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Driving 101

Driving 101

I will deviate today from photography and other happenings.   It’s time to say something about people’s driving.  This is Driving 101 – lanes – their use and meaning.  If they still teach driver’s ed and driver’s training, lots of people are failing while still getting a license.

Definitions

Lane – guide for where you drive.  It is delineated by lines – either solid or dashed, and either yellow or white.

Yellow line, solid – divides on-coming traffic lanes.  Solid on your side means you cannot cross it except to make a left-hand turn in to a driveway, or u-turn, where legal.

Yellow line, double-double – this is to be treated as if it were a concrete wall.  You cannot cross it even to make a turn.

Yellow line, dashed – divides on-coming traffic lanes.  May be used to pass a car in your lane if it is safe to cross the dashed yellow line.

White line, solid – may only be crossed in an emergency, or making a legal right turn in to a driveway, or to cautiously pass a stopped vehicle (that does not have its right turn signal blinking) in your lane.

White line, dashed – divides your lane from the one to your right.  May be crossed to change lanes, but may not be crossed to pass a car on its right.

Passing – overtaking a slower vehicle

Number 1 Lane – the left most lane in your direction.

Number 2 – X lanes – starting with the left most lane, lanes are number from left to right.  Thus, if there are 2 lanes in your direction, then the #2 lane would be the right lane.  #1 would be the left lane.

Lane Rules

When there is only…

1 lane in your direction – then you may only pass on the left when you have a dashed yellow line.  You must stay in your lane if the yellow line on your side is solid.

2 lanes in your direction – Lane 1 is for passing only.  Lane 2 is for driving.  Lane 2 may not be used for passing.

3 lanes in your direction – Lane 1 is for passing only.  Lane 2 is for passenger cars.  Lane 3 is for entering and exiting and trucks.  Lane 3 may not be used for passing.  Lane 2 may only be used for passing vehicles in Lane 1.

4 lanes in your direction – Lane 1, if not designated as a HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle Lane – aka Carpool Lane) is for passing.  Lane 2 for fast passenger vehicle traffic.  Land 3 is for trucks.  Lane 4 is for entering and exiting and slow vehicles.   In all cases, passing is to the left.  If lane 1 is an HOV lane, then treat lanes 2-4 as you would a 3 lane highway.

5 or more – see 4 lanes, and figure the extra lanes are for passenger vehicles with the slowest traffic to the right, and fastest to the left.  Lane 1 is either HOV or passing only.  If lane 1 is an HOV lane, then lane 2 becomes the passing lane.

4 Car Rule – if there are more than 4 cars behind you AND you are leading the pack (i.e. no cars in front of you for a considerable distance), move to the right, and let the others pass.  This applies to all cases, regardless of the number of lanes, with the exception of where there is a double-line to your right (e.g. HOV lanes).  In this case, you probably should have got in to that lane in the first case.  If you are the leader of the pack, and there are more than 4 cars behind you, you are impeding traffic and can be cited.  In the case of being in the right most lane, you must find a safe spot to pull to the shoulder and STOP until traffic has cleared.  (This is the case with farm equipment, and slow moving vehicles that cannot drive the speed limit.)

Note:  The ONLY time you can pass on the right is when the vehicle in lane #1 has come to a complete stop, and does NOT have its right turn-signal going.

2-second Rule – the distance between you, and the car in front of you, should be 2 seconds.  To measure that, pick a stationary mark on the side of the road.  When the car in front of you passes it, say, “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi.”  If you’ve already passed that marker, then you are too close.  Back off, and try it again.  Tailgating, as it is called, is illegal in ALL states.

Blind spot rule – driving in someone’s blind spot can cause an accident.  The blind spot is any spot where the driver cannot see you through their side-view mirror.  If you can see their face through the mirror, then you are NOT in their blind spot.  If you cannot see their face, then back off until you can, or speed up and pass if you safely can.

Flashers on – If a vehicle has its flashers on, you must move a lane to its left and slow down to pass.  If you are on a single lane road, then the 4-car rule applies and you may have to wait.  If the vehicle is on the shoulder with its flashers on, and you are in the right most lane, then you must move one lane to the left.  (e.g.  On a 2 lane in your direction, this means you would move to lane 1.)

If That’s Too Much…

If that’s too much to remember, here are some tips to help you remember…

  • Never cross a solid line except to make a legal turn
  • Never pass on the right
  • Never drive in a blind spot
  • Never tailgate
  • When in doubt, drive in the right most lane
  • Be courteous and let people pass if there are more than 4 behind you

There… I got that off my chest.  Of course, this comes after some moron on the thruway passed me on my right after I passed a semi-truck, and had my right blinker on.  They then, got on the bumper of the car in the right lane, and rode them like two snails in heat.

Where’s a state trooper when this stuff happens?