An Open Letter To Oklahoma Drivers

posted in People on Dec 2, 2009

I may or may not have written on this subject before, years and years and years ago, but I feel it’s about time to bring it back up.

Now, this message is directed firstly towards those who drive in Oklahoma, but I am sure that in regards to the subject matter therein, it can be applied to nearly every town in every state where people who cannot drive are prone to live. My proximity to Oklahomans, however, forces me to narrow the field a bit.


The first point I want to make is this: Learn where your headlights are. This is an essential step that many Oklahomans fail to understand or notice. What you will want to do, upon purchasing your vehicle, is find out how to turn these lights on. It is usually either a knob on the dashboard or a switch on a steering column.

To figure out when to use your lights is easy! When you are about to leave your place of residence or workplace, simply look out of your window. Is it dark? If it is, then there’s a good chance that headlights will be appropriate for your coming drive. Other times during the day are actually good times to use headlights as well. For example, when you look out of your window, is it raining? If it is, then you’ve got a date with headlights. These are the two most common scenarios of when headlight use is appropriate, but they are not all. If you are having doubts, simply take one second to jump out of your cacoon of self absorption and think about the people around you. Will your giant black SUV be more difficult to see in the dark without headlights? If so, then headlights might be the answer.

The Parking Lights Myth
Some motorists believe that parking lights serve as adequate driving lights, and while there is some merit to the thought – you’ve found the knob that controls lights, at least – other motorists still will have a hard time seeing you. And while you may find that turning on parking lights gives you the ability to see your speedometer in the dusk, there’s a reason they’re called “parking” lights and not “driving” lights. Turn the knob one more click and you’ll be good to go; in fact it will take the exact same amount of time as turning it halfway.

The Right of Way

Here’s a tip for when you will have to perform the maneuver commonly referred to as Merging: underestand your place. Let’s look at an example, shall we? If you are driving on a two lane street and up ahead there is construction, be wary of which lane you are currently in. Say the left lane is ending due to the construction, and you are currently in the left lane. The proper way to handle the situation is to see if there is any traffic to your right using your rear view mirror. If there is not, then you are in luck! You can now move (put your blinker on first!) into the right lane. If there are people, however, use caution. You currently do not have the right of way. This means you will need to yield to oncoming traffic as they pass until there is sufficient time to merge. By putting your blinker on, you might get lucky and someone will slow down to let you merge, but that is not a given. If people do not let you in, you will need to stop and wait until the coast is clear. Think of it like a Yield sign, you have to wait – even if it means stopping – until it is safe.

And this ends my overly passive aggressive note to people who don’t understand the normal operating procedures of how to drive. Am I the only one who has this problem with Oklahoman drivers, or is it a wide spread American phenomenon?