Sunday, April 29, 2007

Driving Etiquette

Two driving etiquette issues:

1. A situation that has often occurred: I'm in the middle lane waiting to turn left across two lanes of traffic. Someone coming the other way in the inner lane decides to stop to let me turn. But I can't -- because there's a stream of cars coming towards me in the outermost lane, and they're not stopping. So I wave at the person to go ahead and go, i.e., to stop waiting for me and blocking traffic unnecessarily in their own lane. But then the person waves back, as if to say, "Hey, I'm being polite here, you go ahead and turn." So is there a symbol or signal that says, "No, really, I can't possibly turn right now; you're only clearing one lane of traffic; if you don't go ahead and drive, we'll be sitting here for a long time"?

2. Here's a little quiz. Suppose you are driving down a two-lane road, you're nearing a hill or a curve, and you see a runner or a bicyclist on your side of the road. What do you do?

A. Whiz right by the runner or bicyclist as close as possible, without slowing down.

B. Swerve out into the middle of the road.

C. Slow down and swerve into the middle of the road.

People who do A are jerks. B is better, but it's still a very bad idea, because there could very well be another car approaching from the other side of the curve or the hill, and if you are hurtling toward that car at top speed in the middle of the road, well, you're going to be in a tight situation.

A similar rule applies if you see a runner or cyclist on the opposite of the road near a curve or hill. Even though you don't need to swerve yourself, you should still slow down, just in case some not-very-smart driver coming the other way is about to swerve into your lane.


Blogger Unknown said...

My (simpler) advice: (a) try to follow the law (only if you are worried about a citation) and (b) be safe. If you can do so by driving 90 mph and whizzing by, then fine.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Roger Sweeny said...

As a bicyclist, I suggest d) neither swerve into the opposing lane nor drive close to the cyclist. There should be enough room for everyone.

No one should be cycling on a high speed road unless there is a substantial shoulder so (s)he can ride well out of traffic.

5:32 PM  

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