kids definitely need Driving 101 – turn signals, parallel parking, speed limits, and interstate experience – I’d say there are some other skills they need just as much.  A Driving 201, if you will.  I’d even volunteer to lead a team of like-minded instructors.  You may submit your “I’m not a moron driver” application in the comments.

Driving 201 (aka how the hell are there this many stupid drivers on the road?!)

**  MERGING, people.  Can’t we all just agree to merge?  One car goes, then the other car goes, repeat as needed.  This folding in pattern works on interstates, crowded intersections, school drop-off/pickup, and four-way stops.  Merging makes everybody’s life easier so get a grip and share the love, people.

**  Get Off My Bumper.  I don’t care if you’re eighteen or in your sixties, on a back road or flying down the interstate.  You might be late for work or just jamming out to the radio, but either way get the hell off my tail.  Because if you continue to ride my bumper like you’re trying to peek in the backseat I will coast until I’m 10mph under the limit, and then you’ll really be stuck behind a slow driver.

**  Damn, people, put down your phone and stay in your lane.  I don’t have the bandwidth to track crazy in my backseat, radio station flipping, the three more To Do tasks battling for space in my head, AND the very real possibility you’re about to careen into the side of my car.

**  Speaking of merging versus staying in your lane, pay attention to the road. (You’d think this was a no brainer, but you would be surprised.)  Our delightful little town has one particular spot where two country roads come together.  Not merge, not to create a two lane road – the two roads join to make two lanes heading in the same direction.  Got the picture?  So folks come rolling in at 45mph, swinging into the curve, and suddenly drivers treat that line separating lanes more like a suggestion than a legal road marking.  Long story short?  Watch the freaking road, people.

**  Topping the list of Things I Do Not Care About at the traffic light:  if you have lipstick on your teeth, whether you’ve found your perfect radio station, if you’ve read that text/e-mail/Facebook post from your friend/neighbor/boss, or whether you’ve captured the perfect Instagram shot of your widdle cute-ums.  I’m not looking for NASCAR reflexes here.  I just need you to remember a car’s primary purpose and that Green means Go.