Saturday, August 12, 2006

Two Left Turns

No, this isn't a political discourse. This is a rant on the nearly universal, mindless unskillfulness that I see on the road every day here in Si Valley.

Si Valley is famous for its growth, and in many ways for ungraceful growth. But, show me another area with such limited space that has gone from groves of fruit trees to suburbia cum industrial park that has managed to support the amazing increase in traffic.

And it has built and rebuilt this support. I still marvel at the cloverleafs on Central Expressway that were (and often still are!) one square block of neighborhood.

Another aspect of this support, and the one I'm talking about here, is the double left turn lane at most major intersections. The leftmost lane is for left and U turns, while you can only turn left in the rightmost left turn lane.

It turns out that people do something else in the leftmost turn lane. And that, to my continuing horror and annoyance, is turning too early in the first part of the turn, only to have to pinch it in the last part so that 1) the clueless driver can mostly stay in the proper lane and 2) the clueless driver can avoid T-boning the car in the other left turn lane.

Why oh why do people do this. Over and over, completely unable to figure out the cause? Just when they should be unwinding the steering and accelerating, they are slowing down, jinking the steering wheel, unsettling their passengers, and frightening the person in the next lane (that person would be me).

Repeat after me. Start by going straight and turning the wheel slowly. Your path should be a quarter-circle and you should not repeat not have the feeling you are running out of road at turn's end.

It's really easy to get rid of this bad habit. Trust me, I have instructed dozens of people in exactly this skill on the racetrack. Guess what, this is also one of the secrets of going fast... but that's another post.


Post a Comment

<< Home