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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clueless Drivers and the art of Chassis Language

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Image taken by, hosting by PhotobucketCluelessness can be seen everywhere...

Before we start this post, let's get a few definitions out of the way (source: Webster's Online Dictionary):

(1) clueless - adj. Totally uninformed about what is going on; not having even a clue from which to infer what is occurring
(2) body language - n. Communication via the movements or attitudes of the body.

It's no big secret that many Malaysian drivers behave like they are pretty clueless while they are on the road. Lanes to most are just lines drawn on the road for no apparent reason. And other than the wiper knob (the one that controls the windscreen wiper - the contraption that goes "swish-swish" - for the benefit of you clueless Malaysian drivers reading this), most don't seem to fathom the function of the other knob. No, not that knob - the knob on the other side of the steering wheel. Walski, of course, is referring to the turn signal knob.

Anyhow, some of the clueless behavior exhibited by many Malaysian drivers include:
Improper use of turn indicator lights (as in using it only mid-way of a lane change, or leaving it on for way too long) - pretty knob behavior (yes, that one)
Not using the turn indicator lights at all (more common)
Indicating a left turn, but turning right instead (or vice versa)
Meandering between lanes, half-here half-there
Eating into the adjacent lane when negotiating corners (instead of slowing down)
... and numerous other stupid driving behaviors

One of the golden rules of safe driving is being able to anticipate what other drivers are doing or intend to do.

Being that relying on other driver's knowledge of operating an automobile is usually futile, and Walski, like most other people, is not psychic, there has therefore been a dire need to develop a new road survival skill - the art of Chassis Language.

And just what the heck is Chassis Language?
(the chassis, its language, and more, in the full post)

Well, Chassis Language is exactly like body language, except that one reads what the other driver is trying to do via the attitudes or movement of the car body - or chassis. Walski hasn't gotten this science down pat yet - the various hypotheses are currently being tested and field observation is ongoing.

But here are some of the rules of thumb (index, ring and pinky fingers too, to properly control the wheel) that make up the art of Chassis Language, which at the moment has successfully been classified into four categories of (bad) behavior:
► Lane-change anticipatory behavior
► Stopping for no reason behavior
► Not stopping at STOP sign junctions behavior
► Traffic light junction behavior
► Merging into (and out of) traffic behavior
► Talking on the mobile without a hands-free behavior
► Meandering all over behavior

We won't elaborate on each of these behaviors now, as research is still ongoing. Suffice it to say that despite being generally unpredictable, there are tell-tale signs that will indicate what the clueless Malaysian driver is about to do next.

And knowing the once-thought unknowable may just mean living a day longer, until you need to face these clueless bastards on the road again - tomorrow...

Have a safe weekend!