Driving & drivers

In the many, many years since becmming a driver, I have noticed many strange habits that I can’t understand. Maybe a psyc. student can help me. Most drivers (& I mean 75%+) over steer when rounding a curve, that is take the curve tighter than necessary. Not bad on a right curve, but potentially deadly on a left.(2 lane road, especially) Another is why 90% of drivers “dogleg” onto an Interstate from the acceleration lane, or “on” ramp at below the speed of the cars on the road? Most of us have learned to move over to the left lane, when we can, to avoid them. And, why do most think that the posted sped limit is the minimum? it’s the MAXIMUM! I must admit, it took me years to realize it! Most of my driving was on “company” time so I found little reason to speed. It’s far more relaxing to cool it. Try it, you’ll like it! But “go with the flow” when necessary! Don’t get run over! BTW, my bumper sticker: WE BRAKE FOR TAILGATERS


Zymurgist

Oooh…my favorite subject - and pet peeve - driving. I hadn’t noticed the “over steering,” and I’m sure most drivers realize that the posted speed limit is the max. I’ve gotten several speeding tickets in my time, and used to be a really aggressive driver, but I have found that it is less stressful to “cool it,” slow down a bit, and let the crazies go by. I think a lot of people speed because (1) they’re in a hurry, impatient and haven’t stopped to think that saving a minute or two isn’t worth their lives (or someone else’s),(2) arrogance (“I’m a good driver and have to get past these a–holes” attitude," and (3) a macho thing (even with women), especially if they have an SUV or truck. The thing about driving that really steams me is lack of courtesy and NOT USING TURN SIGNALS, especially for lane changes. Just tonight, coming home, some a–hole coming off the interstate was in the lane I wanted into - I had my turn signal on, but couldn’t tell if he wanted to get over or what. As I eased over, he finally moved over into the lane I’d been in. How much easier it would have been for both of us if he’d had his turn signal on. I maintain that it isn’t speed per se that kills but speed + darting in and out of lanes + that impatient “I’ve got to get where I’m going and to hell with you” attitude. And tailgaters drive me crazy too – it seems like the trucks and SUV’s are notorious for this. “I’m bigger than you are, so get the hell out of my way.” And I do. And, yes, the concept of merging does seem to confound some folks.

“People are afraid to merge” - Brett Easton Ellis


The more you know, the less you understand - Tao Te Ching

Tailgaters send me into Cautious Driver mode, i.e. I start doing the exact speed limit. If they’re gonna be jerks about it, might as well send them away angrier than when they met me. :slight_smile:
The epiphany came to me one day as I was taking a left-turn exit off the Everett Turnpike in southern NH. This butthead from Massachusetts in a big luxury van starts bearing down on me so I hit the pedal (in a Sh-tvette, you understand) and pushed it to 70. Numbnuts keeps right on peering up my tailpipe and has the gall to shoot me a dirty look as I take the exit and he speeds on his way. I was rethinking my stand on unlicensed gun ownership when I realized that tailgaters are gonna be jerks no matter what, so why risk my own injury trying to make them happy?

As a footnote - shouldn’t this perhaps better serve in MPSIMS?


Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

Here is one I don’t understand - people who back into parking spaces. I can understand wanting to be able to get out more easily, but I’ve seen people spend minutes backing in. It seems easier to me to back out than back in. I asked one of them once and he said that if you have just started the car, it puts less strain on the engine/transmission (I forget which) to go forward that to reverse. Is this true?

Yeah, that backing into parking spaces used to really bug me too – til I read an article in the newspaper about it. (The Washington Post has a twice weekly column dealing only with transportation problems in the D.C. metro area.) Anyway, someone wrote in about this, and readers responded: they back in because it’s easier and safer when leaving to be able to pull out head first. It is more difficult to back out of the space,especially in shopping malls when you’ve got people walking behind you and cars zipping past. And I’ve noticed lately, it’s made even MORE difficult when you’ve got a truck or the ubiquitous SUV parked next to you and you can’t see diddly. (I still don’t back in, however; because I know how I hate waiting for someone else to do it).

I almost always back into parking spaces. Especially when it is crowded because I drive a minivan. Think of the lines from a parking space extending into the aisle. I pull past the space until my back wheels are at the second line. Then when I back up one back wheel stays pretty much the same distance from this line while the other one moves in an arc towards the far line. Now both my back wheels are within the space and the front of the van makes a large arc through the aisle eventually putting me parallel with the lines but not far into the space. I then back up the rest of the way. If I were to pull in front first the back wheels are still in front of the space next to me when the front of the van is in my space. Now as I pull farther into the space the side of the van swings closer to the car that my rear wheels were behind. This either forces me to back out and try again, pull in really close to the car next to me or to park rather crooked in the space. I can avoid this if the aisle is large and I can start on the far side and hopefully be straighter by the time I get to my space but often this isn’t possible because of small aisles or other cars.

Carl, Psychology was my major as an undergrad, but I can offer no explaination for why drivers do what they do.
Here’s a few for ya: Six lane highway, totally empty except for me and one other, maybe 5 or more car lenghts ahead, the light turns red and the chump has to change lanes to stop in front of me! Or come to a stop at a light with a few cars stopped in front and then after stopping, cut the wheel to take the poll position in an open lane, and then putt when the light turns green.
Left lane bandits should be run off the road and their cars burned in the ditch :slight_smile:
In the DC area we have plenty of drivers that seem to believe they are exempt from rules of the road. Maggots in Volvo’s with gun control and meat is murder stickers backing down an off ramp. The car will have leather interior, and they pose a greater threat than a blind man with a gun!

Here in Minnesota, as part of your behind the wheel test to get your driver’s license, you have to actually prove you can back into a parking space.
Now that I think of it, it’s probably better to do it that way, because more than once I’ve nearly run over people at the supermarket parking lot who came out of nowhere just as I was backing out of a space.

Okay, I just have to vent. I was driving on a two-lane highway this weekend (in the right lane) and was two exits away from where I needed to enter another highway. These people coming off of this exit. Do they merge with traffic? No. Do the drivers already occupying the road give them ample opportunity? Yes. What do they do? They stay in the break-down lane! Explain this to me! Needless to say, I had problems catching my exit and nearly got side-swiped. For God’s sake, if you’re coming off of an exit MERGE!

Thank you. :slight_smile:


“I’m not confused, I’m just well mixed”
–Robert Frost

When I took my drivers test here in NY state, granted this was more than a decade ago, we were required to parallel park ( a lost art nowadays I’m afraid) as well as make a K-turn. Never understood the need for a K-turn, if I want to turn around I can usually find a safer way to turn around then using the middle of the road. Also some of the new 99 Chevys have a feature that ought to be mandatory for all those over 65, the tuen signal automatically turns off after it’s been blinking for a certain time.


I almost always back into parking spaces. Especially when it is crowded because I drive
a minivan. Think of the lines from a parking space extending into the aisle. I pull past
the space until my back wheels are at the second line. Then when I back up one back
wheel stays pretty much the same distance from this line while the other one moves in
an arc towards the far line. Now both my back wheels are within the space and the front of the van makes a large arc through the aisle eventually putting me parallel with the lines but not far into the space. I then back up the rest of the way. If I were to pull in front first the back wheels are still in front of the space next to me when the front of the van is in my space. Now as I pull farther into the space the side of the van
swings closer to the car that my rear wheels were behind. This either forces me to back out and try again, pull in really close to the car next to me or to park rather crooked in the space. I can avoid this if the aisle is large and I can start on the far side and hopefully be straighter by the time I get to my space but often this isn’t possible because of small aisles or other cars.

Do you actually consciously use this method to simply back into a parking spot? It sure sounds like a long drawn-out process. I back into parking spaces all the time, and almost always get it right the first time. I guess it helps that I drive a sports-car and not some Super Behemoth™. Although I have driven the biggest U-Haul trucks they rent and have had no problem backing those into tiny spaces in order to load/unload. But I think the real reason I became so adept at it was my years of delivering Chinese food. After that for a while, driving became sort of second-nature for me.

P.S. Sorry for my crude attempt at quoting. How do you do it the right way? But before I get flamed, I already looked in the FAQ and its not there. Although I did see how to add emoticons, ix-nay on the oting-quay.

Oh, scratch the question on how to quote.
I figured it out, for those that don’t know you simply use {QUOTE} at the beginning of the quote and {/QUOTE} at the end of the quote. Replace the { with [ to do this for real. If I had used instead of {} it would
have quoted in the middle of my sentence.

My opinion – We could save a LOT of lives if we (1) insisted that people cannot obtain a license without demonstrating that they are really good drivers, and (2) yanked the licsences of people who, by their actions, showed that they were not good drivers.

Think about it. If we didt this, we would greatly reduce the carnage on our highways, local streets, etc. Also, with a substantial number of adults barred from driving (as they would be; by no means everyone is capable of being a good driver), we would have fewer traffic jambs, less air pollutiion, and better mass transit (as there would be more demand for it).

Here in St. Louis, it’s usually impossible to back into a parking space. In most lots, all the aisles are one-way-only, and the lines are angled such that you can only pull in head-first.


I’m not a warlock.
I’m a witch with a Y chromosome.

While we’re “thinking” about that, we’ll just pull the posting privileges of those get into traffic “jambs” and make them eat slices of toast with door jams on them.

Ray (Je t’adore.)

Okay, now I’ve only been driving for a year or so, so I’m not an expert at all, but I do have a take on the way Speed Limits should work. Please let me know if it makes me sound criminal so that I never bring it up in court.
Anyway, when the powers-which-are decide what the Speed Limit for a certain road should be, they don’t think “What speed should everyone drive?” but rather “What’s the lowest speed that someone could drive really dangerously?” The reason for it is this. Good driving is a rather subjective concept, and even if there is a bad driver on the road, no police officer would want to give a ticket for just “Bad Driving” because it would be silly. There’s no way to substantiate a charge like that. So, there are Speed Limits instituted to give the cops something quantitative with which to catch the reckless people. You can’t argue that you were exceeding the Speed Limit, after all.
Now, just to be conservative, I tend to drive the Speed Limit (or close to it) more often than other drivers, and I do think that in many places, the Speed Limit is a nice, safe speed, but sometimes when I’m going 25 mph, as posted, in a no-passing zone, and I’m being passed twice a minute, I think, “This is a ridiculously low Speed Limit.” and I don’t feel terribly unjustified in going 35 mph.
I’ve never gotten a ticket or a warning or anything for speeding, and I’d like to think it’s because the police see it my way - I’m being safe, so there’s no reason to stop me.

We’ve got parking spaces like that here also, I back into them with no problem. Unless of course there’s a car behind me, in which case I usually just pull in face first. I guess you’ve just got to have a car thats nimble enough.