Home>Articles>Random Acts of Kindness in Driving

Self-witnessing reports

The following are examples taken from the self-witnessing reports of drivers who were training themselves to be supportive drivers :

I was in the left lane in a long line of cars. A car in the right lane was stuck behind a slow truck. His blinkers were on but no one let him in. I made space for him by slowing down a little, and he went for it. I saw his wave through his rear window. I felt a warmth.

I was in the right lane going at speed limit, which is how I like to travel. A car in the left lane was also going at speed limit. We were almost parallel, which makes me feel uncomfortable. The people behind in the left lane must have been upset. There was a long line backed up. So I felt like I shouldn't just ignore their plight. I broke my usual rule and sped up quickly. Those drivers were sure relived that they could now pass that obstructing driver on the right behind me. I could tell by the way they were zooming passed that car in a hurry, then switching back into the left lane. I was happy for them.

A car was backing out of a parking stall just as I was driving by. I was furious for a second, and felt the impulse of speeding up to it and stopping suddenly to make my tires screech. That should scare him right! But then I calmed myself and and approached gradually, staying far enough not to scare or provoke the driver. I felt like I was being good and rational. Nice feeling.

I don't' like to courtesy wave, usually. I just can't be bothered and I'm in a bad mood. But today I waved at a man who let me in the fast lane from the middle lane. I noticed he showed just enough to increase the space ahead fo him. I've been trying to get there for several minutes. I didn't feel like waving, but I made myself anyway. I saw his face in my rear view mirror. He was smiling and nodding in a benign way. It really touched me.


Random kindness

Date: Tue, 3 Jun 1997 12:17:39 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Random kindness

At a stop sign or a stoplight, where I am waiting to pull into traffic (to turn right at a stoplight, or to turn either way at a stop sign), I sometimes find my view is blocked by a vehicle in the next lane, which is also waiting - especially trucks, vans, and cars that are "taller" than mine. I have resolved to be conscious of this and not block the view of the driver in the next lane, who might be looking to see if the traffic is clear and if it is safe to pull out.


Random Acts of Driving Kindness

Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 11:32:34 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Random Acts of Driving Kindness

One time, back when I was a graduate student at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, I was headed home to West Plains, Missouri to see my parents. Between Fayetteville, Ark. and West Plains, Mo., other than a couple of towns of about 10,000 or so in population along the way, there is no four-lane highway to speak of (and this is the fastest way home, no less!). One night, as I was driving east on US 412 (for those not familiar with the road, it winds through a lot of hills and mountains -- nice scenic drive, though) about 10, maybe 15 miles or so west of Alpena, Ark., and there was this eighteen-wheeler right in front of me trying to navigate every little twist and turn and hill, and with the weight of his truck, I knew there was nothing he could do about it (I'm not one to fly off in a rage behind the wheel to begin with, BTW), but I was close enough (not tailgating or anything, mind you) that he knew I wanted to pass him at the first possible opportunity.

Well, about 5 minutes later, after we got onto a straight stretch, he saw no one coming and stuck his arm out his window waving me to go ahead and pass him, and he even turned off his headlights just briefly to let me know when I had completely gotten around him. IMHO, he ought to become the president of whatever trucking company it is he's working for, and if you're that truck driver and reading this -- thanx! We need more courteous people like you on the road.


Random Acts of Kindness

Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997 03:54:51 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Random Acts of Kindness

While driving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on I-10, I observed an 18 wheeler trying to enter the interstate. Even though the truck was almost at the end of the acceleration lane with the left blinker on, no car would move to the passing lane to make space for the truck. With three cars passing me, I could not get into the left lane. I hit the brakes, and opened enough space for the truck to enter the interstate. As I passed the truck, the driver blew his horn. When I looked in the rear view mirror, the driver was blowing kisses at me. It made my day, and as the owner/instructor of a driving school, I tell this story to all of my students.

How wonderful! Thanks for sharing this inspiring random act of kindness and the positive, supportive effect it had on both the truck driver and you. Congratulations!


Random Acts

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 10:54:45 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: Random Acts

When driving in the right hand lane, I will often take note of the traffic behind me as I approach a red light. If I find there is no turn lane at the light and the car behind me has their turn signal on indicating they want to turn right, I will pull into the next lane to my left (if I can do so safely) so the person in the right hand lane behind me can make their turn at the light without having to wait for it to turn green (you can turn right on a red light in Arizona). I also tend to give up my "right of way" to anyone who has the courtesy to use their turn signal.

I believe bad driving habits begin OUTSIDE of the automobile. If we improve our relations with other humans (as a whole in this culture) and consider other drivers on the road as PEOPLE instead of as AUTOMOBILES, driving conditions will begin to improve. When someone smiles or waves at you, you remember their humanity. When someone honks at you, you remember their license number. You can quote me on that. :)

William Hubbard

Thanks. I'm appending your BAD Driver suggestions because your intention of course is for drivers to do the opposite of what's bad. And ttherefore their OPPOSITES are random acts of kindness.


How to be a B.A.D. driver

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 11:26:08 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: How to be a B.A.D. driver

I thought I would contribute to the list:

- Remember: the conversation you are having with your passengers is far more important than the traffic around you.
- When turning onto a main street late at night, make sure you pull into the lane in front of the only other car on the road.
- In fact, when entering traffic, make sure you enter the lane that has the most traffic or that has traffic approaching faster or closer to you than the other lanes.
- Left turns: Turn into the far right-hand lane. Right turns: turn into the far left-hand lane.
- If you finally manage to pass someone who has been driving slowly in front of you for miles, pull in front of them and drive even slower.
- Just because you're not supposed to turn left from the reversible lane during rush hour doesn't mean you can't. And if you want a real rush, turn left against the rush hour traffic that is using the lane at the time.
- Make sure your car alarm is set to go off in the parking lot when you are in the store where you can't possibly hear it.
- If you miss your turn, back up.
- If the car in front of you wind up half way in the intersection by no fault of their own, make sure you don't leave any room for them to back up when the light turns red.

- When you think you are the only car on the road, straddle the center lane.
- Wait until your car is completely in the turn lane before turning on your turn signal.
- Wait until you actually begin to make your turn before turning on your turn signal (it will help you make your turn).
- Drive continuously with your turn signal on, changing lanes frequently, and turn your turn signal off just before you turn in the opposite direction.
- Drive past at least seven driveways and one intersection with your turn signal on before making your turn.
- Turn on your turn signal, pull completely into the turn lane (and stop if possible) before deciding you didn't want to turn after all. Then either pull out suddenly back into traffic, or wedge your way slowly into traffic, making sure others pay for your mistake.
- Remember: YOU OWN THE ROAD.
- Turn up your car stereo as loud as it will go. Even if it means listening to pure distortion. It's SOOOOOO COOOOL!!!
- Turn left from the righ lane.
- Turn right from the left lane.
- Drive straight through a RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT lane.
- When approaching a construction zone where one lane (YOURS!) is closed, zoom up to the zone as fast and as far as you can and cut ahead of the line of traffic that is backed up in the other lane.
- Drive faster in the rain and expect to get where you want to go sooner in dense fog.
- Drive with your lights on in the middle of the day.

William Hubbard


Random acts of kindness

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 21:42:30 -1000
To: dyc@DrDriving.org
Subject: random acts of kindness

Dear DrDriving:

This is a story, in an attempt to personally thank a person in L.A. rush who helped a truck driver in a tough spot. It's been several months ago but I needed to tell someone who would appreciate this thoughtful act. Being as my wife and drive all over the U.S. of A., we see a lot of rage on the part of people who don't think about what they are doing. On this particular day was no exception. L.A. rush hour is no picnic for anyone and traffic was really heavy on this day. My wife was driving and having no difficulties until we came to a point where one interstate splits from another. We found ourselves in the wrong lane for the interstate that we wanted. No big deal, right? WRONG! My wife turned on her left turn signal to change one lane, no one would allow her to do so. They were just wisizeing past on the left and changing one lane to the right. Time was running out and she would have been forced to go where we did not want to go. Then it happened. This driver in a four-wheeler, (trucking term for a vehicle not a big truck), right behind us moved to the lane to the left. He or she then slowed to create a break in the traffic flow, flashed their lights and let us over. This driver then went back to their lane and went down the other interstate before we could wave our thanks. To that driver we say thank you.

There are many more acts that the four-wheelers have done to help us out and those few make it better place on our nations highways. Thanks to all of you.