Boy, it has been a while

I do apologize for disappearing. Life has a way of making things disappear. Like my tolerance for traffic! But today on my ways to and from work, I attempted a new strategy — chilling the fuck out.

Normally I like to get to where I’m going at the fastest speed possible because, well, fast is fun. It’s not that I’m running late all the time, I just like to drive quickly all the time. But in the desperate need to break speed limit laws, I tend to get stuck falling down an endless pit of anger, frustration, profanity, hatred (and of course, despair). It’s probably bad for my overall well-being that I get trapped in a cycle of questioning the meaning of life every time I venture onto the roads. Thus, I attempted to chill the fuck out… and you know what… it actually worked. I’d be stuck in a line of people at a light, and where I would have angrily cut into the other lane to pass them all, I would just say to myself “that’s fine, no need to be anywhere this very second.” To my own amazement it worked, and my commute went relatively pain-free today.

So, I’ve decided to return to my blog with suggestions on how to remain calm in the face of terrifying, terrible, treacherous, and torpid traffic.

1.) Listen to music. It’s a lot nicer to sit at a light or be stuck behind a giant line of people for whatever reason when a good song is playing. Whether it’s music you bring yourself or something’s that playing on the radio, turn that shit up and calm the fuck down. Sing along if you want. Dance in your car if you want. Whatever takes you to a happy place, get on it.

2.) Affirmations. Just repeat to yourself “There is no reason I need to be at my destination this very minute” or “calm down, you’ll get to your destination eventually” or “this isn’t the Oregon Trail, you don’t have to rest for three days until conditions improve.” Of course, this only works if you’re legitimately not running late for anything. If you are running late for something incredibly important, then you’re s.o.l.

3.) Take in the sights. You’re probably not looking around much on your daily commute, so take those times when you’re stuck in traffic to look around you. You might find some cool things, like a pretty tree you never noticed before or a hole-in-the-wall shop that you might want to check out some time. Granted, not all commutes are pretty, but do your best.

4.) Meditate. If you’re into that kind of thing. Just don’t close your eyes for too long…

5.) Think about stuff. Happy or productive stuff, though. Things like what groceries you need to get, ideas for a project at work or school, clever ways to ask out that guy or girl you’ve been eyeing for a while, what to have to dinner, and where you’d want to go for vacation. Avoid things like how your life is being wasted away sitting in traffic or how you could have avoided being stuck behind that accident had you taken a different route home after work.

Try some of these techniques while out on the road… maybe it’ll make your drive a little less stressful.

Also, now that’s nice out, I need to try and not swear aloud so much while I drive because people might hear me when I have the windows down.

Also also:

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Making left turns correctly

I’m sure we’ve all done it — some more to an extreme than others. However, there are drivers that take extreme to fucking dangerous.

In this post, I’m going to talk about when people turning left cut into the on-coming lane (often into the left turn lane on that side of the intersection). A visual display would probably be helpful:

inters car 1-a

This blue car is not following a path of righteousness. It is following a path through the dark side. The side of the road that he/she is not supposed to be on.

This frustrates the hell out of me when I’m entering a turn lane and have to slam on the breaks before I am hit by one of these assholes. I once saw someone turn onto a road and drive about 50 feet on the wrong side of the road before, you know, driving correctly. Thankfully no one was coming the opposite direction so doom and destruction didn’t occur, but this driving habit is horribly dangerous. This can happen:

inters car 1-b

Why do people find it necessary to take this kind of “shortcut.” It’s not really any quicker than making the turn correctly. It’s just, I suppose, a more direct path to get to where you want to go? Unfortunately, it’s fucking stupid to do that! Do you drive in the opposite lane of traffic for a while when you’re planning on making a left turn into a McDonald’s because it’s a more direct path to the drive-thru. NO! YOU FUCKING DON’T! Why? Because either you’ll hit someone or someone will hit you. It’s pretty much common sense (unless you’re insane and running from the cops) that you stay on your side of the road. Just stay there. It’s not difficult. If that is difficult for you, you need to never ever drive again ever in your entire life. Sell your car. Just get rid of it. You won’t need it. You shouldn’t even have a bicycle. That would be even worse.

Anywho, this is the correct path you should be taking when making a left turn:

inters car 1-C redone

You drive forward a bit so the front of your car will be able to make it to the correct side of the road you are trying to turn onto without having to cut off that bottom turn lane. This is step one, and the most important step. How far you drive straight  forward will vary depending on the size of the intersection and the size of the vehicle, but you must go straight FIRST (sorry Paint made the whole “straight line” idea a bit difficult, but you get the idea). Naturally, some problems can occur when there are people trying to turn from both sides of the intersection and there’s not really enough room in the middle to accommodate both, but you can figure it out.

Plan your turn. For those of us that do participate in some sort of automotive sport, this is a pretty automatic judgement. For all of you who drive to work, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office and hate driving in general, this is going to be a mental workout. “Is this far enough? Am I actually going straight? When do I start my turn? Dear god what am I doing with my life?” But it will be okay. I promise. Trial and error. Hopefully your error doesn’t end up being an accident, but when no one’s in that bottom turn lane, don’t cheat. Work on, you know, driving properly and not being a dick. It will pay off in the long run. Just because you got your license doesn’t mean you get to stop learning about the skill of driving.

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.

“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!