One thought on the caller whose significant other doesn’t use turn signals when “weaving in and out of traffic” at high speeds on the freeway – the moment as a young driver when I realized I don’t want to drive like my father involved a piece of advice possibly related to the same phenomenon. We were on the way to a duck hunting trip half a state away, and had gotten a later start than intended and as a result were crossing a mountain pass at 90 in an 10-year-old early-90s Jeep Cherokee (in my father’s defense, we were following another vehicle, the driver of which knew where we were going and, based on his driving, may have been criminally insane). When he changed lanes, which he often needed to do, he would either not signal, or if in thick traffic would signal so briefly as to blink exactly once. He claimed this was primarily about law enforcement – driving at night, if the highway patrol happen to be driving some distance behind you, and they see a lot of turn signals, that tells them someone’s passing a lot and driving aggressively, and catches their attention. The caller didn’t say whether this happened day and night, but this could be an element…
Yah, too many turn signals, too often, can be a giveaway.
BUT SO IS SWERVING AND WEAVING !
( both of which a cop can see from miles away )
You’re driving waay too fast for conditions if EVER you need to SWERVE to change lanes !
A lane change should be a gradual ease over…NEVER A SWERVE …therefore alowing plenty of time for a signal.
This is one of my pet peeves. Especially in NJ, people are just in the habit of not using their turn signals either on the highway or on local roads. I use mine just to be different (in addition to that whole legal thing).
Never signal a lane change. The other drivers have no interest in that lane, right up to the moment you let them know you want it. Then they’ll bite the head off a live chicken to keep you from getting into it. Any change of lanes you signal is one you’ll never actually be able to make.
The ONLY solution to the turn signal problem is discussed on Page 10 of the book, “The uncommon reason of Digby Delgado.” by W. Jimminy Branford III. If you do not use your turn signals properly, Digby Delgado would lock your front wheels to prevent turns; you could only drive in a straight line. It’s a simple solution but not simpler. You can read more about this in the book’s Introduction–free on the web
So if you are on a curvy road, you would have to signal every time the road has a bend in it or you end up in a ditch or up against a tree?
The interesting thing in this segment was when the caller mentioned the driver had a tendency to drive up and then suddenly slow down behind cars, & the Messieurs Tappet once responded to another of these reports with “One of them! Oh, he’s a nut!”
I’ve been meaning to write since the first couple of times they’ve had that response to that report, because they are missing out on a most probable explanation that is completely unfamiliar to them.
I was diagnosed at the age of 35 as being stereoblind. In other words, I do not see in 3D like the people who are NOT stereoblind. That means, for 35 years, I had no depth perception, & of course did not know it. This was fascinating to me, & it was a sudden & perfect explanation of why I had never hit a baseball in my life. Or a tennis ball, or a ping-pong ball, etc.
I was driving one day with a friend of mine who is an engineer & discussing this with him, & telling him that it may have something to do with why usually my passengers are always so edgy & anxious. When I asked if there is anything particular about my style of driving that is distressing or remarkable, he replied, “No, except for the fact that at stoplights you do not match deceleration of the car in front of you, & instead proceed at a different speed to a specific distance behind their bumper & then decelerate more & stop.” This made sense, knowing that what I used for distance measurement was based on different, monocular cues than what people who do see in 3D use.
He was a very relaxed passenger, & I had to mention to him that this behavior didn’t seem to distress him. He said, “Well, I know you’ve always driven like this, & you’re not dead yet, so it must work OK.” Which is why it’s always nicer to have objective, rational people like engineers for passengers, rather than those people who at the end of the ride get out and scream “I WILL NEVER GET IN A CAR AGAIN WITH YOU! NEVER!” before slamming the door as hard as they can.
By the way, I still own & drive my first car, a 1972 Triumph GT6, the only major problems which has had were being struck while parked in parking lots, & of course having to frequently adjust the rollup window & door striker plate on the passenger door from people slamming it all the time.
There are estimates that up to 10% of the population are stereoblind, & up to 25% have stereopsis which is reduced. There seems to be a pathology of some reports on Car Talk that indicate some drivers discussed are stereoblind: tendency to decelerate at a closer point & more quickly behind other cars than some passengers can stand, & particularly in the caller’s description in this segment, she mentioned the driver had recently backed into a tree, suggesting poor judgment of distance in an unfamiliar situation not affording typical reference points for monocular depth cues.
Rotoflex, I can only say…oh, man, I’d love to own that ride!
I commend you on driving all those years accident free. You’ve proven that lack of depth perception is not an excuse for accidents. Truth is, almost all accidents were avoidable before they ever became accidents. Even those involving “unforeseeable events”, such as a blowout or a deer in the road, are usually avoidable had proper maintenance been done or proper care been taken. Looked at carefully, the “deer” accidents usually involve excess speed, inattention, and perhaps even filthy headlights. People drive in the winter with headlights so coated with road crap that it’s a wonder they can see at all.
Sometimes unavoidable things actually do happen. Like discovering a missing manhole cover the hard way, or falling rocks. But I’d bet that the overwhelming majority of accidents wherein no fault is assigned are actually avoidable.
From my own personal observations here in New England…less then 5% of the population uses turn signals ALL the time. And less then 50% use them some of the time…More then 50% NEVER EVER use their signals.
If you’re afraid to use your turn signals because you fear someone won’t let you in, I suggest you change your method and think about the situation before you decide when to signal.
Personally, if I can see a signal, I will go out of my way to let you in. If I don’t see a signal, I won’t let you in.
If I need to get over, and an aggressive driver won’t let me in because of my signal, I can often change lanes in front of the car in front of the aggressive driver, and the problem is solved. I can also shut off my turn signal, wait for an opening, and signal and change lanes nearly simultaneously, so everyone knows the lane change is deliberate, I can follow the letter of the law, and the aggressive jerk doesn’t have time to close the gap.
I do everything possible to be sure I’m communicating with the driver in the other lane whenever I switch lanes. Checking to be sure there’s room is the first step ,followed by turn signals, followed by checking in the mirror to see if I can tell if he/she saw my intention. Once contact is made, the other driver will often signal me in, and I wave to say “thank you”.
I too will let people in if they take the time to think, signal me, and make an effort to make the change safely. It’s the ones that don’t, the ones that just pull inquickly two feet in front of me. with no warning, that irritate me. They’re just plain being unsafe and inconsiderate.
My overall sentiment about driving is we are all going somewhere, we all want to get there on time, and we want to avoid getting into an accident. So, not using turn signals because someone will see it and jump into “your” spot is aggressive driving for sure, with just a splash of paronoid.
Letting other driver’s know your intentions makes sense for reasons of safety and I feel safety trumps not showing your intentions so you can jump into an open spot before someone else gets there first.
The fact that other drivers are only concerned about themselves and let the other be guy be damned doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s what defensive driving is all about. I’ll settle for a little time lost to increase a safety margin. When I see a driver making aggressive moves I’ll just let them go and hope they don’t cause an accident.
rotoflex speaks of not having stereoscopic vision.
I have posted in other threads of my wife having lost the vision in her right eye therefore she too has no stereoscopic vision.
It is precisely USING the signal to change lanes that guarantees her proper space to do so.
signaling for two or three blinks before lane change tells the other driver everything.
After that it’s his fault if he doesn’t yield.
She’s had no problems in the last three years of monocular vision.
Sorry, but using the signal does not guarantee there will be space. Whether someone must yield should not depend on a signal. It should depend on who has the right-of-way, and that, Ken, depends on the circumstances.
I drive all over the country and there are areas that I will not signal my intention for a lane change because of the local drivers. There are other areas that I will because the locals are very courteous and will give you the needed space. Where you live/drive really determines your opinion on this controversy.