Archive for the ‘ Unspoken Etiquette ’ Category

Tuesdays: Unspoken Etiquette

Here we are again….sharing some information with our fellow drivers that I used to think was an obvious, however some people just dont get it. Have you ever come up to make a left hand turn and you are coming up to the turn in the median and the other idiot is in “your lane”?! Or you ever gotten in the correct area and the other oncoming driver is perturbed and gives you a menacing look or even yells obsenities? I have experienced that. So to fill in the uninformed drivers I am here to explain how and WHY a left had turn is the way it is.

Here in Houston we do have some of the WRONG setups for making a left hand turn, typically across oncoming traffic. A turn like this one typically puts you to where you can’t see the oncoming traffic and neither can the other driver in front of you trying to make their own left hand turn.

Why the turns are setup this way I have no clue. Maybe the city of Houston wants you to get into an accident, how else do tow truck drivers, insurance companies, lawyers, the court system or anyone else that would be involved in a collision case make any money?

Now we come to a regular u-turn or left hand turn median setup. Ok now in the USA, we drive on the right hand side of the road. So you would think that in logic, when turning you would go past and make your left handed turn from the right side of the turn intersection. Instead, alot of people want to turn as soon as possible and end up on the narrow side of the turn, with the oncoming car forced to do the same, now you have two foolish drivers craning their necks around in an attempt to look through the car in front of them to see if any traffic is coming. WRONG.

When making a turn like this, you go past and turn on the right side, each driver has a clear view of the oncoming traffic and can safely make their turn. If only everyone would somehow be informed of this, you wouldnt have me yelling obsenities at the idiots who dont follow this practice when making a left turn.


Its all about being safe. So please share the roads responsibly, be courteous and drive like you have some friggin common sense!!

AJD

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Tuesdays: Unspoken Etiquette

For the most part, most of city dwellers are familiar with the rules of the road….as they apply in city driving. Essentially drive as fast as you can, get there before the driver in the lane next to you, honk alot, there’s an orange signal between yellow and red, so on and so forth. Every once in a while some of us venture out of our cityscapes, past the suburbs and rural areas out into the country. Traveling from one city to the next. In places where roads are 1 lane in each direction and the lane dividers alternate between dashed yellow lines, double solid lines, and dashed with solid on your side or oncoming traffic’s side. On these ventures there is a technique whose practice helps making driving safe when passing someone, but both parties need to be aware.

Flashing. Your lights that is. I have travelled many a times where it was night time and I needed to pass the slow driver, so I flashed my lights. TYPICALLY the driver in front being passed understands this gesture and eases over into the shoulder (when available) and allows the driver behind him to pass. Apparently some people dont understand this dynamic of a relationship and do not ease over. In these cases you take advantage of the dashed yellow line, meaning it is safe to jump over and pass via the oncoming traffic lane. Obviously if there is no oncoming traffic!! The other version of the dashed yellow line is accompanied by a solid yellow line. This line jumps from one side to the other. If the solid line is on your side, it means YOU can NOT pass but someone in the oncoming lane can pass a slow driver on that side of the road. Obviously given that you aren’t coming at them in your lane!

This all would be so much easier if the slow driver in front of you just eased over allowing you to pass. A courtesy extended and initiated by a simple flash of your high beams. I also usually flash my emergency blinkers a couple times after passing as a thank you to the driver for easing over.

Flashing your headlights can be helpful for many other things….I usually use them for flashing fools at night in oncoming traffic that have their highbeams on blinding all of us headed in their direction. Also, I flash oncoming traffic to alert them of a speed trap up ahead. For you, is the flashing of the highbeams useful at all?

From Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlight_flashing

“Historically, law enforcement officers give citations for headlight flashing under three types of laws: (1) laws prohibiting a person from obstructing a police investigation, (2) laws prohibiting a person from having flashing lights on their vehicle, and (3) laws prohibiting shining a vehicle’s high beams at oncoming traffic. The specific language of each law varies by state along with courts’ holdings on whether their respective laws prohibit headlight flashing. Additionally, although not legally binding, the state driver’s manual of some states suggests flashing high beams under specific scenarios (e.g. if an oncoming vehicle is using its high beams, driver’s manuals suggest a motorist flash his or her high beams).” for example “In Tennessee, flashing headlights to warn oncoming traffic of a police car ahead is protected free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” where as “In Washington, high beam flashing is illegal. Washington law prohibits flashing one’s high beams within 400 feet of another vehicle, including using them to signal for any reason.”

Tuesdays: Unspoken etiquette

Have you ever been riding next to a car who is behind you in next lane, the moment you put on your signal, they speed up, not letting you in? As if to say, “hell no, you aren’t getting in front of me…get your a$$ behind me!!” Maybe that kind of stuff only happens to me, but I doubt it.

Or how about when the situation is reversed?! You slow down to let someone in, is it too much to ask to expect a little thank you hand wave gesture in the mirror? I know I see some people do it and others not, but I havent really observed enough to guess if its more a certain race, age group, sex, or what is an underlying similarity for the people who do extend the courtesy of the thank you hand wave. Is it even necessary?! If not, why does anyone do it at all? I usually try to do it…an aknowledgement of your courtesy for allowing or assisting in my entering or exiting traffic. I try to make sure mine is visible or when a thank you is extended to me I raise my hand in a “think nothing of it” response.

Courtesy on the road. We lack it so much these days. Most people don’t even know when a situation is meriting a thank you because we are all self-serving, self-involved drivers who can’t get our minds off our phones and onto the road.

Just a little observation of mine on the roads. Remember say thanks when thanks are due and you might get a happy “you’re welcome” back. Or keep driving oblivious of your fellow drivers you are sharing the road with and you will be getting a slightly different hand gesture. The bird.

AJD

Tuesdays: Unspoken Etiquette

45South exit at South Loop

I thought Tuesdays would be a good day to share some of what I think are good Etiquette rules of the road. At least somewhere along the way, I learned them to be. Or perhaps I invented them in my head and expect my fellow drivers to honor them as we share the road. For today’s example I can give a specific example. Here in Houston there is a freeway exit I used to frequent and came into this scenario on many occasions.

The exit for 45 South (Gulf Freeway) at 6-10 (South Loop) is a one lane exit, and gets a long queue during traffic hours, which in Houston is pretty much all day. While the patient, courteous drivers wait in the line to get off of 6-10 and on to I-45, some drivers feel the need to drive all the way up to the last instant where there is no more room anymore, STOP, put on their blinker and insist on edging their way in. Now mind you I appreciate the use of the blinker, because ALOT of drivers don’t even extend that courtesy. However, what gives you the right to bypass waiting in the queue and basically cutting ahead in line?! In my earlier years, these culprits would have been met with a middle finger from me as well as my bumper riding forcing them to get in behind me. Small victory to me in my head. On one occasion a guy got all agitated, until I stopped and began to open my door, which triggered him to drive away and try this rude behavior again tomorrow. Ahhh to be young and wreckless.

Maybe this practice isnt a big deal, although it is a major pet peeve of mine. I have seen on one occasion a motorcycle officer forcing the people that tried to do that to move on. Not because of the sense of unfairness cutting in line, but because they are coming to a complete stop in an open lane on the freeway and could, and probably have, cause an accident just to save some time from waiting in the queue.

Please don’t become THAT driver that thinks they are better than everyone else. Trust me, I’ll shove my Ford Escape right up your Land Rover’s tailpipe. Driving a luxury vehicle doesnt give anyone impunity from respecting the people they share the open roads with.

AJD

by the way, that image is a photoshop attempt to show the scenario I was referring to, and is not an actual Google maps snapshot of it actually happening.