Thursday, January 15, 2015

About That Driving...

Oddly enough, this has nothing to do with snow, even though schools were closed yesterday because we had a dusting that didn't even stick (not kidding, BTW).

No, we need to have a discussion about green lights. Specifically, how to act when you approach one. You see, there's this intersection I come to every day where I - and many other commuters - take a right. There's a traffic light, and our side has two lanes turning left. The other side of the intersection is a dead end and often only has one or two cars.

Well, the geniuses that set up the intersection put both left turns on the same light. Which means that the light stays that way for quite some time, as the cars on our side are numerous, while the other side is done quickly. You would think this would mean a lot more on our side would make it through the red light (after stopping , of course), RIGHT?

Ha!

People can't even make it through a green light here. The road we cross is a main drag, and there are two lanes turning left into where I am. This means my light has a green arrow, since no traffic is coming anywhere near the lane (my lane) turning right. Again, you would think that making a right turn on a green arrow would be easy.

You would be wrong.

It frequently takes two light cycles to get through this light, because cars often leave 5, 6, 7, or more car lengths getting through the light. Often, one car turns, and is a good pace down the road before the next car turns. On a green light...

Right turn on a green light is not hard, people...

That is all.

5 comments:

Armed Texan said...

I noticed the right green arrows popping up back in Dallas around 15 years ago or so. Since then, people still don't believe them. I also noticed that some of these right green arrows have the red above them lit simultaneously; which is just stupid.

Also, something that people in the city often get wrong: In Texas at least, people turning right do not need to stop for a read IF the right turn lane is divided physically from the other lanes. In other words, when you have that pedestrian island that they put in some intersections between the right turn lane and the other lanes, there is no legal prohibition on driving through as long as you yield for pedestrians and traffic in the destination lane.

Sigivald said...

I also noticed that some of these right green arrows have the red above them lit simultaneously; which is just stupid.

The point there is to remind people that people not turning right still have to stop.

This is important because people are dumb.

And even non-dumb people sometimes glance up, see green, and think "go".

Red is a reminder that there's more going on than just "go"...

Old NFO said...

Confusion... THAT is what the problem is... sigh

Chris said...

But the confusion is exacerbated by the almost universal lack of attention given by most drivers (it's just as bad in Maryland) to the act of driving. Talking on mobile phones (hand held or not), fiddling with the radio, reading, eating, swatting the kids or pets, talking to passengers, putting on makeup, daydreaming, etc., etc. (Sometimes multiples of the above.)I once saw someone brushing his teeth while driving on the Capital Beltway!

Seeing drivers allow those 5-6 car lengths when finally getting a green light, thereby limiting the number of cars that make it through (regardless of left, right, or straight ahead), can get maddening during rush hours. But the majority of drivers seem to be of Irish descent: the O'Blivious clan. ;-)

The Old Man said...

It appears that most of your local drivers are just plain progressive. The cure I have applied is to replace my Wrangler horn with a 130 DB air horn (needed 30 amp rewiring, but I couldn't find a train horn, which I wanted).
A blast will usually clear the fog from the lo-info driver's mind. If not, the proper reply to the digitus impudicus is to steer DIRECTLY at the cockpit. Although this has resulted in the loss of Starbucks and/or jagged mascara, it tends to keep the traffic moving. YMMV.
Usually my Vietnam veteran plates are sufficient to convince them of the better part of valor....