One year ago (well, a year and 2 days to be precise) I posted a piece about intersections (Courtesy On the Road Chapter 5 - Intersections). The piece talks about two behaviors that inconsiderate drivers commit - blocking the box, and not taking the intersection in traffic. Well, of late, there are two more bothersome behaviors I’ve noticed at a particular intersection. One is just peculiar, the other absolutely infuriating.
Let’s talk about the peculiar one first. At most intersections, when you turn left, you will pull almost to the center of the intersection, tack slightly left, and wait for a break in traffic so you can continue safely. If there is a car turning left in the opposite direction, that driver will do the same thing so that his passenger side and your passenger side are adjacent. That way, if someone behind him also wants to turn left, it doesn’t block you, and vice versa.
I have recently been driving a different way home and this way takes me through an intersection of two 4-lane roads. It’s a large intersection and logic would indicate this gives you more room for a proper left turn. However, for whatever reason, most drivers decide to treat this intersection differently from every other intersection in the world. They drive forward to the other side, then turn left, kind of like an upside-down ‘J’. This means that if there’s a line of cars trying to turn left, the first person in one direction will be blocked by the last person in the other direction. It makes no sense but the people seem almost militant about doing it that way.
Above you can see a diagram of how people turn left through this intersection, and how they should turn left through this intersection, and every intersection.
The other issue also involves this intersection, but most other 4 lane intersections, as well. If I am turning left onto a 4 lane street, and the only traffic coming the opposite direction is someone turning right onto the same street, I have the right of way to turn into the near lane, and the person turning right, has the right of way to turn into his near lane. 2 cars, 2 lanes, no problem. When I take my right of way, I get so many dirty looks from people who think they have the right to both lanes just because they’re turning right. I even had one douche-nozzle in a BMW (I know, I’m being redundant) follow me for the next mile so he could flip me off. You see, he wasn’t paying attention to the road around him and he turned right then decided just to drift over, not realizing I was in the left lane - he didn’t bother to look, either. When I honked to let him know I was there, he got pissed. Look - more diagrams!
Folks, there are certain things that are simply logical, considerate, and efficient. If we all practiced most of them, most of the time, the world would be a better place.