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Minor Driving Annoyance - Equiraptor's Journal
Minor Driving Annoyance
On my drive to work, I was yet again stuck waiting for a passive driver.

You see, there's this chunk of my drive where I turn left from a minor street onto a major one. The street I'm turning from (Spicewood Parkway) has a stop sign. The more major street (Anderson Mill) has five lanes - two each direction plus a center turn lane (and no stop sign - they have right of way). During rush hour (both morning and evening), there's a lot of traffic on Anderson Mill, and it varies in speed (the speed limit is 35, but some people go as much as 50mph). It can be a challenge to accurately judge distance and speed of oncoming cars. It's an intimidating intersection if you're turning left from Spicewood Parkway to Anderson Mill. The great thing about this is there's a nearby street that intersects Anderson Mill and has a light! There's a map here. Olson Dr. is the street with a light and even a protected left turn onto Anderson Mill. I realise taking Olson is a little bit longer, but it avoids the need to judge oncoming traffic.

If you're not good at judging traffic, or if you're just not an aggressive driver, you're better off just taking Olsen, instead of sitting on Spicewood Parkway, letting a line of cars build up behind you, as you don't turn, and don't turn, and don't turn. If you're either unable or unwilling to turn in the gaps between traffic, but want to wait for a clear road, go down to the street with a light.

I realise not everyone has the same abilities. Sometimes, you're somewhere with an intersection similar to the one at Spicewood Parkway, and you're not comfortable with your judgment and/or your vehicle, and you take your time. That's understandable. Better to avoid a collision and take a bit longer. But in this particular case, there's an option with a light, with a protected left turn, just a couple of blocks (really, not very far at all) further, that will lower your stress and avoid you slowing down more aggressive drivers. Take it - make your life easier and our lives less frustrating.

15 comments | Leave a comment
pasketti From: pasketti Date: September 29th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you could take the street with the light yourself, thus avoiding the issue, and lowering your own stress levels?
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're capable of judging the speed of oncoming traffic, you can fit yourself in holes these people don't. If you can do that, taking Spicewood is significantly faster. If you are unwilling to fit yourself into the smaller holes, it's made slower.

Thus, assuming no one at the end of Spicewood when you reach it, Spicewood is faster if you're aggressive, and slower if you're passive.
eliset From: eliset Date: September 29th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fair feedback, but if Olsen is effectively a faster turn (protected left, versus unknown number of people ahead of you at Anderson), why don't you go that way instead?
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
See my response to Pasketti - when these unaggressive drivers aren't slowing things down, Spicewood is faster. And the kicker is, most drivers are aggressive enough to make Spicewood the faster street, even if there's three or four of us there. It's only when one of the people in line is an exceptionally passive driver that this route is slower. It's only the exceptionally passive drivers I'm complaining at.

Edit: For example, my mother is a very careful driver. She doesn't take many risks and is careful about making turns such as the one from Spicewood to Anderson Mill. She is, however, good at judging the speed of oncoming cars. My mother would be quite an effective driver for that intersection, and isn't in the group I'm complaining at.

Edited at 2008-09-29 02:35 pm (UTC)
eliset From: eliset Date: September 29th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Pasketti and I are both coming from the same place. Changing the thousands of drivers who go through this intersection isn't going to happen. Therefore, if this intersection stresses you out and decreases your quality of life, why not take an alternate route? You're a competent driver so you don't need to, but life's too short to stress over traffic.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
You really, really don't understand. I'm not looking to change the majority of the drivers that use the intersection. It's definitely less than 10% that are the "problem." I'd guess it may be as low as 1%. Less than once a week is there an issue with a slower driver there slowing down the rest of traffic.

If I started taking Olsen regularly, it would take me longer to get to work the majority of days, and only very rarely might it take me less time.
pasketti From: pasketti Date: September 29th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

I understand perfectly.

You're still not going to change that 1%, for exactly the reason you outline - most of the time it's faster to take the other road, even for the "passive" driver.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I understand perfectly.

I don't expect to change them with this LiveJournal post. I know better than that. The point of the post is more to rant than anything else.

The other point, perhaps, is to encourage all of us to think about the different route options we have at various times. Believe me, the option of taking Olsen instead of Spicewood had already crossed my mind. So had turning right at Spicewood and taking another route to my final destination (work). The end result is that the vast majority of the time, turning left onto Anderson from Spicewood is the best way to go, for everyone except the extremely passive driver.

I appreciate you and Eliset trying to offer solutions, but that's not what I'm looking for.

Edited at 2008-09-29 04:02 pm (UTC)
decibel45 From: decibel45 Date: October 2nd, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I understand perfectly.

Nonono, you need to just drive with your brain switched off. Alternative routes are not allowed.
dragonvpm From: dragonvpm Date: September 29th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
fwiw, I completely sympathize.

It never fails to amaze me how oblivious the most inconsiderate drivers can be. The folks who drive down the interstate doing 40 thinking they're great drivers for not speeding. People who don't quite seem understand that the left lane is the FAST lane. Folks who don't realize that their new car comes with turn signals, etc... etc...

I'm compulsive about figuring out best/fastest/easiest routes for myself and it drives me bonkers when I come across someone whose grasp of driving skills seems to be somewhere between nonexistant and "no, wait don't tell, me, which pedals makes it go faster?"

So, yeah, here's hoping those annoying drivers someday get a clue... or a bus pass ;).
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Yeah, I lot of people are incapable of thinking outside their own wants when it comes to driving. There's a thread on one of the car forums I go to where people are ranting about slower cars in the left lane.

Someone comments:
Now i just gotta pipe in here, I'm all for people keeping their butts in the right lane. You get a ticket if you pass on the right in germany. But, heres my thing, if im already going 9-10mph over the posted speed limit and im in the left lane and am steadily passing everyone in the right lane then i will not move over to get stuck behind them myself in the right lane. since in NC you get 1pt on your liscense and insurance for even getting a ticket and an extra 1pt on insurance for every 10 over then i feel like im going plenty fast enough and risking enough money and points while still being safe and non agressive to the other drivers. If you feel the need to do 15-20 over then you can sit your a$$ behind me and wait for a break in traffic and pass me on the right side, call attention to yourself for weaving in and out of traffic and get your own butt caught by the cops. 10 over is reasonable and i absolutely drive on the right whenever possible but im not moving just because somebody couldnt get up or leave the house early enough. you're late because of you, so a mistake on your part doesnt constitute an emergency on mine.
(Emphasis mine)

Cue discussion about when one should be moving out of the left lane to let others pass, who the biggest self-righteous prick on the board is, etc. The discussion really exposed how egos and attitudes are a real problem on the road, and all of us need to make an effort to consider other drivers' wants and needs, as well as our own, as we're out on the road.
dragonvpm From: dragonvpm Date: September 29th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I should browse some of those car forums more often.

Egos and attitudes are probably the biggest problem I ever come across on the road. Unfortunately you can't even be sure that the people going fast are the ones with the big and annoying egos, sometimes the slowest drivers are the ones with the worst egos (and they sound amusingly like the guy who arbitrarily decided that 9-10+ over the limit is ok, but 15-20 is just TOO FAST!). They often seem to be even more dangerous than the outright bad drivers. It seems like the intent inherent in being a self righteous ass causes more problems than not knowing what you're doing.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: September 29th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's a lot easier to avoid dangerous situations around the negligent driver than it is around the self-righteous one. :(
decibel45 From: decibel45 Date: October 2nd, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my god what I wouldn't do for ticketing people who were passed on the right (which is the law in Germany, he said it wrong in the post).
captspastic From: captspastic Date: September 29th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey... do I know who this is? Tongue Out 10
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