Tater Takes on Driving

I hate driving and, unfortunately, find myself driving at least an hour a day for my commute. The worst thing about the suburbs is how much you have to drive. You still have people all over the place, but none of the convenience of a city. If I’m going to live around a bunch of people, I would rather be in a city where I could walk or take transit everywhere. If I’m going to live where I have to drive everywhere, I would rather be in the country where there aren’t a lot of people. The burbs are the worst, especially if you hate driving around a lot of other people.

The thing that has irritated me the most recently is the tendency for everyone to line up on one particular lane at a traffic light on a multiple lane road. Driving home through Ft. Meade, 175 goes from one lane to two. I have missed the light at that area so many times because everyone lines up in the left lane and no one uses the right. The left lane slowly moves forward while the right lane stays empty. By the time I get to where I can merge to the empty right lane, the light is changing. This type of thing also happens close to work where everyone gets in the right lane at a light because they are taking a right exit a half mile down the road. If you are actually turning right at the light you can’t get to the turn lane because of all the cars. I get that you want to be ready to take the exit, but I guarantee you will be able to merge over once those of us turning right are able to turn. I’m sure there are logical reasons for this, but it drives me crazy.

This one is not a driver issue, but a traffic flow issues. They recently added a much needed traffic light to an intersection near my house. Unfortunately, they did not feel the need to add a left turn light from the very busy main road. So, when the light turns green, the cars turning left sit and wait forever for all of the cars to go through the light. Sometimes this means one or two cars gets to turn left when the light turns yellow. This sometimes causes a major backup on the road. Why not just add a turn light? Who decided these things? I also am annoyed with the roads with a left turn only lane at  a light with the straight and right turn lane being the same when only one side of the street goes at a time. It makes more sense for straight and left to be the same lane with a right turn only lane so the right turn people can go right on red if possible. This obviously, changes if both directions are green at the same time. In that case, you don’t want left and straight sharing a lane. Am I the only one who thinks this makes more sense? Did my explanation even make sense?

Other things that continue to annoy me:

Driving slow in the left turn lane.

Refusing to turn right on red because you are waiting for all three lanes to be clear before you go.

Slamming on your brakes before going through a green light.

Slowing to 10 mph below the speed limit a mile before your actual exit.

Driving on the shoulder to cut in line at a merge area.

Not using your lights in the rain.

Not using your turn signal, ever.

Feel free to add yours in the comments.

 

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Traffic Sucks, But So Do You

I am the first to admit that traffic in this area sucks. There are way too many cars for the roads we have and they just keep building. What makes it worse, though, is that the drivers suck just as much as the volume. I could probably write a book about bad Maryland driving, but I will stick to two local Odenton issues.

The first issue that arose recently in the Odenton area was the traffic circle on 175. It was a two lane circle built to ease the traffic at a busy intersection. Almost immediately the complaints began because people did not want to learn how to drive in a traffic circle. There were accidents because drivers did not pay attention to how the circle worked and tried to turn from the wrong lane. Instead of learning how to navigate the circle, the area residents cried and complained until the circle was taken to one lane and now traffic is back to being backed up at the intersection again.

Recently, the intersection of Rte 3 and Waugh Chapel Road got a new traffic pattern called a Michigan U. Again, this was done to ease congestion on rte 3. Before the pattern was even changed people started to complain.I admit that I was skeptical of the Michigan U and thought it would be really bad. I was wrong. Where I used to avoid turning left at that intersection to go north, I now use it exclusively. It is much faster than the old traffic pattern. Still, people are complaining that it is dangerous. Why is it dangerous? Because the drivers refuse to learn how to use it. They don’t read the signs that tell them what lane goes where. They don’t pay attention to what is going on around them. They turn and then try to swerve across multiple lanes to get to where they need to be. This is not a problem with the traffic pattern. This is a problem with the intelligence of the drivers. When i mentioned this on a discussion on this on Odenton Patch no one denied that the drivers are the problem. They still want the pattern changed. Why? I assume laziness and/or stupidity on the part of the people who refuse or can’t learn new things.

We could make the drive out there suck a little less by sucking a little less ourselves. Read the signs, pay attention and stop blaming the traffic pattern for your own stupidity.