Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rules of the Road

Urban driving can be a challenge to those of us who don't roll through town in an H2. NaturalBlog drives an Accent, so let me discuss a few finer points of life on the streets.

Even accomplished road warriors disagree on the age old question -- to blinker or not to blinker. Pros: When you put on your blinker, you are indemnifying yourself from being flipped off for cutting someone off -- not because you've asked for permission to change lanes, but because you've taken it. Some are so adept they make blinker-blindspot-wheel turn into one seamless motion.

But the cons: As soon as that blinker goes on, you've sent a signal clear as day to your adversaries. They know what you want to do. It's like giving intelligence to the enemy, only more dangerous. Solution: Signal, but in the opposite direction you intend to go. This confounds your opponents and will keep you ahead of the game.

Question Two. The lane change. Is there a more impotent feeling in the world than drumming your fingers on the steering wheel of your motionless car while lanes of traffic on either side move ahead? This conundrum was eloquently captured in the opening of Office Space.

I compare the question of whether to switch lanes to long-term investing in the stock market. Over the long run, the lanes will even out, just as over the long run, the market appreciates. Switching lanes hapharzardly is the motor vehicle equivalent of jumping in and out of a stock based on yesterday's performance. Take the long view, don't switch lanes, come out ahead.

Except of course unless you've been caught behind the scourge of the streets: The double-parker. Double parkers choke the roads the way gravy coats John Madden's arteries. They slow the flow of traffic with their blatant flaunting of the law. They must be stopped. But what can you do as a driver? Not much. But I promise this. If you ever elect me mayor, I will mobilize the National Guard to tow every double-parked car in the city, on random days of the month. You'll never know when it's coming, but one day, an army of tow trucks, helicopters with powerful magnets, and fat guys with sledgehammers will make you rue the day you elected me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the golden rule of automotive etiquette? Clean your frickin car.

December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Pn said...

And what about the random acts of Carma? Giving someone in the oncoming lane the go-ahead for their left turn. Takes a second and makes future lights turn in your favor.

December 07, 2005  
Anonymous mrs. s said...

My scientific research has proven that contrary to popular belief, in heavy traffic, the left lane of the highway is the wrong place to be. That's where everyone gravitates to, and it slows the lane down. Rather, on a 4-lane highway, navigate to the lane that is the second from the right. Go ahead, try it. You'll see it's the fastest.

December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a top-secret tip. when the person in front of you is driving a little too slow down route 9 [the road i frequent most] just give 'em a little tap to the bumper, it'll get them going. trust me.


December 07, 2005  

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