Heavy traffic never results in enjoyable driving. These observations on driving in heavy traffic are based both on actual laws and on common sense. They might be better expressed in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, but for now, I am using this forum to teach drivers what they should already know.
- Unless you are a Shriner driving a midget car in a parade, you do not need to change lanes two or three times every block. You and I will be stopped by the same traffic light. The only difference is that the other drivers will not be saying bad things about me.
- You have a turn signal on your steering column for a reason—use it! Driving in heavy traffic is no occasion to submit to your whim to be mysterious and unpredictable. Don’t start the signal as you begin the turn. The point is to give advance warning to other drivers what you intend to do.
- When the traffic is heavy on the expressway, employ the zipper merge. When cars are crawling well below the speed limit and traffic is entering from a ramp, or when two lanes combine into one, drivers should stay in their lane until the point of the merge, and then they should take turns—one from the right, then one from the left, and so on. This is the most efficient way to use the pavement and to get every driver where he or she wants to be.
- When leaving the expressway and entering city traffic, do not try to zipper merge. That Yield sign is there for you. A traffic light will give you a chance to join the traffic, usually in less than a moment. Don’t try to push your way into traffic ahead of your turn. (The sixth point is related to this point.)
- Do not enter an intersection controlled by a traffic light if you will not be able to exit the intersection before the light turns red. Claiming your spot in the intersection while the light changes is both rude and illegal. Wait your turn.
- Right-turn-on-red should not be claimed in heavy traffic. You may turn right at a red light only if there is no nearby traffic facing the green light. When a driver obeys the fifth point, above, that is not an invitation for you to get in front of that driver. A friendly smile and wave does not make it alright.
- When you leave home, make sure that you have enough gasoline in your tank to reach your destination. You do not want to run out of gas on a bridge over the river, making the bridge even more of a bottleneck that it was already. You do not want to have your car sitting, stalled on the bridge, protected by a police car with flashing lights, while some kind motorist gets you to a gas station to buy an emergency gallon of gas in a red gas can. You especially do not want this to happen to you if your license plate proudly identifies you as GERALD.
Let’s be careful out there. J.