Monday, January 28, 2013

Rules of the Road

Those who keep track of such things are predicting a huge influx of tourists this season.  Cold winters in the north are good for the Florida economy.   I have already noticed a big increase in the traffic around town.  Today there was a big car show at the airport and we had to take the long way around to get to the beach.  Damn Snowbirds!

I can get away with outrageous statements like that because--when I am not driving around in my car with a Vermont license plate--I am often taken for a native.  That is not necessarily a compliment, but I do plan to check out the Cracker festival this year to see how far I can push it.

Even before the tourists get here though, there is plenty of what the Allstate commercials call mayhem on the roads.  In fact with the number of three wheel cycles, golf carts, and those scooter things, there is plenty of mayhem even off the roads.  Those ride-in grocery carts?--mayhem in the supermarket aisles.

I did hear that the state is planning to stop automatic re-issue of handicap passes.  There will need to be a doctor's verification every so often.  I am just hoping that they will stop issuing the tags to blind people.  I am not kidding.  Our neighbor is legally blind...and he drives...every single day.  He is not the only one.  A couple of years ago I had to see a retina specialist.  I got a clean bill of eye health, but I don't believe everyone did.  There were plenty of people walking out of that office in those dark plastic  glasses who got behind the wheel and drove away.  Designated driver, people!  Please.

I have made a few winter rules of the road for myself.  I can't enforce them for anyone but myself. but I will put them out there in the hopes that they might prove useful to others as well:

  1. Avoid driving at all during the full moon.  It affects the entire ocean.   Think about what it might do to the fluids in your brain.
  2. My preference is always to park so that I can pull out of the space head on.  Parking lot construction in Florida, or at least in Sarasota County, thwarts that effort far too often.  Therefore, park at the outer edges of the lot.  A little extra walking is good for you anyway.
  3. Never assume that the driver of another car sees you.  Doesn't matter if you are in your car with the invisibility shield clearly turned off, on a bike, or a pedestrian.  Never assume the other driver sees you.
  4. Be aware that a right turn signal does not preclude a left hand turn.
  5. Nor does being in the left lane preclude a right hand turn.
  6. Know the local laws.
    • A red light is a suggestion that traffic stop after six cars have passed through the intersection.
    • Right turn on red after a slight tap of the brakes.
    • Pedestrian crossing lights are mere ornamentation.  Who walks anywhere?  Also, refer to #3, above.

Now, I have noticed that automobile technology is making rapid advancements.  There are cars, I have noticed, with no one visible behind the wheel.  Right now they are fairly slow moving, but I can't help believing that self-driving vehicles equipped with programmable GPS are the wave of the future.

See more HERE.


  1. Right on! Let me add a couple of things:
    No signal does not necessarily mean the car in front of you is going straight ahead.
    The left-hand lane on the turnpike, 95, or any other highway is not a seniors-only, drive-under-the-speed-limit designated lane.

  2. Thanks for the chuckle! Those drivers exist here in NJ as well!


  3. That's what I tell my husband. "Watch out for the pedestrians." Especially a good idea when he is trying to turn left on a yellow light.

  4. One of the rules I would add is:

    Stop at a Yield sign only if it is OK with the guy behind you, other wise pull out and make the oncoming traffic yield.

    For some strange reason when I pull up to a Yield sign, I stop if there is traffic coming. This frequently results in the person behind me honking the horn, throwing me the finger, and I usually note that something is being mouthed to me in an exaggerated form that starts with the top incisors pressed firmly on the lower lip and ends up with a Gerber baby like pucker of the lips. I wonder what that could be? Ahhh if I could only read lips, perhaps I would understand the nature of my transgression.

    1. Merging traffic is the worst. You are right--"Yield" only applies to some one else. We wouldn't be in our cars if we didn't have important places to be.

  5. When you live anywhere that draws tourists (I hate to say this - but especially old ones) caution is necessary both in and out of a car!

  6. I have happily left the madcap tourist season in Florida. Even though tiny town Arkansas is a tourist destination, the drivers here have impeccable manners. I even did a post about them I was so amazed. They are rare and all mine. I feel for your situation but am glad I am not anywhere near it. Stay safe and sane.

  7. I can only imagine! It is really scary to think of some people who can barely walk, or see, behind the wheel. Stay safe. I like your rules of the road.

  8. The most dangerous place I drive is the Safeway parking lot. Other drivers, coming in too fast, backing up without checking that I am too, pedestrians not even looking at the cars and walking right into your path. I'm always relieved to get out of there safely.

  9. I abide my number 2. I will take number one into deep consideration.

  10. In southern California one of the biggest problems is that turn signals seem to come as optional equipment -- not all cars have them!


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