Monday, May 30, 2011

Road Blog

I just drove 3968 miles to Texas and back. Miles on the road, in a few short days, inspired this blog.

One of the truly great things about living in California is some of the greatest roads for riding/driving. I’m talking ROADS; like Skyline from Black Road to Hwy 92, or 36 from 101 to I-5. More great roads: 299, or Hwy 2. I’ll NEVER tire of Hwy 1, the coast road south of Carmel. I’m not talking about 101 north of San Jose, or the 405, or the Central Valley’s 99. These roads are terrible. Perhaps, it is because we don’t know HOW to drive these roads. Maybe I can help.

I don’t know how many of you know how to NUMBER the lanes. Luckily for us, they are numbered, like we read, from left to right. The lane to the left is lane number 1. Next lane from left to right, is the number 2 lane, and so forth until you reach the right shoulder.

I believe lane SELECTION is the key. Follow with me, please:

TWO LANES each way:
The number 2 lane is the DRIVING lane, and the number 1 lane is the PASSING lane. Drive on the right, pass on the left. While driving, you come upon a slower moving vehicle and you decide to pass. Check your rear view mirrors, turn on your left signal, head check over your left shoulder, move over and pass. PASS. When you can see BOTH headlights of the slower moving vehicle in your interior rear view mirror, signal right, and return to the driving lane. Hint: if the slower moving vehicle is travelling 60 miles per hour, and you are “passing” at 61 or 62, you are not passing, you are obstructing traffic. California Vehicle Code 22400. Put your foot in it and get around the slower vehicle.

THREE LANES each way:
In an urban area, the number 3 lane is a merging lane. Use this lane to merge onto the freeway, and move into this lane when you want to get off. Don't DRIVE in this lane. The number 2 lane is the driving lane, and the number 1 lane is the passing lane.

FOUR LANES each way:
In this case, the number 4 lane is the merging lane. The number 3 lane is the driving lane, the number 2 lane is the passing lane and the number ONE lane is the through lane. I explain: if you are going to be on a freeway for 10 or more miles, you have no reason to be in the merging lane, or messing around with driving and passing. Get over to the number 1 lane and stay there, until 1 or 2 miles before you need to exit, then safely make lane changes until you need to get into the merging lane to get off.

There is an exception to this. We are taught in driver’s ed, to check our rear view mirrors every 4-6 seconds. I do this, don’t you? If you see someone coming up behind you, moving faster than you are going, MOVE THE HELL OVER AND LET HIM PASS! In California, slower traffic moves right. If you don’t, you are a road boulder. See Obstruction above (California Vehicle Code 22400). Temporarily, move into the passing lane, and get back into the through lane once the faster moving vehicle has passed you. Slower traffic move right. Vehicle Code Section 21654.

MORE THAN 4 LANES:
1-    Through lane
2-    Passing lane
3-    Driving lane
4-    Driving lane
5-    Merging lane

Please, if you are driving and there are 5 or more vehicles behind you, PLEASE pull over:

VC Section 21656.  On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.

A couple of words about carpool lanes: FUCK THEM! If we had decent public transportation, we wouldn’t need them.

A couple words about metering lights: FUCK THEM!! I can see (sort of) having metering lights to get onto the freeways, but metering lights from one freeway to another (like SB 17 onto 85 south). WTF?? The traffic is to flow FREEly from one FREEway to another.

When it comes to driving and passing, they know this in every state except ours. Driving in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, people tool away in the right lane, then move into the left lane to pass, and actually pass! When I got back into California, everyone was driving all over the place. Maybe we need a sign at all ports of entry into our state:

WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA, MOVE RIGHT TO PASS.