Monday, June 27, 2011
Unwritten Rules...(Of the Road)
Everyone should go to driving school...and then forget almost everything they learned...almost. Perhaps I’m being too critical and too simplistic, but there are just some certain aspects of driving that people need to pay more attention to. This post wasn’t written to promote bad driving practices...but let’s be honest, not everyone drives according to the text book, and the textbook doesn’t address the reality of the way people drive.
There are certain specifics I think people should pay attention to that I think would lessen the potential for accidents and eliminate the reaction of road rage. I’d like to address lane changing, indicators (probably better known as turn signals), using the passing lane, and traffic lights.
Lane Changing: Why? Sometimes I ask myself why when I see someone change lanes...and nothing else changes. I’m not one for doing things “just because” and I just don’t see the logic in that mentality when driving. I’m a fast driver, I’ll admit it. I’ll do five or nine miles over the speed limit. When I’m on a two lane road and I see a line of cars ahead of me in the right lane doing five or nine miles below the speed limit, I’m grateful that they’ve left me an unobstructed path to travel. Then, as if planned by the universe itself, one of the cars changes lanes. With no increase in speed at all, I find myself asking...why? Why not just stay where you were since nothing has changed for you besides the lane? What was the purpose of the lane change? I change lanes for one of three reasons...to make a turn, to pass someone or to let someone pass. If none of those events are happening, then I don’t see the purpose of changing lanes...and are left with one question when I’m held hostage by needless maneuvers...why?
Indicators: Most people call them turn signals although they are used for more than just turning. I call them indicators because their use indicates something is happening or about to happen. Ever come to a red light behind a car in the left lane with no flashing signal...and the second the light turns green, they signal that they want to turn against oncoming traffic? Why? Why didn’t you already have your indicator flashing so as I was driving up I knew not pull up behind you because you’re not going anywhere? Instead, I become a hostage again as traffic in the right lane zooms by, and oncoming traffic continues as if you don’t exist, making it impossible for you to turn. Also, how about turning the vehicle...to show some intent. Keeping it straight with the indicator flashing isn’t taken seriously...at least not in Boston.
Passing Lane: I know I’ve touched on this already, but I have to say it again. The passing lane is for passing. That means you passing someone or...and hold on to your hat here...someone else passing you! I don’t understand somebody that travels in the passing lane (the far left lane for those that don’t know) and refuses to move over for a vehicle that clearly is traveling faster in the same lane. I mean, everyone moves for the state trooper that pulls up behind you, why not anyone else that does the same thing? The fact is, you are driving too slow. Too slow is simply relative to how fast the person behind you is going. You might think 70 MPH is fast enough, but the vehicle behind you doing 85 MPH has a different view. Just move. Human nature will make that person try to pass on the right lane, something they shouldn’t do, because you wouldn’t move to the right lane for faster traffic...something you should do!
Traffic Lights: Traffic is backed up, the intersection looms in front of you and the last car through hasn’t fully cleared the intersection. Why, oh why...would you pull out into the intersection and come to a stop and block traffic? Don’t tell me...you’re light was green...uh-huh. Could you not understand that if traffic is not moving when your light is green...it won’t be moving when your light is red? So now the light is red, opposing traffic has a green light...and you’re blocking traffic because you can’t figure out this scenario before it happens. I’ll make it easy...if the car in front of you can’t clear the intersection on a green light, STOP before the intersection so that you are not blocking traffic when your light turns red.
I think the really sad part to all of this is that nobody that needs to read all this is going to see it. Those that don’t understand what to do when they get behind the wheel will still make driving miserable for those of us that do. It’s a shame really. I implore anyone reading this that knows somebody that does any of these egregious acts of ridiculousness to get this information in front of them. Bring them here...so I can explain the unwritten rules...of the road.