March 10, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Go Left, Young Man

Okay, you're in the left turn lane at a traffic light and though the signal has a green turning arrow, it's not lit. However, the green circle is lit, and the adjacent traffic heading your same direction is flowing through it. The question is, do you pull into the intersection on that green light? Or do you hang back, pretend no one can see you pick your nose, and wait for the green arrow to appear -- even if it's not going to show it's cute little pointy self until it cycles through the pretty amber and red lights, and the cross traffic gets to take its turn? Hmm? Do you stay or do you go? Hmm? HMMM?

You GO!! When a gap appears in the oncoming traffic, and you can make that turn safely, hit the gas! Seriously. It's legal! Do not wait for me to lay on my horn because we both could have gone through the light were it not for your remedial driving skills!

Sorry. I can't tell you how many times I have idled behind people who either don't realize they can go left on a green without the arrow (Hello-o-o, green means GO!) or they're too timid to freakin' drive their car the way the law says they can – and should.

I have been driving since I was 15. That means I've been behind the wheel for, um, a really long time. (Wowee, was there even sliced bread back then?) Way back in 1970 and for most of the last 35 years, we did not have green sissy arrows for making left-hand turns at traffic lights. If you didn't scoot into the intersection and grab your opportunity when it was clear, you never got through an intersection. You think I'm crabby about this? Imagine a bitchin' hopped-up '74 Duster 360 on your ass, pushing you through, bumper to bumper. Since the law used to allow for two vehicles to make the left turn, you had to be alert and quick (no time for picking your nose) to breeze through before cross traffic started to move. Those were the days.

Here's the second most important point:  if there is no space or time in the oncoming traffic to make your turn, you are supposed to wait for the light to change to amber (or even red, my dear) for the oncoming traffic to stop before you proceed. I know you won't believe this, but really, it's okay. This is just how it's done. You're not doing anything wrong by being in the intersection under an amber or red light till you can safely make the turn. Capiche?

And one more thing? When it's okay to go, GET OUT OF THE INTERSECTION!

One caveat -- a good reminder from MoreThanAnElectrician (N*ked on the Roof) who just got hit by a car -- watch for pedestrians! Go see what that crazy driver did to him!

Listen, this is not about being in a big rush to get nowhere fast. Nobody's asking you to take chances with your life. And maybe in your state, there are little green arrows everywhere, but not in Texas. Not yet. So we have to do it the old-fashioned way. Think of it as the missionary position. Engine growling, driver at the ready, and you have a go. Put it in gear and shoot on through!

This has been a public service message. You’re welcome.

26 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Amen!!

daisyfae said...

my rule? if the car in front of you can turn, so can you... it's that simple. i share your road rant...

morethananelectrician said...

They should make sure there are no pedestrians FIRST...trust me! I was a victim of an over-anxious driver today. Not the same set of circumstances that you describe here, but everyone could use to slow down a bit behind the wheel...especially at intersections.

Fragrant Liar said...

Morethananelectrician: So sorry to hear about that. People should DEFINITELY watch for pedestrians. I'm heading over to see what happened to you today.

Frank said...

In the summer I like to skip lunch and go walking three times a week. Because I’m walking in the city there is a lot of traffic, and I have had to jump several times to keep from being hit. I always assume they will run me down. It may seem like overkill to some but my dear old dad taught me, if you are dead but it was the other drivers fault, YOU’RE STILL DEAD!

When I drive I just yell, “Get out of the road you pelican!” Try it, it works. ; -)

Jocelyn said...

You're what I like to call "a woman firmly in touch with her own opinions."

♥ Braja said...

Wait...I thought this was Wordless Wednesday, but instead i get driving tips?? And these don't even make sense. You damned Yanks are on the wrong side of the road. ....

:)

Jan said...

Ah, you should move up here to Podunk in semi-rural Ohio where EVERY street is only two lanes and NONE of the freakin' traffic lights has the cute little pointy arrow and everyone apparently learned to drive via a correspondence course.

You'd just love it.

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Braja's a little disoriented, me thinks.

I have the same problem with left turn only lights. And to top it off, synchronized lighting issues?


Arrrrrgh.

Wunderwoman said...

Here's another Amen for you...could you come to my little town and teach them how to drive? I've tried, I give up!

smiles4u said...

Amen! We have much of the same things here in the middle of hicksville Minnesota where I wonder if some got there license to drive out of a cracker jack box!

foxy gal said...

OMG - I have the same issues with incompetent drivers. Freakin idiots. I have no patience for them.

It's not running a red light IF YOU'RE ALREADY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION!!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love the ending and the line about the missionary postition ; -)))))

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Don't ever drive in South Florida. You'd die from road rage anxiety. And we have those little arrows everywhere. Between people who can't read the signs, shouldn't have a license anymore and the ones that are just completely lost, driving is always an adventure.

nothingfancy1 said...

"Green means GO!"

My favorite saying!

midlifeslices said...

I'm the one behind "that" car yelling "IT'S NOT GOING TO GET ANY GREENER, MORON!!"

Leslie Hanna said...

Oh, man, don't move to the DC area. I have an entire blog largely devoted to DC-driver-related rants. Who teaches these people to drive, anyway!?

Anonymous said...

My my!! It must be in your genes! It's not much different here in the Villages...possibly worse. But I find it amusing how much you sound like someone else I know.
OOOXXX
(think I lost my first post...who knows where it landed)

Fragrant Liar said...

Frank: When I yell at people to get out of the road (or the way), my exact verbiage is, "Come on, jagoff, move your ass." That's just how I roll. ;)

Jocelyn: I never leave home without an opinion. In fact, I have an opinion on everything.

Braja: I'm so glad you stopped in for a little Yank rant. (whoa, did that sound dirty?)

Jan: Podunk or the naked city -- it's all the same.

Janie at Sounding Forth: Arrrgh!

Wunderwoman: Don't give up!

Smiles4u: More like Crack Boxes!

FoxyGal: We must get together for a Hoo-Ha happy hour and commiserate on those jagoffs. :)

Pseudo: Well, sometimes I think peeps have to break from tradition and try a little sum-n-sum-n different. :)

SMB: I have driven plenty in Florida, and everybody there going in a straight line runs red lights!!

nothingfancy1: Yeah, baby, yeah!

MLS: I have been known to shout the same thing, accompanied by a finger.

Leslie Hanna: I think a lot of them are just winging it.

Anonymous: Are you my mother? :) Or my dad? Cuz I think I probably drive like my mother, which means, you must be my dad. :) HAHAHAHA

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Think of it as the missionary position. Engine growling, driver at the ready, and you have a go. Put it in gear and shoot on through -- NOW!"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Elaine at Lipstickdaily said...

Oh yeah . . . there's even a word for it, if I could only remember . . . something like social permission . . . once the person in front of you goes through the red light because it doesn't seem to be working, then everyone else will.

Mary Moore said...

Thank you for clearing this up. Drives me nuts too...

Amy said...

New Rule: When waiting at an intersection to turn left, whether on a green arrow or not, you may under no circumstances choose this moment to: make a phone call, dig around on the floorboard to find your dropped Skittle, read a magazine, put on your lipstick in the rearview mirror or take care of your Marlboro fix. Just GO DAMMIT!!

Sarah Lulu said...

I think that the problem is you are all driving on the wrong side of the road in the first place!

♥Trina♥ said...

I got behind an (older) lady once who was making a left-hand turn across a four-lane highway. She got the left-turn arrow, but when she turned into the median, she saw the light for the other direction was red, so she STOPPED and waited for that light to turn green. No lie!!!

LegalMist said...

You are a driver after my own heart. I have been known to actually get out of my car and walk up to the car in front of me and explain this bit of useful driving law to the MORON in front of me who made us both miss the light for no reason...

I probably should stop that stuff now that I have kids.

I'd hate to get shot & leave them without a mom.