Yield Signs vs. Stop Signs

I realize this is a difficult topic for some–telling the difference between shapes and color patterns–but it’s important that everyone knows the very important distinction between what a yield means and what a stop means.  So, let’s begin.

This is a stop sign:

Please note its octagonal shape. An “octagon” is a shape that has 8 sides connected by 135° angles. The octagon is red with a white border and white letters that read STOP.  You may also see the word “STOP” painted onto the ground next to the stop sign. You have to stop here no matter what. Educate yourself on intersections with stop signs here.

This is a yield sign:

Note the shape. This is a triangle. It only has 3 sides, and all the angles must add up to 180°. The colors are similar here. There is a white outline, followed a red section, and then there’s a white triangle in the middle, and then the word “YIELD” written in red. You only have to stop at a yield sign if it is not safe to continue from that point. One of the definitions of yield is  “to give way to or become succeeded by someone or something else.” In essence, you don’t have the right of way at a yield sign. You are surrendering your self-importance and letting someone else go first. This could mean waiting for a long line of cars to pass and then continuing behind those vehicles, and/or someone coming at a perpendicular angle to where the yield sign is. Yields are common in roundabouts (that’s a whole other mess in itself), and you’re not supposed to stop before entering a roundabout unless it is unsafe to do so. Basically, if you’re going to hit/nearly hit someone, or get hit/nearly hit by someone, you should probably stop for a moment. (You don’t even have to do a real stop at yields! You can keep rolling like so many people do at stop signs anyway.)

In the instance I experienced yesterday, I was on an off ramp, heading towards a main road. The road was separated by a median, so you could only go one way when you get off. There is a yield sign at the end of this off-ramp, and there is rarely a need to stop. However, this jerk decided to go about 20 mph on the off-ramp (sure it was a curve, but come on), and then proceeded to STOP at a YIELD sign when NO ONE was coming. Like, full on stop. They then decided to inch forward a little and continue moving at the speed of continental drift until I passed them sort of angrily. This stuff also happens ALL the time at roundabouts and drives me nuts. The point of a roundabout is to reduce traffic congestion. If it’s safe, enter the roundabout. If there’s someone about to drive past you, wait. Some roundabouts are set up HORRENDOUSLY, but we’ll save that for another discussion.

“You keep saying, ‘when it’s safe to do so,’ but how do I know when it’s safe!?” You may be asking with a slight panic setting in.

The simple answer: You plan ahead.

You should never be tunnel visioned while driving, but we’ve all been guilty of that. We need to break that habit, though. When approaching a yield sign, look around you. In the case of the off-ramp, I look onto the road a couple times as soon as I can see it, and then plan what speed I need to be at (similar to merging). If there’s no way in hell I’m going to get on the road because of heavy traffic, I’ll slow down, yield to the cars with the right-of-way, and then continue when I get a chance. When coming to other yield signs, make sure you look both ways and all that stuff BEFORE getting there so you know if you have to stop or not. It’s pretty simple.

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New and Improved

Welcome to the new and improved website for Where Did You Learn How to Drive! Tumblr isn’t quite the right format for text… they’re a little more picture-y… So I have made this wordpress, which I think will probably work better for the purpose of this blog.  I’ll upload all the posts from the tumblr website to keep everything in one place. You can still go back to the tumblr one I guess.  I’ll leave it up just for fun.

Anywho, look for a new post coming today or tomorrow, and look for all the old ones to show up on here.  Thanks for reading!

“Fuck you mother fucker”

This phrase was yelled at me by some punk ass bitch in a lifted SUV the other day.  Why?  Because he was tailgating me?  Because he couldn’t stop as quickly as I could and almost rear-ended me twice?  Because he couldn’t beat me in a drag race from a stop light?  Because he tried to ram me twice and if I hadn’t almost run into a median I would have been hit?  And though I wanted to yell back “Fuck you, you fucking cunt,” I did not have the balls to.

This is why I hate trucks.  Especially stupid lifted ones that serve no purpose.  They all seem to be driven by white trash mother fuckers (literally… probably a few generations of inbreeding).  This prick that then yelled “Wanna go?  Right here?” had a nice pony tail and plug piercings.  Whether he meant race or fight, I’m not sure, but he was holding up traffic at a green light.  After this, he turned into an In-N-Out… probably to eat away his inferiority. I hear burgers can cure that pretty well.  That and beer.

Road rage is scary.  Especially for a young woman like myself.  After a discussion with my boyfriend, I learned a few things about road rage and about the kind of assfaces that drive stupid lifted trucks.

  1. Dealing with road rage:
    Don’t roll down your window… especially if they are tinted–I made this rookie mistake after the aforementioned jackass tried to ram me.  I have illegal tint, and he probably couldn’t see who was in the car, but I wanted to give this guy a mouthful of swearwords and insults… however I froze up and didn’t say anything other than “the light is green.”  Thankfully he turned off the road, but unfortunately I could not get his license plate number to report him for attempted vehicular homicide/assault with a deadly weapon.  If he had continued to terrorize me, I would have had to turn off the road we were traveling on and try to loose him.  If he continued to follow me, I would have had to drive to a police station or something.  NEVER, EVER, EVER IN ALL OF ETERNITY go home if you are being followed.  Only bad news can come out of that.  In summary–keep your windows up, get the license plate number, and try to get away (escape to a police station if need be).
  2. Why people that drive trucks are jerks:
    Daddy issues, mommy issues, small dick syndrome, napoleon complex, innately asinine?  It seems as though these people think they’re hot shit and that they can bully everyone else on the road because they have some big, high tip-risk, vehicle.  Perhaps it’s because I have a little car that can actually go fast and handle a gazillion times better then their pieces of shit, but I’m constantly the target for these terrorist acts (in the literal sense that I’m being terrorized).  I’m sure other small cars experience this same trouble.  It’s like the big fat bully in school that picks on kids two grades below them… because the kids in his grade aren’t afraid of him.  I just can’t understand what the fuck goes through these people’s minds when they decide to try and shove someone off the road with their truck/SUV/jeep.  You can kill someone doing that.

If you drive a truck, any kind of truck, and you don’t tow anything ever… please rethink your life and your values.

Just to reiterate….

This… x2

In addition to that previous post, perhaps some etiquette should be established.  If you are the one backing up out of a parking space, and you see that someone is awfully close to driving past you, you wait.  You do not have the goddamn right of way. This happened twice yesterday–people just backing up and pretending I don’t exist and almost hitting my car.

As the person backing out the space, you have to wait for the person about to drive behind you/person you’re about to hit to pass, unless they signal to you that they are going to wait for you.  So just pull back into your spot if you’re a little too far out of the space or simply stop backing up if you haven’t moved very far.

It’s pretty simple:  If you see another car approaching your vehicle as you are backing up, press on the breaks and stop.  Wait until that vehicle has passed and then resume your reverse motion.

Studded snow tires

Studded snow tires, for those who live in warmer climates, are tires with little metal studs in the tread which provide plenty of extra traction in heavy snow and ice situations.  These tires are handy for people who live in mountainous areas or other areas that receive significant snowfall and/or ice.  Studded snow tires should be put on somewhere around the first heavy snowfall of the season and should be removed when the roads are generally cleared of snow.

Having snow tires on at the end of April in 80 degree weather is just fucking stupid, ruins the road, and decreases the life of your tire!!!!  

A lot of people in my city of residence still have their studded tires on.  This RUINS the road.  You’re banging metal picks into asphalt at over 65 miles per hour…. what do you think that’s going to do to the road?!  If someone hits you with a bunch of metal studs at 60 miles an hour, you’re probably not going to look or feel very good afterwards either.  Then our roads get worse and everyone complains, and then we have to go through construction and repaving.  No one likes road construction.  So take off your goddamn studded snow tires already.  Jeez.

How to turn on the turn signal

Since it appears that a vast majority of drivers fail to use their turn signals, I figured I would take this time to help those drivers find the mechanism which turns the turn signal on and off.

The turn signal indicator stalk is always, and I mean ALWAYS, on the left side of the steering column, just behind the steering wheel.  This even holds true in right-hand drive cars! If you have more than one stick protruding from your steering column, the one that turns on your signal often has the controls for the windshield wiper on it as well. Just in case you are having difficulty locating the lever in your car, refer to the following pictures:

image

How to use this excellent piece of engineering genius is very simple.  If you wish to go to the right, you simply push the stick upwards.  If you wish to go to the left, you simply push the stick downwards.  If you are having a hard time remembering which is which, just think of this neat little trick:  If you hold a finger out and turn the wheel to the right, your finger will hit the turn signal indicator from underneath, pushing it upwards.  Likewise, if you hold a finger out and turn the wheel to the left, your finger will hit the turn signal indicator from above, pushing it downwards.  You don’t even have to move it very far!  You only need to push the stalk up maybe an inch (possibly 2 at the most), which isn’t much trouble at all.

Turning off your signal, which is just as important, is done by returning the stalk to its original position.  Most cars automatically turn off the signal when you return the wheel to “straight” if you move the wheel far enough in the direction you have indicated you will turn.  However, when changing lanes, the signal does not automatically turn off, so it is your responsibility to return the stalk to where it started.

Lastly, the turn signal indicator is not very far away from your hands if you drive with a “9 and 3” hand position.  It is also not very far away in a “10 and 2” or an “8 and 4” hand position.  And, really, it’s not very difficult to reach even if you’re one of those idiots that drives with your wrist at the 12:00 position.  While the actual distance between the wheel and the far end of the turn signal indicator varies by make and model, it is usually within a finger’s length of the steering wheel (see below) so that you can keep your hand on the steering wheel at all times.

image

If you are still having problems figuring out how to turn on your signals, go out to your car and play around until you have figured it out.  And once you know how to turn on your signals, APPLY THIS KNOWLEDGE IN REAL LIFE!