Aug 13, 2014

Of Driving and Pet Peeves and Parking . . .

One of the duties that has fallen to me temporarily while the hubby is out of commission is picking up our son-in-law from work every afternoon. He works at Home Depot, and on our way out of the parking lot yesterday we came upon a car that was stopped at the crossroads where to the left you could go into the far edge of the parking lot, to the right you could drive along the edge of the garden centre, and straight ahead was the driveway to the road.

This guy was just sitting there. It wasn't a place where you could park, but he had no signal flashing so there was no indication of what the heck he was doing. Then his wife appeared and got in the car - apparently she'd been checking out the garden sheds. Meanwhile, the car behind me pulled out and went around both of us, almost causing a collision when the first car decided he was moving after all. Again, with no signal. Actually, I don't think either of them used a signal, which is why I called them both dumbasses, causing my son-in-law to comment: "Now I know where your daughter gets it from" which is really not the point I'm trying to make.

The point I'm making is that there are a lot of people out there who don't use their signal lights. I don't know whether they don't know how, or they just can't be bothered. In the above situation he should have had his signal going to let other drivers know he was stopped there temporarily, and then he should have signaled to let people behind him know he was going to be pulling into traffic again. It's not rocket science and not doing so is like . . . road rudeness.

Are they just not teaching the proper use of the turn signal in driving schools these days? Or have people just become so lazy or inattentive when driving that they can't be bothered to take a second to flick that indicator light on? It's bad enough when you're on the highway and you get cars zipping in and out without a signal to indicate they're switching lanes, but my real pet peeve is cars in town who can't be bothered to signal when they're turning. That's right people, you are supposed to use that signal light to give warning that you're going to turn, EVERY TIME you turn. Even when you're in a turning lane, and before you get to the corner in question and especially before you've been sitting there for a minute or two while cars line up behind you wondering why you're sitting there.

And speaking of turning lanes . . . how many drivers know what a centre turning lane is for? Anyone? We've only got a couple of places in town (thank God) where we have a centre turning lane - that extra lane dividing a wide road in the centre. The idea is that it allows you to make a left turn from either direction without blocking the line of traffic. But apparently that's too complicated for a lot of people. I've seen them cross a turning lane, but never actually enter into one. Maybe it's the arrows going both ways that confuse them.

The same goes for an advanced green. Whether it's the flashing green light or the steady green arrow, people just don't seem to grasp the concept of being allowed to make a left hand turn before everyone else starts moving. What's even worse is when they finally figure it out . . . just in time for the arrow to turn amber so they're the only ones who get around that corner.

One of the other duties that's fallen to me is the weekly banking, which necessitates parking downtown. Our bank does not have a parking lot tucked away in the back so I have to park on the street. And yes, my friends, that means I have to parallel park. I can hear the gasps as I type.

What is the big deal with parallel parking? Turn your signal on. Pull up beside the car in front of the parking space. Back up at about a 45 degree angle. Once you're halfway in, straighten the wheels. The spaces on the street beside my bank are large enough that I can do it in one smooth move. Seriously. At most I may have to pull forward a bit once I'm in just so I'm not crowding the guy behind me. Easy peasy people. Yet I know so many people with a fear of parallel parking - it's almost an epidemic. Maybe you all just need more practice. :-D

And for the record, yelling at other drivers (who cannot hear you) is not road rage, it's just a healthy expression of your opinion. Road rage is when you stop the car and get out to yell at them in person - which I have never done. Yet. ;-)

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