Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Speeding Towards The Red Light

When you're driving, and the traffic light up ahead has just turned yellow, then red, do you still step on the gas and speed towards it?  Then at the last minute, do you step hard on your brakes, causing your car to lean forward and then lurch back sharply when coming to a stop?

Why do you do that?  I guess if you're trying to get into the left turn lane in time for the next arrow, I understand it then, but otherwise, it makes no sense to me. If you're trying to beat me to the red light, then, well, congratulations, I guess. You win.

I'm no car expert, but it seems that doing this would cause you to use more gas and wear out your brakes faster.  You're also really counting on your brakes to work perfectly. Luckily that usually happens. But as someone who was once sitting at a red light, and watched in their rear view mirror as a fast approaching car coming from behind DIDN'T manage to stop in time...  well, maybe that's why I'm a bit sensitive to it.  It's just one of my driver pet peeves.

So I guess my advice is, if the light ahead has just turned red, slow down!  You have nowhere to go, and you can save a little gas with a little coasting.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slower Traffic Keep Right

My mind seems to be on traffic pet peeves these days so here's one more.

When you're on a multi-lane highway or freeway, with at least 3 lanes in each direction, it used to be common knowledge that slower traffic should stay to the right lane, and as cars wanted to drive faster, they would move to lanes to the left.

There were signs that said "Slower Traffic Keep Right" but I don't see those much anymore. So I wonder if people still know or follow that basic premise, that as you want to drive faster, you move a lane to the left.

You often see people zipping up the right lane, going fast, passing everyone. And in the far left lane, also known as the fast lane, or passing lane, you see people there, driving too slow, compared to how traffic is moving. This forces other drivers to go around them on the right.

Is it true that some drivers get into that left lane, and purposely drive exactly the speed limit, just to teach other drivers a lesson, that they shouldn't be speeding? I've heard some do and that seems silly. And dangerous. If people want to speed, they're going to do it. Blocking the flow of traffic in the fast lane doesn't teach anything, it just annoys other drivers and could encourage them to try more dangerous maneuvers, as they weave through traffic.

We're all in such a hurry, it's easy to lose our temper while driving. What they used to teach as "Defensive driving" I like to call "Driving as if every driver around you may be about to do something really dumb." It's hard to stay calm sometimes, and other drivers will occasionally do something really dumb.

While some traffic rules seem silly, most are designed to keep traffic moving safely. So, take a deep breath, stay calm and if you don't want to speed, stay to the right and let the speedsters fight it out in the fast lane.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cars No Longer Equipped With Turn Signals

... or so it seems.

Okay, it's not true, but doesn't it seem like it sometimes? Turn signals, indicators, blinkers... call them what you will, but they're a very simple and fairly clever way to give other drivers a little advance warning, so they know what you're about to do, before you do it.  "Yes, I am slowing down, but you see, it's because I'll be turning up ahead."

They're so easy to use, why do so many people choose not to use them?
A simple form of communication, a safety device, and at the very least, a common courtesy to other drivers.

So, unless you're assuming that all the rest of the drivers on the road have ESP and can predict ahead of time every move you're about to make, next time you're about to make a turn or change lanes, just take that one finger and flip on your blinker. Everyone else on the road will be glad you did.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New City, New Year

Moving to a new city is
Exactly what I've done.

Moving is the only time you touch everything you own at least once. And usually you start to wonder where all this stuff came from. But you pack it up and move it with you anyway. Because, well, I might need it! It's a good time to purge out some unwanted things, but we do carry lots of stuff around with us, don't we?

In a new city, a sense of exploration is important. Figuring out where things are, how to best get to where you need to go. Meeting new people. It's fun. Tiring sometimes, and time consuming, but fun.

Many things seem more time consuming these days. There never seems to be enough time to keep up with everything. That seems true now more than ever. How many online accounts do we really need?How many passwords do I have to remember? Check the phone, check emails, check snail mail, check Facebook, and oh yeah, write a post for my blog. Time flies, whether you're having fun or not!

So here I am, in a new city in a new year. 2012. An interesting year. Maybe. Is it the end? An end? A beginning? Or just another year. The end of the world has been predicted before, many times, and yet, here we still are. Nobody knows for sure. So I guess we'll find out.

If 2012 is the end of something,  I have decided to think that maybe it's the end of the world, as we know it. Maybe this year will usher in a better world, a more peaceful world. a happier world. Maybe that sounds very Pollyanna, and usually, I can be as cynical as anybody, but in this one thing, I'm holding out a bit of hope.

"You could say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." John Lennon said it best ... in his own write, of course.

New City, New Year. What will we be saying about 2012 next year at this time?