Driving Etiquette: Being a Gentleman Behind the Wheel

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a gentleman behind the wheel is how it affects your driving. Gentlemen are given more leniency and allowance when they drive, so long as their actions aren’t putting anyone in danger. It’s an interesting phenomenon that we’re intrigued to explore further–how would things change if you were allowed to text while driving or eat up till you couldn’t see?

“How to be a gentleman at work” is the term that describes the etiquette that someone should follow when they are driving. This article will teach you how to be a gentleman behind the wheel. Read more in detail here: how to be a gentleman at work.

Vintage man in convertible smiling wearing hat.

At work, on the field, in the air, and at a party, we’ve covered the art of being a gentleman. However, there is one aspect of gentlemanly behavior that is sometimes overlooked: how to be a gentleman on the road.

Motorists’ poor behavior stems from the same problem that hampers online civility: anonymity. We feel walled off from the rest of the world once we climb into the driver’s seat and lock the door; we’re “lord of the road,” and the feeling of being in a protected pod often gives us permission to behave in ways we’d be embarrassed of in more public, face-to-face settings.

From time to time, we could all use some gentle reminders on driving etiquette and how to be a polite driver. It’s a collection of “behaviors” that actually meet at the point where safety and politeness collide. It may also help you save money on your vehicle insurance. Being a gentleman behind the wheel makes driving not just safer for everyone, but it also makes what might be a nuisance a bit more enjoyable.

Some of what we’ll discuss today is already codified in law, although it’s often disregarded. Other infractions may be legal in theory, but they irritate other drivers. Following the speed limit, always utilizing turn signals before changing lanes or turning, how to appropriately quiet a backseat driver, pulling over for emergency cars with flashing lights, and so on are just a few examples. We’ve compiled a list of issues that appear to be overlooked the most while we’re speeding down the road, our focus on ourselves, speeding toward oncoming traffic.

On the Autobahn

Vintage illustration yellow car automobile on highway farmland.

In the left passing lane, don’t drive slowly. This is one of those transgressions that not only raises the blood pressure of everyone’s father, but is also against the law in several places. All other vehicles should remain in the right lanes and use the left lane only for passing. If you’re travelling the same pace as the vehicle in the other lane, driving slowly in the left lane pushes others to pass on the right, and it may also create an impenetrable “roadblock” for the person behind you.

It’s natural to want to tailgate a vehicle in the left lane that refuses to move over until they get the message, but you run the danger of creating a rear-end collision. Instead, try flashing your headlights. It’s a touch more unsettling than tailgating for some reason – it’s less passive-aggressive, I suppose – but it’s safer than riding on their bumper. And if you’re the culprit, screaming out “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the left lane while speeding at 60 mph, pull over as soon as you notice someone approaching, and make amends (both in your driving and your music choices).


Consistently move at a steady pace. To add insult to injury, left-lane putters will speed whenever someone in front of them gives up and attempts to overtake on the right. Then they’ll slow down again after a bit. It’s often not even a deliberate act; they’re just not paying attention to their surroundings. I recall a 500-mile road journey during which we must have passed and been passed by the same automobile 50 times. Cruise control is your buddy, and keeping a regular pace helps to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Combine the zippers. This is something I’ve been doing incorrectly my whole life and was fully ignorant of until I read this article. What do you do when you’re driving along a two-lane highway and notice a sign that says “Lane closed ahead” and tells you to merge? Probably begin moving across to the free lane as soon as possible. You’re a guy who prepares ahead of time! You hate the scalawag who races by in the open lane right up to the final feasible merging point when that lane begins backing up. You mumble, “That scoundrel!” “I’m hoping no one will allow him in.” And that weasel will shred his skin eventually!”

But wait, there’s more. That thug is really doing it correctly! It’s easy to go too far with polite driving in this situation.

The zipper merge is the safest and most efficient approach to merge when a highway lane ends. Everyone drives in both lanes until they approach the cut-off point, at which time they take turns merging. You may see an example of how it’s done here. Congestion and traffic backups are reduced by up to 40% as a result of this. One of the major advantages of the zipper merge, as these nice Minnesotans explain, is a significant decrease in road rage; the next time you see someone driving up to the merging point, instead of getting upset, shake your cane and say, “Huzzah!” “Keep going, sir!”


On the Roads

Do not obstruct the entries or exits to the parking lot. Avoid coming to a halt in front of parking lot exits and entrances while approaching a stoplight. If someone is attempting to get out of one, they will be eternally thankful for the space you provide for them to move. 

Allow individuals to enter traffic when it is safe to do so. It’s polite to allow someone in front of you out of a parking lot when the signal turns green and traffic begins moving again, in addition to letting individuals out of a parking lot while you’re coming to a stop. But simply let one man go; the folks behind you deserve to go to their destination as well. Stopping to allow someone in when there isn’t traffic and you aren’t waiting for a traffic signal is also impolite; stopping unexpectedly in moving traffic might be hazardous for the person behind you who isn’t expecting it.


Remember to give a “thank you” wave! Don’t forget to flash a thank you wave if someone lets you out of your neighborhood/parking lot! It’s a thank you for their unneeded but appreciated politeness. “Of course you stopped – I’m entitled,” replies the person who doesn’t wave. This time, bring in the weasels!

Don’t text or chat on the phone while driving (unless absolutely necessary). I don’t believe I need to say anything about this since it receives so much attention these days. It’s not a good idea. It’s ridiculous. People get killed by it. I recall a period when you didn’t have to be in contact with people while driving, having lived half my life with a mobile phone and the other half without one. You still don’t have it.

Only use the horn honk when absolutely necessary. In an all-pedestrian society, the beep is the equivalent of someone yelling “HEY!” It’s the shout of your automobile. And, like any screaming, it’s unsettling, and it might come off as harsh unless it’s genuinely necessary. Of course, there are regional differences in how the beep is used. It’s simply your car’s way of clearing its throat in New York City; in Tulsa, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard a beep in the previous several years. However, use your horn sparingly in general. To warn someone else of danger, use a loud beep. If the light has gone green and the person in front of you hasn’t moved, give them a 5-second warning before sending a brief, light beep that says, “Go on, old guy,” rather than, “Get going, filthy beast!”

Don’t get caught up in the brightness. On a similar subject, don’t ponder about how you’d look in a pair of Chuck Norris action pants while waiting at a stoplight. When the light turns green, get ready to leave.

Vintage cards in gridlock at intersection mid 20th century.

“Block the box” is not a good idea. The intersection’s center is shown by the box. When heavy traffic in their lane moves slowly through a green or yellow light, their automobile gets trapped in the middle of the intersection with little space to move up when the light turns red. The outcome is gridlock on the cross street. You shouldn’t attempt to squeeze through an intersection or crawl through a turn if you’re not sure you’ll make it all the way through (and no, unfortunately, riding the bumper of the car ahead of you as closely as possible will not magically pull you through). You have to bite the bullet and wait out another light cycle sometimes.

Bring your car to a halt for a funeral procession. This is an ancient custom that I believe is still worth keeping since it takes very little time and demonstrates respect for the departed, the bereaved, and the cycle of life. In the middle of the day, a funeral procession may be identified by a line of automobiles all having their headlights on. It is often, but not always, led by police vehicles and/or a hearse. The goal is to maintain the line as straight as possible, with no other vehicles getting in the way. Obviously, safety comes first – if there isn’t a shoulder to pull on, don’t do it. But do it while you have the opportunity.


Don’t turn up the volume on your music.

Yes, admitting this makes me feel around 80, and everyone appreciates cruising with the windows down while listening to their favorite radio station. Just make sure it’s not so loud that it drowns out the people in the vehicle next to you at a stoplight. Once you’ve slowed down and entered an area where neighbors may be able to hear you, turn it down a few notches. When you drive into a parking lot, particularly for church, turn down the volume. Although it may have people yearning for salvation, being forced to listen to your Nickelback is terrible way to start a church session.


Make sure you don’t take up more than one spot. I realize that you don’t want anybody to damage your lovely 1994 Camaro, but if you’re worried about its safety, park far away from other vehicles in the lot’s rear. You’ll have to walk a bit farther, but your particular worry about your automobile should only cause you difficulty, not others.

Allow plenty of room between you and the automobiles in front of you. Nobody enjoys coming out to their vehicle only to learn that getting back inside will require a complicated shimmy. Take the additional minute to get the ratio of space on either side correct, even if it means backing out and back in.

Maintain Your Calm in Any Situation

Vintage old man shooting water squirt gun outside car window.

Road rage may scare your passengers, lead to risky driving choices, result in a personal encounter with another motorist, and spike your blood pressure. It may also lead to uncomfortable face-to-face interactions in the future! I’ve heard of people yelling at one other or riding on the bumpers of others, then driving into the same church or business parking lot. Doh! People have pulled alongside me at a stoplight, confirmed their suspicions by seeing my mustache, and asked, “Hey, are you the guy who runs the Art of Manliness?” I have an AoM sticker on my car, and as the weather warms up and the windows roll down, a few times people have pulled alongside me at a stoplight, confirmed their suspicions by seeing my mustache, and asked, “Hey, are you the guy who runs the Art of Manliness?” That website is fantastic!” It’s made me more conscious of how I drive; I don’t want someone to ask, “Hey, are you the man from the Art of Manliness?” “You summabitch, you just cut me off!”

Keep your calm behind the wheel by following these guidelines.

Extend the same kindness to others as you do to yourself. Almost all of us have sped, ridden on people’s bumpers, changed lanes like a lunatic, and so on. We didn’t feel horrible about it after we finished! We had a wedding/birth/job interview to attend, and we couldn’t afford to be late. We blame our transgressions on the circumstances. When we witness other individuals doing the same thing, we attribute it to their obvious character flaw – what a jerk! But who knows, maybe they’re on their way to the hospital as well. Allow people the same amount of leeway that you do.


Do not attempt to “punish” anyone on your own. If a motorist irritates you, you may be inclined to ride on their bumper, flash your high lights, or block them from crossing into your lane to express your anger and exact “vengeance.” However, much like beginning a rhetorical attack of someone on the internet, all this achieves is make the person even more enraged and certain that they are the hero and you are the dillweed. When you stand up for your pride on the road, though, you are putting your bodily safety at danger, unlike on the internet. He “wins” by being such a scumbag that he was able to get under your skin and impact your mood.

If someone is driving recklessly, don’t bother them personally for the sake of short-term enjoyment; instead, contact the cops. They’re going to pull them over a little farther down the road.

Make the “I’m sorry” gesture. The gentleman chauffeur isn’t without flaws. When you inadvertently cause someone else to be inconvenienced or in danger, proper manners and human decency dictate that you own your mistake and wave a “I’m sorry” wave.


Jerry Seinfeld sorry wave in convertible.


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The “Driving Etiquette: Being a Gentleman Behind the Wheel” is an article that discusses how to be a gentleman while driving. The article goes over things like not using your phone, and not cutting someone off. Reference: drivers ed classes near me.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a gentleman car?

A: Greetings, you are a gentleman car.

Which is the correct example of etiquette to be followed while driving?

A: Please do not talk on the phone while driving.

How can I be a respectful driver?

A: The best thing you can do is to be mindful of your surroundings. If you see an animal in the road, slow down and move over so its not hit.

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