What Did I Do?

This will be the last of my traffic rants. I promise. At least for a little while. Unless, of course a new kind of jackass evolves. I’ve written about special people and special people on the highway before. Today, I’m going to focus on the special people on the neighborhood streets where we begin and end our journeys.

If you’re wondering about the title, frequently, when I encounter these people, despite the fact that they are in the wrong, I get the puzzled look, or the gesture or the horn-honk.

Note: The drawings are linked pair. Click anywhere to view them as a mini-slide-show.

The Corner Cutter – Remember Driver’s Ed? They taught us to ALWAYS stay in our lane. They drew diagrams to help us form a mental 90° curved corner. Although they cautioned us against doing it, they reminded us that: “people turning left onto a side street and people turning right, from that same street, should be able to travel together.”

Not no more they can’t.

Corner cutters want to reduce that 90° to two 45°s, and they want to do it through the space I’m in. The number of times a car turning left onto the street I’m on, crosses through the crosswalk in front of me is scary. The number of times I get the look is absurd.

The Inverse Corner Cutter – My wife often criticizes me for not signaling. I do signal, a least when there are people around to see my signal. One place where I am tempted to stop signaling is when I’m approaching an intersection where I am planning to turn right and a person is stopped in the side street, planning to turn left.

This is the nicest place to signal. My signal means that that person can go. Except, they very often go through my lane so that I have to stop. And then I get the look.

Just Go Folks – My afternoon commute brings me to an odd intersection where the side street I’m on merges with the main 4-lane road at about 60°. There’s a crosswalk and a left-turn-lane on my street. Stopped behind the crosswalk, I can’t see the cross traffic that’s approaching. If I crank my head around like Linda Blair, I can see the traffic, but I can no longer see the crosswalk. If a minivan, SUV or a truck pulls up on my left, I can’t see the traffic. You see a pattern? I sit at this light until it turns green.

Most people seem to understand why I’m waiting. I get honked at, from time to time, but I ignore the honkers. The best time this happened was when I ignored a honker because there was a truck next to me. A School Bus passed on the cross street. Our light turned green. I pulled out. The honker pulled out, sped up and tried to pass me, only to find the School Bus waiting to turn left off the main road. Karma :)

I Can Beat You Folks – Also known as The School Bus Disaster Waiting to Happen – I often follow a School Bus through a neighborhood on my way home. At one point, the driver stops beyond the intersection with a side street. One day, a car coming toward bus wanted to turn left onto that side street. A kid getting off bus proceeded to cross the side street. I was stopped behind bus. As soon as the bus pulled out, the car in the other lane tried to turn left ahead of me. The bus was blocking his view of the child, whom he almost ran over.

I Know Where the Light is Part-A – There’s an intersection in our town where most of us locals know to stop waaaaay behind the crosswalk. That’s because it’s a tight corner and it gets a lot of truck traffic. There is No Turn On Red at this corner, but I often get honked at by a guy behind me with his right turn-signal on. “Sorry dude. Yeah, you can give me the look, I’m used to it.”

I Know Where the Light is Part-B – I know that if I pull though the crosswalk and block the intersection, that I (and the guy behind me) will probably be able to scoot through the light after it turns red. Unfortunately, I flunked my driver’s test in Washington because I didn’t stop behind “the implied crosswalk” and I once racked-up two tickets in two days for going through a red light. I’m gonna stop, and I’m gonna stop behind the crosswalk.

70 thoughts on “What Did I Do?

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  1. Hopefully, people will behave better in their cars. Too bad ESP doesn’t work or some kind of telepathic waves sent to another driver. Many times downtown I am in the crosswalk, it says on the crosswalk sign 14 seconds to “walk” and along comes a driver cutting me as a pedestrian off! People are just not caring or maybe as my Dad liked to say the idiots were, “oblivious.” I feel your pain and wish you didn’t have to deal with these poorly abled drivers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. Crosswalks are very dangerous where I work. People speed by, even when 2-3 pedestrians are in the crosswalk. And, there’s a sign that says “State Law – Drivers Must Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk!” – I’m going with your father on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan… traffic is definitely a rant-worthy topic. It’s kept me living in an utterly over priced dump that hasn’t been upgraded since the 70s for eight years — just because it’s only a mile from my office. That’s how much I hate traffic.
    One more thing that’s frightening about traffic is being on a shuttle bus (between campuses) with a driver who is ranting about traffic, apparently a hair away from a psychotic break into all out road rage. ;) Have a better week,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. My solution it to leave arrive an hour early for work, to beat the traffic. I can’t fix the local stuff though, but I can shake my head.

      Have a great week, and be careful out there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just think; some day our cars will communicate with each other and work all this out with out us even knowing it. I wonder if there will be settings that you can select; courteous driver, average driver, or a-hole driver???

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A sad reminder that some folks were just meant to take the bus. I know it’s not practical but wouldn’t it be nice if folks had to re-take their written and practical driving tests say once every 5 years or so? We could weed out some of the worst ones this way – I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be better than my idea to arm my car with phasers. I would love to take public transportation, but it would turn 20-30 minute commute into 1:45. And around town? Not an option until I’m old enough to ride the old-people van.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, Dan, I agree with your rants. However, I’m “one of those people” who tend to not stop behind the implied crosswalk (except when I know there are people waiting to cross at that moment), but I’m working on that. I am on the other side of the fence now, on my bicycle, when I want to cross the intersection and someone has the nose of their car directly over the top of my path. I’ll try harder…

    Something I really hate (and I’ll try to explain without diagram) is when I have a car facing me on the same road, at the intersection, preparing to make a left turn. I want to make a right turn. The road we are turning onto is two lanes. Therefore, driver making the left-hand turn decides that right-of-way Mary can simply turn right and stay in the right-hand lane while he turns left at the exact same time. Except right-turn Mary wants to immediately get in the left-hand lane to make the next left a half block away. This has been driving me crazy for years and I often wanted to ask a police officer if left-hand turner’s practice is legal or not. It happens far too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A few tickets will cure you of that implied crosswalk thing – it did for me. Sometimes, you have to pull up, in order to see, but I try to stop first.

      The situation you describe bothers me as well. I mean, I know we both fit, technically, but it doesn’t leave room for the action you describe. The result is, you get to go first and then wait :(

      I also get honked at when I don’t have enough room to _safely_ pass a bicycle and I lag behind them until the oncoming traffic clears.

      I could have a whole rant about cars and bicycles, but unfortunately, fewer people would agree with my “be kind to cyclists” attitude – at least around here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve definitely learned courtesy to bicyclist and bikers of the motorized persuasion due to experience. I think unless you’ve been on either or both, you don’t get how vehicle driving habits can be unsafe or annoying to the bike people. My favorite (not) is the driver who tailgates a biker. Bad idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t even let myself get going here except to say that I drive a lot and have seen so much of what you talk about and more. Not even going there this morning, just chuckling ironically at your post. The angels in charge of traffic must work overtime or there would be so many more accidents and deaths!

    janet
    who will be driving 2 1/2 hours later this morning and hope to not see any dumb/bad drivers (Yeah, right!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I experience all these, too! The madness of thinking of left-turn-makers are about to hit me head-on is bad for my anxiety!
    Also, that school bus thing — I’ll never understand it. Do people not know who rides the school bus?!? Have they themselves never ridden a school bus?!? How can they not know how it works?!?
    People are too special for me, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After so many times of saying “where’s a cop when you need one?” When you have that situation, it’s priceless. And, I love drawing the diagrams – so thanks :)

      Like

  8. You drawings were so perfect, Dan. And yes, the crazies will always be on the road. And I am with your wife on the signal thing. I always use my blinker no matter what lane I am in….just a little heads up to the guy behind me to remind him that this is a ‘right turn only lane.’ Then, of course, he will have to scoot to the left (quickly, I am sure!) and avoid a collision with the driver who was in the correct lane to start. **sigh** it is always something….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I love drawing these diagrams, so when I thought about it and realized that I could, it became a much more fun post. I do use my blinkers. However, when alone at an intersection, I tend to skip it. My wife, always, always always always uses hers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just love your illustrations, Dan. LOL Matters not to me but I drive defensively and even if I get honked at, I will not take a chance. It’s not worth it. Really enjoyed your post and explanations of those who wreak havoc on our roads. Hope you had a good weekend and this week is a bit calmer then last week for you. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t usually mention my travels while I’m out of town, Amy. I was in New Orleans from Sunday afternoon until Friday night. Non-stop schedule. I had my posts scheduled but it was so hard to keep up on reading.

      Thanks for reading and for being s defensive driver. We need more of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew from a remark you made that you had an extremely challenging week last week. This week’s pace seems to be a bit more “peaceful”. Thank goodness!!! I’m just now going through the pictures from the Eternal Flame photoshoot choosing which ones to show. One post done!!! HURRAY! It feels just so darn good to sit, edit and write. It’s very chilly here (again) and rainy, so I am not about to go out to garden and suffer. The cold is really affecting my knees this year. I HOPE this is just a healing phase I am going through since my back was adjusted to get my spine aligned properly. Anyways …. So glad you made it back home in one piece. :)

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Don’t I know. I feel like a completely different person in warmth and sunshine. Every winter I say I don’t know how I will survive. Yet I do. Now to get this body just as strong as it was last spring/summer. :)

              Liked by 1 person

  10. I think we all have our traffic stories, but we sure don’t tell them as well as you do. I normally stay in the right hand lane on the highway so I’m not competing with anyone but some folks go around me like I haven’t turned the ignition. Oh well, here’s hoping they get to where they are going in one piece. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Okay, first, I really like it when you make diagrams like this, Dan. They gave me a good chuckle today — despite the fact that none of this behaviour by the other drivers is anything to laugh at. But I must say, my mouth dropped open when I got to the last one — not a word of a lie, I failed MY driving test because I refused to pull ahead and wait in the intersection until the light turned red to make a left! I argued that it’s illegal to block the intersection — what if an ambulance needs to come through?? Also illegal to blow through a red light! So why would I be expected to break the law — TWICE — on a driving test?? But nope. Fail. Maybe I need to move to Washington.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or I need to move to your neck of the woods. How can they fail you for obeying the law?

      I’m glad you like the diagrams. I love drawing them. Lacking any real artistic talent, when I can
      Illustrate a point, I’m pretty happy :)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great diagrams today Dan! I can relate. There’s a lot of people in too much of hurry and have a lead foot.

    Doesn’t the school bus have a sign that says to stay back kids crossing, and they have flashing lights when the kid is going to cross? They used to when I was a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The school bus has all that Deborah, but the driver pulls away before the kid gets across the street. As much as I don’t want to be sitting behind this bus any longer than I need to, I think it should wait longer, or stop on the side where the kid lives. I guess it’s not that easy, the child goes different directions on some days. Maybe he’s going home, or to a friend, or…

      I end up behind this bus at least once a week. I wait now, blocking the intersection, until the kid crosses.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it’s a case of misery loving company, but I’m glad to hear that this isn’t just New England drivers being New England drivers. Unfortunately, someone will get hurt because of these people.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’ve reminded me of why I dislike driving, Dan. It’s not the activity itself I hate – it’s the fact that some other road users are just like the ones you’ve posted about. To be fair, it’s mostly in the larger towns and cities where I find them, and I’m usually a passenger in the car in those places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it might be harder to be a passenger, Jean. I’d rather be in control than wondering. I see the corner-cutters in our little town. We are outside of a small city, and I guess they are in a hurry to get to or home from work, but they aren’t saving hours by putting me in danger, it’s fractions of a second at best.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great illustrations and diagrams. Sorry to say this, but I was laughing my heart out. I know this is a very serious issue. I usually get so angry with all these lane-cutters, especially young boys on their dirt bikes with young girls who think they’re so cool. In fact, one early morning when I was heading to work, a group of boys went zipping right next to my cab. Later, when my cab reached the bridge, I saw them ramming into a school bus. It was a horrible bloody scene to start my day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was awful. Luckily, nobody died. Just injuries which is what I read in the local news later. I laughed because these same things happen here and I was like – Oh even Dan experiences the same nuisance as I do. In India, people jaywalk all the time, the cars zip by your car just an inch away,so if you put your hand or head out of the window it is likely you’re not going home in one piece.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. It took me a while to stop chuckling at your diagrams, Dan, but now I’m ready to comment! xD Seriously, I enjoyed this post. You say it’s the last of your traffic rants, but I hope that’s not true. Could anything be more universal than traffic irritations? Like your other readers, I can really relate to these scenarios.

    At one end of my street, for example, I encounter the same problem with people who, as they turn from the cross street, cut it way too short. Worse, as I make my approach, the trees shield me from view until the last second. The only way I can keep the turn-cutters from clipping my bumper is by approaching the stop very slowly. And I honestly avoid being a hypocrite — I always make the full 90-degree turn when I’m coming back.

    Here’s hoping you do another traffic one sometime. Perhaps a video of you demonstrating the situations with Matchbox cars could stand in for your, um, unique sketches? I mean, HEARING the “honk”, “vroom”, and “screech” may be even better than reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. H ha – thanks Paul. I’ll probably return to this topic from time to time, as long as I continue committing to work each day. So many idiots, so little blog space. Do you remember the toy cars we used to have that were spring-loaded and would fly apart if they hit something? I wonder if they still make those?

      The corner cutters are the worst. Wednesday night, I made a full 90 degree turn onto a highway on-ramp. The guy behind me cut the corner, through the off-ramp lane and almost hit me in the driver’s door!

      As for my “sketches” let’s just say that I don’t have a “girl Friday” :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good question! Those cars sound familiar, though my strongest recollection is of setting up those yellow tracks — complete with loops! — for Matchbox cars. (You’re talking to someone who was a huge fan of Speed Racer.) There were a lot of fun toys like that then. I know video games are enjoyable, but I hate the thought of kids today not getting to just PLAY with actual toys. Something low-tech that lets you use your imagination more. Ah, well. Glad to hear future traffic posts are possible, even without an assistant!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My daughter and I made up a game with dominoes and friction-motor matchbook size 4×4 trucks. I have to find some of the photos and tell that story someday. You’re so right about using your imagination. I remember those tracks.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. There is No Turn On Red at this corner, but I often get honked at by a guy behind me with his right turn-signal on. “Sorry dude. Yeah, you can give me the look, I’m used to it.”

    Thanks in part to my anxiety disorder, I am a rather hard adherent to the rules on the road, speed limits, coming to a full stop at a stop sign, and no turn on red. One of the times I realized I was having a bipolar meltdown was coming back from the hardware store in a very good mood I just missed the light on a no turn on red spot. I immediately looked in my rear view mirror to see some guy in a mini-van pull up behind me, then throw up his arms in the “WTF” manner. I thought to myself, already enraged at another one “law-abiding citizen” who thinks they have the right to decide which laws they have to follow and which ones they don’t, “If you honk at me…”

    I guy honked.

    Before I knew I it I was out of my car and up at his window screaming “Do you see that sign over there! No turn on red, a******! Don’t you ever f****** honk your horn at me, again!” I then noticed the light had turned green and dashed to car and took off.

    I don’t condone the action (and having never done such a thing before, unsettled by it right afterwards), but it does feel good to finally tell one of them what i really felt.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. lol. of course one should always get a good look of the driver (and any possible passengers) to ensure one doesn’t engage someone who might take the confrontation up a notch. ;)

        [given this was small town Indiana, i risked having my “conversation” with some form of a gun]

        Liked by 1 person

        1. As you say, it isn’t a recommended approach. I confronted a man who was honking at my daughter to turn on red while she was learning to drive. I didn’t do it at the intersection but we all ended up at the same store. I pointed out that she still had her permit and I didn’t appreciate his behavior.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Sorry for the late response; was out of the country and I’m catching up. Feel your peeves; always warn my wife to watch corner turns cause in our neighborhood there are too many cars and not enough curb parking so the clueless park on the corners (blocking the expensive handicap ramps we are mandated to build) and you have to swing wide on right turns putting you in the path of corner cutters and likewise, I remind the wife to do 90 degree angle turns to avoid the cars trying to get around the illegal curve parkers.
    But as I said, just returned from out of the country (was in Shanghai) and noticed that if they had traffic rules or regs no one pays any attention to them at all. Pedestrians have no right of way if they have the green light and are stepping into the crosswalk; the minute you step off the curve to walk and a cab approaches the stop light waiting to make a right turn they don’t stop at all and pedestrians have to stop of dodge the oncoming car or, if you are almost to the other side of the street thinking you are safe some idiot will make a left turn and drive right in front of you forcing you to stop walking. I could never drive there and walking around there is also a risk. Some our homegrown traffic scofflaws are pussycats compared to what I saw in Shanghai.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding to the rant energy. I’ve heard about drivers/driving in other countries. I guess we should count our blessings, but these people are dangerous. A good friend of mine, who lives in Boston, told me that he never crosses at the light. “That’s where you get hit.” Since then, whenever I’m in Boston, I cross in the middle of the block. It actually is less complicated.

      Like

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