I’ve noticed there’s something I seem to instinctively do as I drive, and I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t know why I do it, and I don’t really have a sense of how common it is, so consider this article my first attempt to learn more. Here’s what it is: if I’m stopped at a light, or keeping close pace with a car next to me, I find that I’ll often take a quick glance over into the other car, to see the driver. Who else does this?

This isn’t the deliberate contact I’d give to someone driving, say, an old Tatra or something. Then I’d want to make contact with the driver to let them know how much I approve and enjoy their car. That’s different.

This isn’t something I consciously plan to do, it’s just something that sort of happens. It’s a quick, automatic action, and occasionally I’ll find the person in the car next to me does it as well, leading, sometimes, to a somewhat awkward momentary eye-lock.

Occasionally I’ll give a smile or wave, because, I guess why not? It’s a person in there, piloting that motor-carriage, and there’s usually no harm in acknowledging them.

Well, I don’t think there is. When I asked around about this, own Kristen told me “no because i hate eye contact with strangers,” and “if i look it’s to stare them down” which sure makes her seem far more terrifying than the lovely person I know her to be. But, to be fair, I’ve never driven alongside her. Maybe she really is a monster.


Another member of our team, Erik, told me “yeah I don’t look at other drivers too much can go wrong,” which makes me wonder just where the hell does Erik drive? Down prison corridors?

Are these views the general consensus? That seeing the driver of the car near you is something to be avoided?

The moment when you acknowledge that there’s people driving cars is an important one. I remember when I lived in Los Angeles, the only sure way to get someone to let you into a line of traffic was to make eye contact with the driver—it was usually guaranteed in that case, and hopeless otherwise.


So what’s the consensus here? Does anyone else find themselves glancing at their fellow drivers, or do you carefully avoid it?

For the record, if anyone sees me driving around, I’m happy to acknowledge you in your car. Once I finish picking my nose, I bet I’ll even wave.