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Odd Driving Customs

Odd Driving Customs

Old Jun 1, 06, 8:16 am
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Odd Driving Customs

I have lived in 9 states, driven in dozens more, as well as several other countries. Only in Alabama have I observed these 2 customs.

1. Turn signals for the car ahead of you. When a local driver activates his turn signal, he is likely to be copied by the driver behind him. I believe that the intention is to warn other drivers that this would not be a good time to pass. For a left turn, that makes sense, although it aggravates me that others automatically assume I'm not paying attention or am too impatient to tolerate the least delay or slowdown. Makes no sense for right turns (a less common practice) and potentially leads to other accidents because the signal is false.

2. Stopping for funeral processions. Put a line of cars on the opposite side of the road, with headlights burning during daytime hours, and the typical Alabama driver will pull off the road. I understand not cutting into one. I understand keeping intersections clear. I don't get pulling over. I've even observed it on multi-lane limited access highways. I thought I had witnessed a false procession pullover this past Sunday as I was in a long line of cars in a driving rainstorm. Turns out there was a tornado overhead and behind me that was causing drivers on the opposite side to stop.

These are my observations. Any from elsewhere?
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Old Jun 1, 06, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by BamaVol
I have lived in 9 states, driven in dozens more, as well as several other countries. Only in Alabama have I observed these 2 customs.

1. Turn signals for the car ahead of you. When a local driver activates his turn signal, he is likely to be copied by the driver behind him. I believe that the intention is to warn other drivers that this would not be a good time to pass.
I've seen the practice occasionally on narrow rural roads in heavily wooded, low visibility East Texas. It makes good sense, especially in areas with narrow unpaved shoulders, inducing vehicles approaching from behind to slow or stop. If you've ever seen some poor b*stard rear ended by a logging truck, you's do anything to prevent it, including emergency flashers.

Originally Posted by BamaVol
2. Stopping for funeral processions. Put a line of cars on the opposite side of the road, with headlights burning during daytime hours, and the typical Alabama driver will pull off the road. These are my observations. Any from elsewhere?
Still seen throughout the rural South and near Southwest, an ancient custom of respect originally applicable to pedestrians. Less often seen today is a feature from deeper in history, male pedestrians removing hats/caps as the funeral cortege passes. I know of a couple of small towns in West Texas where the entire town shuts down for a funeral, and on the road ftoward the cemetery, approaching pickups will stop and the drivers dismount, "gimme" caps in hand.

A practice which says something meritorious about those who practice it, respect for others.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 8:33 am
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Priority to the right in Belgium. I will never understand why traffic comes to a halt in a major traffic circle to allow cars to enter from the right without stopping.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 9:28 am
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I'm not sure I'd define it as an 'odd' custom - More in the category of a 'nice' custom, but it was neat to watch how, in Ireland, everyone flashed their hazard light to say "thank you" after you let them pass.

Cheers,
Geoff Glave
Vancouver, Canada
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Old Jun 1, 06, 10:12 am
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The custom here in NY is to drive with a fist with the middle finger extended.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 10:18 am
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try driving in taiwan or even riding a bicycle here
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Old Jun 1, 06, 10:19 am
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I've driven in a few countries around the world - not sure if I can remember which ones off the top of my head, but I'm sure they're out there - where people actually drive on the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!

You have no idea how many accidents they almost caused that way, when I was just minding my own business, driving on the RIGHT side of the road and they came head on at me IN MY LANE!

I'll tell you it was a miracle no one was killed!!

Nutjobs!







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Old Jun 1, 06, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by Tsukiji
Priority to the right in Belgium. I will never understand why traffic comes to a halt in a major traffic circle to allow cars to enter from the right without stopping.
Priority from the right makes perfect sense -- it's a very effective traffic calming tool (when used correctly), and I consider it much less obnoxious than the all-way stop in the US.

Priority from the right in roundabouts, however, makes no sense, and although I can't dispute that these aberrations exist, I'd say that it's much more common to find priority for cars in the circle.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 10:41 am
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not in england or japan ios doesnt they drive on the right
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:31 pm
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Everyday driving habits in Boston

1. Yielding to oncoming traffic making a left turn across your lane. Sure makes you feel good about yourself, who cares about the twenty cars behind you that have to come to a stop in support of your altruism. This is even better if there are 2 lanes in your direction, because then cars passing you on the right can easily collide with the one that you've encouraged to turn.

2. Making left turns from the right lane. You just drive down the right side of the line of cars waiting to turn, on the shoulder if need be, then at the last minute activate your turn signal thereby giving you the power to not have to wait like everyone else.

3. Making left turns across intersecting traffic by pulling out and blocking the rightbound oncoming lanes, then stopping and waiting for a chance to merge into the leftbound traffic no matter how long it takes.

4. Going straight across 80-90% of an intersection before deciding to turn left, instead of starting the turn as soon as possible. Maybe this is because they have lots of rotaries (traffic circles) up here?

5. Going the wrong way down a one-way street because otherwise you'd have to go around the block and your time is too valuable for that.

6. Double or triple parking.

7. Parking at an intersection so that others can't see oncoming traffic.

8. Stopping in moving traffic to let vehicles enter the roadway from right or left intersecting streets even though they are waiting at a stop sign. See #1, above.

9. Swerving into oncoming lanes because there is a car parked at the side of the road, no matter how much room you have to pass. After all, what would you rather do - sideswipe a parked car or head-on a semi? It's a no-brainer, like most of the drivers here!
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:37 pm
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Originally Posted by TMOliver

Still seen throughout the rural South and near Southwest, an ancient custom of respect originally applicable to pedestrians. Less often seen today is a feature from deeper in history, male pedestrians removing hats/caps as the funeral cortege passes. I know of a couple of small towns in West Texas where the entire town shuts down for a funeral, and on the road ftoward the cemetery, approaching pickups will stop and the drivers dismount, "gimme" caps in hand.
When we had my grandmother's funeral last Feb in a small town in Nebraska everyone stopped and pulled over to the side of the road when we were moving from church to cemetary. It was a nice thing to do. I don't see folks doing it in the SF bay area much though.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by BamaVol
2. Stopping for funeral processions. Put a line of cars on the opposite side of the road, with headlights burning during daytime hours, and the typical Alabama driver will pull off the road. I understand not cutting into one. I understand keeping intersections clear. I don't get pulling over. I've even observed it on multi-lane limited access highways. I thought I had witnessed a false procession pullover this past Sunday as I was in a long line of cars in a driving rainstorm. Turns out there was a tornado overhead and behind me that was causing drivers on the opposite side to stop.

These are my observations. Any from elsewhere?
I have observed this on multiple occasions in semi-rural North Carolina (Gaston and Cleveland counties), even on a four-lane divided highway.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by timstravel
1. Yielding to oncoming traffic making a left turn across your lane. Sure makes you feel good about yourself, who cares about the twenty cars behind you that have to come to a stop in support of your altruism. This is even better if there are 2 lanes in your direction, because then cars passing you on the right can easily collide with the one that you've encouraged to turn.

2. Making left turns from the right lane. You just drive down the right side of the line of cars waiting to turn, on the shoulder if need be, then at the last minute activate your turn signal thereby giving you the power to not have to wait like everyone else.

3. Making left turns across intersecting traffic by pulling out and blocking the rightbound oncoming lanes, then stopping and waiting for a chance to merge into the leftbound traffic no matter how long it takes.

4. Going straight across 80-90% of an intersection before deciding to turn left, instead of starting the turn as soon as possible. Maybe this is because they have lots of rotaries (traffic circles) up here?

5. Going the wrong way down a one-way street because otherwise you'd have to go around the block and your time is too valuable for that.

6. Double or triple parking.

7. Parking at an intersection so that others can't see oncoming traffic.

8. Stopping in moving traffic to let vehicles enter the roadway from right or left intersecting streets even though they are waiting at a stop sign. See #1, above.

9. Swerving into oncoming lanes because there is a car parked at the side of the road, no matter how much room you have to pass. After all, what would you rather do - sideswipe a parked car or head-on a semi? It's a no-brainer, like most of the drivers here!
I come across #1, #2, #3, #4 and #8 daily in Cleveland too.
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:46 pm
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SF although hard does do it.

For my grandfather's funeral we had cops on motorcycles help us through traffic. It helped then
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Old Jun 1, 06, 12:47 pm
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Here's what I have noticed about the use of a turn signal on the east coast. I look at the license plate of the car, and depending on the state the driver is from, activation of the turn signal means:

NJ I am planning to turn
NY I am now turning
PA I just turned

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