Saturday, October 8, 2011

Traffic Courtesy Rules

While driving the other day, I noticed several people doing mildly discourteous things to their fellow drivers, or at least not optimally courteous. So, I figured I'd help educate a few people on how to make the road a nicer, safer, and more efficient place.
  1. Prefer the leftmost lane when stopping at a red light. In general, only occupy the right lane when the left is two or more cars longer. This increases the chance of your direction being able to utilize the right turn on red. It also makes the right lane's traffic clear the intersection faster, which increases the chances of the opposite direction being able to utilize the right turn on red. As an added bonus, you avoid any slowness in the right lane caused by people turning right on green.
  2. When stopped at a light, do not pull forward more than the lane to your right. This gives anyone turning right on red a clear view of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, this is also a difficult rule to follow with Interstate on- and off-ramps, which often curve such that the natural inclination is to pull forward. It is especially important to follow this rule if you have a larger vehicle that obscures the view of adjacent cars.
  3. Try to vacate the rightmost lane on the Interstate when approaching a busy on-ramp or interchange. Reducing or eliminating the need to merge keeps your direction, and however many directions are merging into your direction, flowing smoothly.
  4. Learn how roundabouts work. This brochure from Wisconsin is good: [pdf]
  5. If you have a choice of turning left at the current light or the next light, and a motorcycle is the only vehicle in the left turn lane, help them trip the sensor by turning left with them.
Naturally, be safe in applying these rules. Still use the rightmost lane, even if it means keeping someone from turning right on red, when you have to turn immediately after the intersection. By all means, stay in the rightmost lane if you are exiting the Interstate soon. And it's better to annoy people by waiting to enter a roundabout until you feel comfortable, rather than causing an accident. These are some things to keep in mind, though. Anyone else have any helpful traffic hints that aren't necessarily common knowledge?