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Road Rage (Part 2)


This drives me mad. Literally. (Geddit? Drives me mad. Oh so funny)

In the local neighbourhood where I live, there are lots of simple crossroad junctions, and it’s the sheer inconsistency in how each one is different that winds me up.

The biggest difference is getting used to the fact that the marker line down the middle of the road does not continue through the junction, and I find this really disconcerting – always makes me slow down – and sometimes makes me want to stop as I’m not sure if I’ve got the right of way or not.

Take a look at the following example:

In England, you could get a double dotted lines telling you if you have to stop. The road that has the ‘through’ has lines down the middle of the road that continue through the junction.

Here though, you’re lucky if you get a single white line that tells drivers that they have to stop. Also there might be a STOP sign, that’s probably battered, rusted, been twisted round so that it’s facing the wrong way, or has a big tree or bush obscuring it so that you can’t see it – and that’s just if you’re approaching it. Often I have to check see if the road coming in across me has got ‘Stop’ signs for me to be sure that traffic is going to stop, and it’s safe for me to drive on.

The fact that the ‘through’ roads lines stop though is what disconcerts me as it makes me think that I don’t have the right of way.

And then just to really piss me off are the inconsistencies – as after winging about all this to Leigh a lot I then find a junction near us one day where there ARE lines that continue through the junction!

But then … there is also a crossroads junction a few blocks away from me where there are NO road marking on either of the four roads – so no one knows who’s got right of way! It’s very confusing, and I’m suprised there aren’t more accidents.

So as it is … I slow down at almost every junction like this now because I never know if I can go steaming through or not. (Well, I stay ‘steaming’ this is the Tankmobile we’re talking about, so ‘chugging’ might be a better word)

More tomorrow. Hope you’re still enjoying the music.

Random question: Is there a US equivalent to the UK’s Highway Code?

22 responses to “Road Rage (Part 2)”

  1. Chz says:

    The full content of the UK Highway Code would be split between the federal and state governments. Washington only dictates so many things (the major rules of the road, as it were) and the states are left to fill in the rest. Here’s what the feds have to say:

  2. Double dotted lines don’t mean you have to stop. A solid line means you have to stop.

    Honestly! Do you even have a british driving licence?

  3. Bob H says:

    I remember being amazed in New York to find out that even if the little man is green at a “cross-walk” a car might still be coming, just not head-on!


  4. geofftech says:

    #2 – I that license with an S, or licence with a C, Ian?

    #3 – Bob – Zebra Crossings [cross-walks] are tomorrow!

  5. David - Lightwater says:

    Yes I have noticed this in the US before. But it’s not the road markings etc that scare me, it’s the standards of driving! They are bloody awful, although I do agree that the British aren’t the best. The Germans probably are!

    ps. Just to let you know Geoff … be glad that you are not on South West Trains today. They shut 7 PLATFORMS at Waterloo! This is because a train derailed at platform 2 at 5mph. God I am glad I don’t have to go into London from Woking, it’s going to be HELL.

  6. geofftech says:

    Now you see, I’d have to say that I think the standard of driving (in Charleston anyway) is much better and people are politer. Maybe i’m just comparing that to London driving though where it’s every man for himself.

    Talking of politer driving… here, cars stop and the driver kindly waves you across the street when your just out walking on the pavement! [sidewalk]. That never happens back home.

    Sometimes, that even annoys me, because I think “Noo… YOU go first, and I’ll just cross the road and walk behind your car”, but instead I have to cheerfully wave back, mouth a “thanks” and pretend like he’s my best friend in the whole world for being so kind to let me cross.

  7. Garion says:

    I think it’s a good think I’ll be learning to drive in Britain when I’m 17! I dont think I’d be able to cope with American roads with all these horror stories! lol

  8. geofftech says:

    No. I’ve been to the DMV three times now, and each time they’ve been as useful as a solar-powered torch.

    Don’t mention the DMV.

    I’m going to go back … but only once I’ve regained some mental strength and re-grown my hair from where I’ve torn it out with them.

  9. TowerBlockTina says:

    I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 types of drivers in the UK. Since moving out of London to Surrey, and also driving around the country generally this is it:
    1. London driving: Mad, fast, don’t care, cut in,change lanes, tail-gate, everyone for themselves,lock yourself in and GRIT YOUR TEETH, (this may also apply to other large cities).
    2. Suburban driving: A bit more considerate, marginally slower, still a few mad **stards though, so don’t get complacent.
    3. Rural driving: Like when you go on holiday, hopelessly slow, you are dying to overtake, but hey it feels good when people let you in/out etc.What’s the rush anyway?
    Any others?

  10. Kirk says:

    #11: Yes.

    4. Italy.

  11. jj says:

    this was recieved by me in an e-mail from a Summerville Police Officer:

    New Regulations in the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle’s 2006 Handbook:

    1. Turn signals will give away your next move. A confident South Carolina driver avoids using them.
    2. Under no circumstance should you maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, because the space will be filled in by someone else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
    3. The faster you drive through a red light, the less chance you have of getting hit.
    4. WARNING! Never come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No one expects it and it will result in your being rear-ended
    5. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork, especially with CANADA, NY, NJ or OHIO plates. With no insurance, the other operator probably has nothing to lose.
    6. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a vigorous foot massage as the brake pedal violently pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it’s a chance to strengthen your leg muscles.
    7. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It’s a good way to prepare other drivers entering the highway.
    8. Speed limits are arbitrary figures; given only as a suggestion and are not enforceable in South Carolina during rush hour.
    9. Just because you’re in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn’t mean that a South Carolina driver flashing his high beams behind you can go faster in your spot.
    10. Always brake and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tire. This is seen as a sign of respect for the victim.
    11. Learn to swerve abruptly without signaling. South Carolina is the home of high-speed slalom-driving thanks to the Department of Public Works, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them alert.
    12. It is the tradition in South Carolina to honk your horn at cars in front of you that do not move three milliseconds after the light turns green.
    13. To avoid injury in the event of a collision or rollover, it is important for you to exit your vehicle through the windshield right away. Wearing your seat-belt will only impede your hi-velocity escape from danger.
    14. Remember that the goal of every South Carolina driver is to get ahead of the pack by whatever means necessary.
    15. In South Carolina, ‘flipping the bird’ is considered a polite salute. This gesture should always be returned.

  12. Jono says:

    We have unmarked four-way crossroads in the UK. The rules are that you give way to anyone approaching from your right.

  13. geofftech says:

    Jono – Where? I can’t think of an example!

  14. stroppycow says:

    i thought the priority to people coming from the right was unheard of in the UK. I know it unerves quite a few brits when they drive in France.

  15. geofftech says:

    Crazy French… if you’re driving down a main road, you have to slow down and let someone in who is turning in from the right, yes? Mad!

  16. SC. That’s because they drive on the wrong side. I think Jono is implying that if there are no markings, roundabout rules apply.

  17. David - Lightwater says:

    Yes the french are mad, the rule is “priorité a droite”, although I didn’t have any problems in france that much, apart from the odd arsehole! I don’t ever want to drive in paris!

  18. Jono says:

    #15 – They tend to be where two residential streets cross each other and there isn’t enough traffic to justify marking the road. There’s one on my Dad’s street. I’ll see if there’s one in Guildford somewhere and take a photo for you.

    #16 – As Ian says, it’s not the same rule as the French one. It’s roundabout rules, just without yer actual roundabout.

    #19 – They’re trying to wean the French off the “a droite” rule. When I was in Corsica a year ago, they’d built lots of new roundabouts (Carrefours) with signs before them saying “VOUS N’AVEZ PAS LA PRIORITE” as you approached them. The rules were the same (except for the direction) as UK roundabout rules.

  19. #14 There are a very few I’ve come across in the UK.
    I think they usually have a special sign to warn you though.

  20. Jono says:

    UK Crossroads warning sign#21 – There are lots: You just don’t notice them when you come across them. There’s the normal crossroads sign, but I don’t think there’s a special one for an unmarked crossroads.

  21. geofftech says:

    Jono – that sign says it all : Big road that is a crossroads with a small country-lane style side road.

    Here, there are junctions where four roads meet all of the same stature/size, and no lines, signs or anything to tell you who or what has right of wya – in built up residential areas.

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