Monday, November 15, 2010

Road Rage #1

Oh those crazy Wisco drivers.
As the #1 in the title should tip you off, this is going to be a series as I have a lot of issues to discuss related to driving.

Whenever someone says: “I’m a good driver.” it means they aren’t. This is pretty much a statistically proven fact. My authority and sample size for this fact is the countless times someone has told me they are a great driver…and then they are horrible.

So I never say I’m a good driver; I say I am a defensive driver, I am an assertive driver, but never a “good” driver. Because guess what? 98% of the people out there are bad drivers. Since so many people seem to lack basic driving skills and knowledge, or perhaps the common sense to carry that knowledge out, I have compiled a list of common mistakes people make and little tips to help them out. Feel free to pass this on to any “bad” drivers you may know as they might legitimately not know these, or have simply forgotten or gotten lazy. There is nothing like a friendly “here’s a list of stuff you suck at” email to brighten someone’s day. Is it brightening your day right now??

As a caveat, these are general rules and guidelines and by no means a replacement for the driver . This is more my personal “driving etiquette” and some of the things I say in here are completely illegal. So even though I say you can do them, I am not (as much as I probably should be) the enforcer of anything driving related. So if your goal was to print this out and keep it in your glove box and then hand it to a police officer when you get pulled over…well, good luck with that and don’t give them my name.

1.) Merging onto a Highway. When you merge onto a highway, you should be speeding up during this process so that you enter the highway at the same speed that traffic is going. If you need some help knowing about what speed that should be, they have these little signs on the side of the road that say SPEED LIMIT in bold/all caps letters. This is actually good advice no matter when you are driving. For those folks living in Wisconsin, the speed limit on the highway is generally 65mph, but you should probably read those signs anyway as this isn’t always a given.
This is what they look like; now you know. I guess knowledge is power.
If you are unaware why it is a good idea to be going the same speed of traffic, think of it this way. If a bunch of balls are going in a circular track really fast and then you put one really dumb slow moving ball made of lead in front of a fast ball….it’s going to get hit, OR that ball is going to have to swing around you because you are a moron and disrupting traffic and possibly hit another ball, or cause another ball to swerve, etc.

Bottom line, just speed up before you get onto the highway. Should you be uncomfortable merging onto a  highway or going that fast, DO NOT DRIVE ON THE HIGHWAY.

Here is an example of someone who shouldn't be driving on the highway.  As you can see, if you have a pink lei hanging form your mirror, beads, or any sort of item that is pink and fluffy...don't drive on the highway or someone will hit you (and that someone might be me).

 2.) BlinkersGod created blinkers for you to use them. As much as you might think that flashing light is merely a pretty accessory to your car, or maybe something to amuse your drunk friend or child, it was actually engineered and put on your vehicle for a very specific and useful purpose. While you might know what you are planning to do, such as turning left in a block…as hard as this may be to believe, the blinker is designed to let other people know what you’re doing so they can be aware of this and plan accordingly. For example, if you’re going to be turning left, I might switch into the right lane so that I don’t have to sit there for 2 minutes waiting for you to get an opportunity to go left through oncoming traffic and then you get through at the last minute on the yellow and I get stuck at the red light and have an aneurysm.

If you are unsure where the blinker is located, please reference the above diagram.  And yes, this is official.
his actually leads me to my third point...

3.) Signs. Those signs in the city that say “No left turn from 8am-9am and 3pm-6pm”, well those are shockingly also put there for a reason. Traffic is really busy during that time and so if you try and turn left there….you’re probably going to end up in the middle of the intersection for the entire light and then go through when it’s yellow. That’s great for you but it creates a really long line behind you of traffic that is now getting in the way of other intersections. I understand that I am basing this on the premise that whoever holds up traffic at this hour actually can read, but if they can’t, I’m insulting them anyway and they will never know….because they sure can’t read this.

I'm in a bright color so that you can see me!

There is an exception to this rule. If there is no one around (including police officers), by all means............gun it. But I didn’t tell you that.

4.) The Fast Lane. There are a lot of rules and etiquette on what can happen in this elusive mysterious lane. Okay, it’s not really elusive or mysterious, but that sounded cool. I’m taking this down to basics because apparently people have difficulty with this. The left lane is the fast lane. Are you still following me? Great, let’s move on.

You know those signs that state “Slower Traffic Move to the Right”….well, read that, then read the above bolded and underlined sentence again. Now back to the traffic sign…now back to the above sentence. … are you getting this?

This is one of my all time top pet peeves (and yes, I have a lot of them), and this is probably because I like to go fast. Safe, but fast. Because no, I don’t want to waste my life sitting in my car in traffic. I want to go places, I want to do things. And watching your car drive really slow is not high on my list.

If you are going 2 miles per hour over the speed limit, that does not entitle you to be in the fast lane. This isn’t a subjective: “I’m going fast for me” standard. Look around you, does someone want to go faster than you? Move to the right. This also causes problems because people that want to drive faster than you have to switch to the right lane to pass you, which is more dangerous.

So do yourself a favor and stay in the right lane unless you’re passing someone (which you probably aren’t).

Look forward to more posts related to driving including such exciting topics as: Senior Citizens, Texting while driving, winter driving, parking, and many more.

Until then, safe driving.
Have you noticed I like drawing cars?

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