The problem with Driver’s Education is that students learn useless things like the proper distance to maintain when following a car towing a house trailer up a 30 degree incline during an ice storm (2 miles.) Why don’t they teach things you can really use?
Here are some tools to help you navigate in the real world:
Universal Sign Language for Drivers
No, No, After You: One hand makes a shooing motion, right to left or left to right, depending on the position of the other car. Usually accompanied by a smile and nod of the head. Used by a driver to indicate that the other driver may go first at a 4-way stop. A more vigorous shooing motion may also be used to indicate to pedestrians that they may cross the street, and that you will not run them over.
Let Me In: One hand pointing to the next lane where you want to go. Accompanied by a pleading look directed at the driver currently in that lane. Used to get the other driver to recognize you as a deserving human being, and not a competing race-car at the Indianapolis 500. Intensity of pointing gesture and pleading look increases the closer you get to your lane ending and the very real possibility that you will hurl over the approaching cliff to your doom in a fiery crash.
How, Kemosabe: One hand up straight, palm forward as if swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in a court of law. Also how Hollywood depicted Native Americans saying hello in movies 50 years ago. This gesture is accompanied by a half-smile and possibly an incline of the head. Used to respond to another driver who has waived you ahead at a four-way stop, or has let you merge in front of them. It serves as acknowledgment, agreement and thank you.
Give Me Strength: Both hands raised, palms up. Accompanied by both eyes looking to heaven with an expression of open-mouthed disbelief. This indicates you are appealing to a Higher Power for the strength to resist the nearly overpowering urge to unleash a can of wup-ass on the clueless driver sharing the road with you, even though he or she definitely deserves said ass-wuppery.
Got a Light?: One hand raised, palm up. Both eyes also raised, but not as far as heaven – just as far as the traffic light. May be accompanied by a short toot on the horn to awaken the driver who is obviously asleep in the car ahead of you. This indicates that the light turned green a whole, 2 seconds ago and some people have places to go!
My Bad: Both hands raised, palms up. Differs from the Give Me Strength gesture as it is accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders and a sheepish smile of apology. Used to indicate you are sorry for forcing the other driver to slam on the brakes to avoid certain death, and to say that in the future you promise to check your blind spot by actually turning your head BEFORE changing lanes. If the other driver answers with an Up Yours sign, you are not allowed to respond in kind.
I Give Up: Both hands grasping the steering wheel, head bowed in defeat. Possible tears. Used to signify your total befuddlement at how some people were ever allowed to get a driver’s license, and that you can no longer stand the seemingly endless parade of rude and clueless drivers on the road nowadays. Also signifies your intention to sell your car and take the bus from now on.
There you have it. Learn to interpret these universal hand signals and there will be no mistaking the messages you are sending and receiving. This is especially true when you use the following signal:
Up Yours: One hand raised, the middle finger extended skyward. The other hand may clasp the arm above the elbow for emphasis. Accompanied by an expression of anger and, often, words that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap when you were a child. Used to signal displeasure with another driver’s performance.