Rules Of The Road

Rules of the road217

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56 Responses to Rules Of The Road

  1. Greg Goodknight says:

    RL, while the friendly tap on the horn to wake up a sleeping driver is both traditional and functional, the one-finger salute response was brought to SoCal by colonists from New Jersey. The other “Jersey thing” they introduced was running red lights.

  2. My brother lives in L.A. (now you know our dark family secret) and he says they calculate the speed of light based on how long it takes the driver behind you to honk his horn after the light turns green.

    I’ve noticed when driving in L.A. that it does no good to turn on your turn signal before changing lanes. Since no self-respecting L.A. driver will give way, you have to force your way into the lane.

    As for traffic up here: What traffic? I’m from the Bay Area, where the kind of congestion we get at Brunswick and Sutton is considered mild.

  3. Don Baumgart says:

    A guy I worked with in San Francisco called a horn blast for slow-to-start drivers “the sonic whip”.

  4. Chris Peterson says:

    I remember when the road to Auburn was one lane, and the state put up a billboard at the edge of town going west that said you had to maintain a seven car-length distance between vehicles.
    By the time I moved away in ’89, it was obvious that it would take a two day waiting list to accomplish that spacing.

    Ah, the good ol’ days; racing down the highway with my roomate Bob to Sac in Battlecar Gallactica to see the premier of Superman, and be entertained in line by the band “Daily Planet” playing on the roof of the theater.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      Bumper to bumper traffic with 20 feet of space per car moving at 10 mph will be come 120 feet of space at 60 mph.

      I’ve thought about this a lot while sitting in traffic jams. Stop and go traffic is a result of over loading the freeway and tail gating, then applying the breaks introducing a reverse feedback into the flow. I always attempt to move along at a pace that doesn’t need breaking to re-establish the flow but not enough people do this for it to work. This is “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get” principle.

      • TD Pittsford says:

        Recent studies have concluded that the primary cause of gridlock is not from overcrowded roads and freeways, but from inconsistent speeds: some going too fast, others too slow. The idea is that if drivers obeyed the speed limit, the problems wouldn’t exist or would certainly have a positive affect on traffic flow. I think that frequent lane changes are a major contributor traffic problems as well.

  5. Ken Jones says:

    Certain rules that still apply to LA driving: Never use a turn signal when changing lanes. Once the opponent knows your move they will NEVER let you merge over. Drive aggressively defensive. Speed limit signs are merely suggestions.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      “Certain rules that still apply to LA driving: Never use a turn signal when changing lanes.”

      No, that’s one of those New Jersey importations. Natives don’t speed up to block unless the one changing lanes has been cutting people off.

      • TD Pittsford says:

        I’m sorry Mr. Goodnight, but the world didn’t emerge from the womb of New Jersey. Bad drivers and poor driving habits are not exclusive to that state either. I will admit however that NJ is pretty high up on the rudeness scale.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Sorry Mr. Pitts, but in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s at least, while driving LA freeways was hectic, most of one’s fellow drivers were courteous, to a point. They just wouldn’t send you an engraved invitation, or hold the door open for those who hesitated.

          I will admit, not all the discourteous were from Joisey. Some were from New York.

      • Ken Jones says:

        Greg that is my experience driving in LA in the 70s where I learned to drive. Had nothing to do with any folks from NJ, just what we experienced. Still exists today. Drove many years on the 605, 91, 5 and 405. Cutting off others is more commonly referred to as a cock – block. Happens on blogs too.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          I always used my turn signals in LA, and rarely got blocked. Can’t say what you were doing wrong; perhaps a hesitation that the sharks smelled as blood in the water.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I agree with Greg; there was a marked difference in driving on the west coast when Springsteen and Billy Joel started touring in CA.

          • Ken Jones says:

            Wasn’t doing anything wrong Greg. I drove aggressively defensive, and was respectful of other drivers. Wasn’t one who weaved in and out of lanes. But when it came time to change lanes it seemed that when I made an indication with the turn signal some drivers saw that as an excuse to keep me and others from merging. I think more of a response to rush hour tarffic frustration. Or maybe because the rise of the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ken, if you weren’t using your turn signals, you were certainly doing something wrong.

            For what it’s worth, I’ve seen some of the lowest skill, highest risk driving in California on the 49 between Grass Valley and Auburn, where I have been cut off more than once after signaling for a safe and appropriate lane change.

          • Ken Jones says:

            I never stated I didn’t use my turn signals, I just stated as a rule never use them when driving in LA. I did use mine hence my observation that I was blocked when trying to make a lane change. Bad drivers are everywhere. In the last month I have been to Portland, Seattle, LA, San Diego, San Francisco/Bay Area and Las Vegas. No shortage of crappy drivers at any of these cities although Seattle may have more than most cities.

  6. Brad Croul says:

    Two words: Light Rail

  7. Don Baumgart says:

    A friend who lives in greater LA once told me he drives as though the person next to him has a gun on the passenger seat…because he/she probably does.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Expect all homicidal psychopaths to have guns handy no matter where you go.

      It’s legal in Nevada to drive around with a loaded gun in the car as long as it’s not concealed on your person. OK in glove box, not in your pocket.

      Trying to find evidence of shootouts as a result, no luck so far.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Nice try. No points for you.

          “Harris is a convicted felon in South Carolina who shows fists full of money on Internet posts and boasts of a high-rolling lifestyle with prostitutes in Miami and Las Vegas.”

          The pimp who shot the rapper on the strip was not legally carrying the murder weapon and was a poor choice to use to prove your point. He’s exactly the kind who will be carrying a gun no matter what the law is.

          Thanks for making my point for me.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Your link showed a shoot out.

            Having people drive or walk around with guns is extremely bad idea no matter who it is. Being pissed or outraged without weapons is dangerous enough throw guns into the mix and it is deadly.

            Not Nevada but close, Arizona.


          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ben, you do understand that, to have a shoot-out, you need to have at least two people shooting, don’t you? Frisch’s example wasn’t a “shoot out”. It was a shooting at o’dark 30 by a convicted felon who fired five times into a Maserati containing unarmed people, killing the driver, wounding a passenger; the Maserati then rammed into a taxi killing two more.

            What kind of guy was the shooter?
            “Harris was arrested last year in Las Vegas in a 2010 prostitution case…He was charged with robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping and coercion with a weapon, and police sought charges of pandering by force and felon in possession of concealed weapon. Court records show that case was dismissed last June.

            Harris was convicted in South Carolina in 2004 of felony possession with intent to sell a stolen pistol…”

            So, Steve Frisch and Ben Emery, what law would have stopped Harris? Wouldn’t you agree this event had nothing to do with the lawful possession of a weapon or transporting it in the state of Nevada?

          • Ben Emery says:

            I looked up the incident and found that it started with a dispute in a valet lot. If neither had a gun there would have been no shooting and most likely everyone would have lived to see another day, especially the cab driver and his costumer.

            Why does it seem that you focus on the people more instead of the issue or crime?

            Harris is a suspect and has not been convicted of any crime involving this incident. Doesn’t mean his is innocent but he hasn’t been proven guilty yet. Do you think that Cherry could have possibly threatened Harris in their valet lot altercation? In Nevada they have “no retreat” or “stand your ground” laws, maybe Harris felt threatened by Cherry and decided to exercise his legal authority to not retreat from the individual he felt threatened by.

            Your main argument here is that Harris wasn’t lawful with his gun.

            Isn’t it the contention of gun advocates that we need less to no laws regarding ownership of guns? So doesn’t it mean if there aren’t any gun restricting laws along with laws that make it legal to use deadly force if we feel threatened, that anything goes?

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Its really simple, if our nation was not literally awash in guns, people like Mr. Harris would have a more difficult time obtaining them, and gun deaths would be reduced. You want me to find someone who obtained a gun legally and used it in a crime because it was conveniently located in their vehicle under Nevada law? Fine, here is one:


            Notice, Mr. Runyon was NOT charged with any firearms offenses, because the guns were owned legally.

            Nevada has the 6th highest rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people, at 17.3.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Ooops, Mr. Runyon was later charged as a felon in possession of a firearm…my mistake. I will look a little more….should not be too difficult.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Frisch, oops indeed. That’s 0 for 2, you’re batting .000 looking for Nevada shoot-outs due to a lawful carry in an automobile. Ex-cons don’t count.

            “Why does it seem that you focus on the people more instead of the issue or crime? … Your main argument here is that Harris wasn’t lawful with his gun.”

            I am speechless at your inability to see the issue despite its repetition, Ben. It’s about the behavior of CRIMINALS. He couldn’t be “lawful with his gun” because, as a felon, he couldn’t lawfully own a gun. Given that his felony was possessing stolen guns for sale, I’d say he knew how to get stolen guns on the street if he wanted one and wouldn’t be trying to buy from Big 5 or the WalMart.

            So far, while looking for all those Nevada shoot-outs that must be easy to find, all Frisch has come up with are two examples where the gun was fired by someone who couldn’t even have one at home legally.

            “Isn’t it the contention of gun advocates that we need less to no laws regarding ownership of guns?”

            Ben, you go try to find anything from any gun rights group that wants violent felons or people adjudicated to be a hazard to themselves or others to lawfully possess arms. Take your time.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I’m speechless that Greg does not choose to get the bigger point, that tens of thousands of crimes are committed every year with guns that are legally purchased, and legally owned, as well as the tens of thousands of crimes that are committed with guns that are illegally owned because they have been stolen (or purchased from) from people who once legally owned them. With more than 300 million guns in the country, Greg is choosing to stand on a silly point really, that it is criminals that commit crimes (what I would call simplistic NRA nonsense)….Well, yeah….Ben and I both agree with that…..what we are also cognizant of is that if the tools to commit the crime are more expensive, less available, better controlled and more difficult to exchange, gun crimes would be reduced. (By the way Greg, when one points out their own mistake a gentleman acknowledges it gracefully rather than counting it against them).

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “Ooops, Mr. Runyon was later charged as a felon in possession of a firearm…my mistake. I will look a little more….should not be too difficult.” -Frisch

            Lest your “Look, there’s Comet Halley!” redirection, let’s go back to the issue… rules of the road. I’d mentioned I couldn’t find any reports of gunfights due to the Nevada law making it legal to carry a loaded gun in one’s car.

            Twice you’ve struck out. Now you’ve given up and instead you’re on an anti NRA rant. Really, Steve, why not just admit there doesn’t seem to be an issue with that? Yes, the two shootings you did find were just the sort I identified at the beginning of this train wreck; violent criminals carry guns despite it being illegal. Imagine that.

            What you and Ben seem to think is that the presence of a gun turns the average law abiding Joe into a cold blooded killer, and that just isn’t so.

            BTW I’m not an NRA member, have at them if it makes you feel better. It does appear the recent rhetoric has sent their membership skyrocketing, up there with ammo prices.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          The purpose of a restrictive law, whether it’s speeding, theft, or whatever, is to make it less likely that the event will happen, not to assume it will never happen again.
          To that end; the more restrictive the gun laws, the fewer crimes are committed using a gun. Conversely, in states like Alaska, which leads the nation in gun deaths, and the good ol’ south, the most liberal gun laws realize the largest number of gun deaths.
          And the notion that everyone is still a member of a “well armed militia” in the 21st century is a joke. We’ve had a standing army for quite some time now, despite Jefferson’s warnings to the contrary, so the Constitutional argument is moot. The notion that our freedoms and liberties are somehow tied to a gun is imbecilic at best, and the incidence of crimes stopped by gun-wielding citizens is next to non-existent.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I could not agree more Chris….but it makes me think about an even larger problem.

            There are many nations around the world where guns are more heavily restricted with lower gun death rates (Great Britain, Canada, Japan, etc). There are also nations with more restrictive policies where the gun death rate is higher (Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, etc) . The US also has amongst the highest rates of suicide in the world. I contend that there is something in the US culture that, 1) celebrates death, 2) rationalizes high death rates, 3) institutionalizes the gun as a symbol of independence, and 4) cheapens human life by inuring our consciouses to the consequence. The bottom line is we are just cold hearted bastards when it comes to someone dying from gun violence. We have become immune to the emotion (indeed, emotion is considered a liability in this debate instead of a virtue, unless it is ‘patriotism’ and support for the 2nd amendment).

            Your kids died at Sandy Hook? Well that’s your problem, don’t tread on me!

            This may be a function of our history but I suspect it is a function of our politics. 100 days later we could give a shit about 26 schoolchildren gunned down in cold blood by a psychopath, and our Congress is saying, “hey, there is no groundswell of support for universal background checks”, even though more than 80% of Americans support them.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Frisch, the combined murder and suicide rate is higher in Japan than in the US, and they have gun *and* sword “control”.

            Suicides are more likely to be “successful” with a gun than with pills or a single car accident, but the key item isn’t the gun, it’s the desire to commit suicide. There are roughly 300 million people and roughly 300 million guns in the US, with 9,493 (CDC 2010) gun suicides. Do the math, that’s about one suicide per 32 thousand guns. Each a tragedy in its own light, but making 32 thousand guns disappear is the an effective way of making that person not commit suicide. Like my friend Shelley, they might decide to jump off the Yuba River bridge instead.

            Chris Peterson, whenever someone starts quoting “gun deaths” as the figure of merit, it’s a given they’re using suicide stats to scare people.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            TYPO correction
            ” Do the math, that’s about one suicide per 32 thousand guns. Each a tragedy in its own light, but making 32 thousand guns disappear is NOT an effective way of making that person not commit suicide.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Steve is right on point; it’s not the hardware, it’s the culture. And suicide is the largest segment of gun deaths. That’s not an attempt to scare anyone; it’s just a fact, Jack. I suppose I should have said gun deaths other than suicide, because everyone knows that suicide doesn’t count in intelligent discussions about social acceptance of violence. (Really?)
            The fact that there are places where gun laws are more restrictive and yet the violence is higher, and visa-versa, tells me that it is the acceptance of violence that causes the change. And to that point, more guns and less restriction certainly adds to the mix. Not the cause, but more than certainly a contributing factor.
            In other words; if you took all of the guns away from our citizens, it would still take a generation to realize a significant drop in homicidal/suicidal deaths. If at all.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Seriously Greg, comparing suicide in Japan to suicide in the United States is the ultimate in an apples and oranges comparison. Japan has a long history of honoring suicide, whereas it is frowned upon in the western world; suicides in Japan are primarily connected to loss of ones job or social status whereas in the United States it connected to clinical depression and mental illness; primary methods of suicide in Japan are jumping in front of trains, leaping off buildings or cliffs, overdose and gas. As usual you rely on unconnected statistical rationalization.

            We make guns available everywhere. When I was a kid of 16 I knew where to get a gun on the street in Chicago if I wanted one–chances are that gun was either stolen from a suburban second amendment advocate or bought from a private seller with no paperwork or background check required. If the sellers of these guns were made criminals and sent to jail the price of guns would be higher, the number of guns on the street would be lower. Supply and demand. And I don’t give a damn if you are not a member of the NRA–if you parrot their propaganda you are doing their bidding on this issue.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            That’s pretty typical today, Steve;
            folks who parrot the propaganda of no new taxes, when the actual call is for those with more to pay their fair share, is the same as the gun lobby, which cloaks itself in Constitutional arguments and supposedly the freedoms of sportsmen.
            In both instances, the majority of citizens, despite the paid-for media hype, is solidly for a revision of the policies that clearly profit the corporate interests who defend them. Arguments that claim we must protect the “job creators”, and the “average gun owner”, have run their course; the general consensus being that the curtain has been pulled back and there’s no returning to business as usual.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            This tag team straw burning man construction party is all because I mentioned, in a thread about road manners, that Nevada allows people to carry a gun in the car and I couldn’t find any story about that causing problems.

            Let the record show, despite thinking it would be easy, Steven Frisch couldn’t find any, either. I’m sure they exist, too, it’s just not a common occurrence. The presence of a gun apparently does not incite the non-violent to violence.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “Seriously Greg, comparing suicide in Japan to suicide in the United States is the ultimate in an apples and oranges comparison. ”

            Seriously Steve, you’re the one who touted Japan’s low ‘gun death rate’. Now you claim Japan’s sky high *violent* death rate is because they have a violent culture. It never ends.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Suicide on Freakonomics Radio

            Most people who commit suicide do so on a spur of the moment. Guns allow it to happen so quick that spur of the moment becomes permanent. If I had to take a guess as inequality gap increases so does violent crime but not necessarily suicide.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      Come to think about it, if I had the choice between out of control California road rage and extremely rude New York driving, I’d choose New York.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        I was cut off by a muni bus driver in Boston… the fewer years any vehicle can be expected to live thanks to road salt, the less respect for sheet metal.

        “The 2011 GMAC National Drivers Test, which uses actual DMV questions to appraise drivers’ knowledge of road rules, found the greatest rate of failure in the Empire State and the nation’s capital: In those areas, one in every three participants failed.”

        New York drivers are not only rude, but ignorant as well. The so-called LA road rages were blown out of context; a tiny number of psychopathic rages erupting over a phenomenally huge area and millions of drivers.

        • gregoryzaller says:

          I hope I got this right:

          California with twice the population of New York has three times the traffic fatalities. You have a 50% greater chance of being killed on the road in California compared to New York.

          I had trouble finding clear statistics for comparing New York City with Los Angeles but fatality rates appear to be three times higher in Los Angeles.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            What are the numbers based on miles driven, Greg? Or all accidents? Let’s compare apples to apples.

            California also has many more rural highway miles where the speeds are higher.

            I suspect there are comparatively few cars, and few miles driven, per capita in NYC than in Los Angeles. Or even ‘Frisco. And that skews the numbers you are trying to make a point with.

            Back to the local scene… we all know the westbound Idaho-Maryland intersection with Main? There’s two lanes from I-M into the roundabout: the leftmost to take the round onto the 49 south (or back to IM) and the rightmost to proceed on West Main? I actually had a young man driving an SUV use the roundabout left lane to pass me on the right and proceed to West Main.

            Madness. I suspect Grass Valley could balance their books were they to park a motor officer at the roundabout and hand out speeding and reckless driving tix all day. Of course, the money spigot would get turned off as folks wised up, and we’d have to live with the increased safety.

  8. Brad Croul says:

    What you do is, after they honk you just sit there for a while. Then, you get out of your car and walk up to the honker and ask them, “Can I help you?”.
    This used to work for a friend of mine.
    Full disclosure, he was a 220 lb, ex-marine, drill instructor.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      What a shame he didn’t decide to actually move forward when the light turned green. Wouldn’t that have been both easier and expeditious?

      • Brad Croul says:

        Yeah, I guess he thought honkers were A-holes, so he would give them some A-hole energy back so they would keep their hands off the horn button next time. Maybe he read too many Jack Reacher novels.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Leaving your car, while blocking someone else, to confront a driver who merely honked his horn because of a real or imagined delay in proceeding is not only the act of an ass, I suspect it also fits the road rage law. Especially since you mention he did it to intimidate.

          How long before a honk is reasonable? Two seconds? Three? Five? I’d suggest it’s variable… if there is a long line of cars in a left turn pocket, and the transportation department had the signal adjusted so that it was taking two or three cycles to actually making that turn, I’d say the shorter the better, because a lot of people are waiting their turn.

  9. Ben Emery says:

    Chronic bumper to bumper traffic is a poor development plan put in place. The west coast of the US is the biggest offender of this because it developed along side the automobile. Not that traffic jams don’t exist on the east but mass transit is much more developed in those regions. Every time I go to visit my brother in Santa Cruz I remember why I left the area in the early 90’s when I hit the traffic around Pleasanton on 680 or Berkeley on 80. If people want to sit in traffic all day every day more power to them, I will stick with my commute on Bitney Springs Rd.

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