We know you’ve seen those lists of what to do/not do at a car show, but lately I have had a couple of situations on the road that have raised my alert level, so I thought I would pass on some advice to my fellow road users. Without further ado, here is my list of things NOT to do when you see a hot rod driving down the road:
1. PLEASE DO NOT HONK YOUR HORN!
We appreciate the fact that you appreciate our car, but please don’t honk your horn to get our attention. Ok, maybe a short beep,beep might be alright, but straight out honking your horn is startling! Your horn is supposed to be used to alert other drivers, not to say hello or show approval. I’ve had a few situations lately where people going the other direction have honked at me, and a person’s natural reaction to someone honking from the other lane is that they are going to crash into you.
When I am traveling 40 mph going east and you are traveling 40 mph going west, by the time you honk at me you are either right at my window or past me, so I have no idea that you are honking your approval. Just keep it to yourself and save my nerves.
Just this morning at a traffic light, I had a guy who was going the same direction, but in the other lane 3 cars back, who just had to acknowledge his appreciation. He honked his horn no less than six times, confusing everyone (including me). When I turned my head to see what was the matter, he gave me a thumbs-up. I gave him a half-wave while I rolled my eyes. I regret rolling my eyes, but seriously? You just freaked everyone out just to make contact with me and the guy in front of you thought you were telling him to go!
2. DO NOT TAKE OUT YOUR PHONE TO TAKE A PICTURE OR VIDEO!
The most unsafe thing you can do besides texting and driving is taking a picture and driving. Don’t risk the lives of other drivers just so you can get a picture of a car that you will probably never do anything with anyway. Congratulations, you now have a picture of someone else’s car that you probably don’t even know what year it is. What are you going to do with that fuzzy picture anyway?
3. DO NOT RIDE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD NEXT TO A CLASSIC CAR!
Why is this a problem you ask? Whether I am driving down a surface street or the interstate, chances are I am trying my best to keep in my own lane. Classic cars, especially those with original steering components tend to track along with the bumps and ruts in the road, so we are much busier than you in your 2015 GMC Yukon. On top of that, we are always looking one step ahead for potholes and obstructions in the road. We may need that extra room to avoid something up ahead. The same goes for a classic on a trailer – we are doing the same thing with a truck and trailer!
4. NEVER PULL IN FRONT OF A CLASSIC!
Modern cars can stop on a dime. Classics? Not so much. Many classic cars are heavy and have drum brakes. We need that extra stopping distance to safely slow the car down. If you take away that space, you might just be asking for a chrome horn to be used inadvertently. Ok, so what if we’re on the interstate and you pass us? Please give us a little extra room. If you cut it a little too close, you just taken our ability to see one step ahead we just talked about not to mention you could kick up road debris that could cause a trip to the painter or the glass shop.
5. DO NOT MAKE US ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW TO ASK A QUESTION!
Someone once said “there are no stupid questions, only stupid people.” I’m not sure about that, but I have certainly heard some dumb questions. I don’t mind telling you that I am driving an Oldsmobile, not a Buick or a Chevy, and that it is a ’63 if my window is already down and we are stopped at a red light, but don’t flag me down going down the road to ask me – I’m kind of busy driving here! If I have my windows up, chances are I have my barely adequate AC trying its hardest to cool the interior. If you want to ask me a question, I have to slide across the giant bench seat just to roll the window down (yes most old cars had windows that you had to manually roll down), then turn down the radio, and turn off the wind tunnel otherwise known as the air-conditioning just to hear you over the exhaust. After I have done all that, forgive me if I roll my eyes, when you ask “what year is that?” and have nothing else to follow it up with. What are you going to do with that new found information?
6. BONUS: DO NOT ASK “HOW MUCH?” UNLESS YOU ARE SERIOUS!
Ok, this is of course not a safety issue, just a pet peeve. Actually there are two peeves here! Unless you are serious, don’t ask me how much I would take for it. I’ll tell you right now that if a classic is running, has a slick paint job, and aftermarket wheels, chances are you are going to pay at least $12,000 in today’s world, so unless you are prepared to spend at least that much don’t waste the person’s time. I bet I’ve given my phone number to 50 people over the five years I’ve owned my Olds. Yes, I’m probably asking for too much, but I also don’t have a for sale sign on it!
So the second part of the peeve is asking “how much do you have in it?” or “how much is it worth?” Not only is either question irrelevant to you, I think it is kind of rude. You wouldn’t ask a woman how much she weighed, so consider those two questions in the same category – irrelevant – unless you want to marry it!