Today's lesson is How To Change Lanes. This is a basic maneuver and must be mastered if you ever hope to advance to the Merge lesson. Let us begin.
First and foremost, it is imperative that you understand the meaning and purpose of the directional (turn signal). The directional is used to inform other drivers in your vicinity of your intent to do something. Did you read that? Your intent. Think of it as your Early Warning System. When hundreds of people are moving tons of metal in skinny asphalt lanes, it is important to take measures to ensure none of these metal masses make contact.
Once you understand that a directional is to indicate intent, then the following steps can be easily followed to safely change lanes:
1. Turn on your directional.
2. Look in your side-view mirror to ascertain the options. You'll need to make sure there will be room for your vehicle in the lane into which you plan to move.
3. Look in your blind spot to verify there is no vehicle lurking. This will require you to look over your shoulder.
4. Once you have determined there is room for your vehicle to safely move into an available opening, begin to cross the dashed line.
5. Complete your lane-change, then turn off your directional.
6. This last step is optional, but I always raise my hand and wave a Thank You via the rear-view mirror to the person who let me in.
Unfortunately for those of us in the DC area, most people follow these other lane-change rules (DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF):
1. Speed up, or alternatively you may even stop. Either option will serve to scare the people driving anywhere near you.
2. Slide over the dashed line.
3. Glance briefly to your right and notice the vehicle therein, parallel with your own.
4. Slide back into your original lane.
5. Slide over the line again to begin your lane change.
6. Go to Step 3. After several iterations of Steps 3-5, you may proceed to Step 7.
7. Move the front end of your vehicle into the next lane, without regard to there being room for you. This causes the vehicle you almost hit to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting you (thus making room for you).
8. Flash your directional once, if you bother with it at all.
9. Complete your lane change, then repeat all the above steps while trying to move over one more lane.
10. Extra points if there are children in the vehicle with you.
11. Bonus points if you do this with children and while on a cell phone.