6 Automotive Habits to Kick. Right Now.

Nobody's perfect. We all have ticks and habits that slowly whittle down our ability to live our lives in relative sanity and cleanliness. You can identify a good friend by their willingness to simply make you aware of your awful, asinine shortcomings – especially when it comes to your car. Well friendo, I've got a list for ya ... let's start with an easy one.

(1) Smoking In Your Car

I'm not going to stoop to the level of telling you what you can and cannot do in your car. Your personal (cash-paid, financed, leased, s̶t̶o̶l̶e̶n̶ "borrowed", whatever) property is your sanctuary. But let's be honest: your friends/family/co-workers/boss/prostitutes hate riding with you. Every surface feels like it was wiped down in diluted Vermont Grade B maple syrup, and the sagging nicotine-crusted headliner that gently caresses your forehead as it flaps in the wind is unappetizing to say the least. And doing your best impression of Rollin' Coal in your '92 Camry by rolling the windows down doesn't help either ... that shit permeates everything.

Retain your resale value and save yourself a lifetime of harassment. When it comes time to light up, do it outside your car to nurse your deliciously deadly habit.

(2) Eating In Your Car

Trips to your favorite minimum-wage drive through tends to stack up, and so does the odor of eventually rancid fry oil and crumbs of god-knows-what ground into the carpets. And even if your favorite produce guy at the local co-op got you to commit to an all-kale diet, eating that shit in your car still invites the possibility of food particles piling up in your once-new ride. Before long, you'll have 20 half-eaten french fries (or kale chips), countless straw wrappers, paper bags, crumpled receipts, pools of coffee, and so on under your seats.

Grab a bottle of water and enjoy that as the solitary consumable item in your car, and proceed to eat your fast-food meals while leaning up against the rear quarter panel outside. You'll keep your car cleaner than you'll ever believe.

(3) "Forgetting" to Use Your Turn Signal

Clive Owen hates it when you lazily disregard your turning indicator. That's just for starters. Not only are you required by law to use it when changing lanes or turning on a street, it just makes logical sense out of the horrifically chaotic mess we know as "traffic". It simply lets other motorists and pedestrians in on your directional intentions. When you don't use it, and expect others to know exactly where you're going– even when it appears obvious to you –you put yourself and others in danger beyond looking like an immature, inexperienced, concern-me-not driver. Move your finger the 1-3 inches to operate the indicator stalk, and we'll all get along just great.

(4) Parking in 2 Or More Spaces

This habit baffles me, although it's not necessarily breaking any laws (maybe some private lots will have you towed, just depends where you are) parking in more than the single designated space for a motor vehicle makes you look either (a) incompetent at operating a motor vehicle, (b) a complete self-centered asshole, or (c) deservedly both.

Your dually has a tire or two just edged over the line? Forgivable, but try to park a little better next time (please). Your 458 is spanning a couple spaces in a nearly empty parking lot? Sure, most can understand that. But your GTI diagonally parked across 2 spaces in a PACKED lot? You deserve to be served with divorce papers once or twice in your lifetime.

(5) Using the Left Lane as Your Personal HOV Artery

I don't understand. You're the kind of person that HATES it when people camp out in the left lane because it's unsafe to pass on the right, maintaining "the left lane is for passing ONLY, you scum!" Yet you set your cruise to 20+ over the posted limit and camp out there yourself, defending your actions "but I'm technically passing everybody!"

You dolt. The left lane is not your personal autobahn. And unless you're Sabine Schmitz, you're gonna roll your ride from the panic of quickly attempting to avoid the Subaru suddenly grabbing the left lane to pass the slightly slower trailer in front of it. Just follow (not aggressively push) the flow of traffic, pass on the left like everyone else, and be content with getting to your destination whenever you happen to arrive. Be safe out there and you'll likely remain accident/death-free.

(6) Letting Your Phone Conversation Take Priority Over Driving

There's a good chance that you're actually very skilled at doing both: talking and driving. We all have done it, and we're probably all still alive despite doing it, but we all know of those individuals who are clearly not as skilled ... even if using a hands-free device. And you know how to identify them on the road:

– Swerving from side to side in their lane

– Speeding excessively / Remarkably slow

– Head cocked to the left to hold phone between ear and shoulder (eyes not level to road)

– Unexpected or sharp lane changes

– Unresponsive to sirens, horns, etc.

– Stuck/forgotten blinking turning indicator

– Waving arms, gesturing, burying face in hands, etc.

If you're one of these people, you need to leave the Jitterbug at home. If you can really only handle one thing at a time, that's okay – but you need to know which things you can handle and the others you clearly cannot. When you are truly honest with yourself and you find you are this particular offender time and time again ... well, maybe it's time to start taking the bus. For everyone's sake, cut this shit out.

Welcome back to another MBCX list, where a complete stranger points out your personal flaws, failings, and shortcomings with frightening specificity and relevancy. He fronts as a friendly list maker for an online automotive blog community, but in reality follows you home every night, noting in painstaking detail your driving habits and preferred route. Don't open your mailbox.