Much of etiquette and courtesy falls under traffic law, but some may or may not in your area. In any case, it's a good idea to keep all drivers aware of your intentions on the road, and enable them to drive safely by courteous action.
A driver should keep other drivers appraised of his position and intentions on the road. This is accomplished by using all signals properly and keeping the vehicle visible to drivers around you. Surprise maneuvers and blind vehicles cause major accidents simply by not allowing other drivers to compensate for your actions or simple existence.
In most places, traffic law dictates that a driver must signal to lane change, make a turn, or parallel park. In most places, police ignore this anyway, so nobody (even the police) does it. Some people don't even understand what signals are for, particularly when parallel parking; these drivers will occasionally yell and use their horn when a driver in front of them stops and signals to park, instead of going around the driver so that he can back up into the spot.
Proper signaling should be done several seconds before actually taking action, but not so long as to cause confusion. In general, three to four seconds should give other drivers enough time to process and react to the signal.
For turns and parallel parking, the signal should be activated while approaching the intersection or pulling up next to the parking spot. The flow of traffic should be clear before actually executing these maneuvers; turns cross traffic, and parallel parking tilts the front outer corner of the car outward.
For lane changes, the signal should be activated several seconds before actually changing lanes. Additional checks should be performed just before actually executing the lane change to assure no other vehicles occupy the space being moved into. The driver should also verify the speed difference between lanes and take appropriate action during the maneuver to adjust. Once the lane change has been completed, the driver should cancel the signal to avoid confusing other drivers.
Importantly, drivers must respect other drivers' signals when on the road. If another driver signals to change into your lane, do not pass. In many cases, a driver will intentionally speed up to prevent another driver from getting in front of him; this causes congestion when drivers brake to get behind an aggressive driver. In the worst case, the driver may not notice the sudden change in vehicle speed, and then subsequently collide with a vehicle in his blind spot. In any case, preventing a driver from properly changing lanes may make it more difficult for that driver to take an upcoming turn or exit, distressing the driver and leading to more erratic driving, and possibly accidents.
Drivers must keep their cars positioned in such a way to remain visible to other drivers.
- Do not ride blind spots.
- Don't ride to the right of or directly behind large trucks.
- SUVs cannot see the space around them as well.
- Don't pass on the right; cars passing on the right seem to come out of nowhere!