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Fed up with bad drivers, errant forecasts
Fellow drivers, errant forecasts fuel griping

Date published: 1/19/2013

TODAY is gripe day.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about poor driver etiquette, but I failed to mention one thing--those drivers who pull past the white line when arriving at a red light.

You know that line, the big white line that must be at least a foot across and the width of the entire lane. It is put there as a mark to let drivers know where to stop, sometimes even with a sign.

Believe it or not, that line has a purpose, especially in the left-turn lane. More often than not, it is linked to an electric eye that trips when a vehicle pulls up to it.

What that means is that if half your vehicle is over the line or you stop 10 feet short of the line, the left-turn signal won't trip.

If the electric eye doesn't trip, the light doesn't change, and you keep sitting there while the traffic light goes through another entire sequence.

So, because some bozo is halfway over the line, cars behind him often have to sit and burn gas, especially if they get to the light late.

There is another problem associated with pulling halfway across that line and it is a safety issue.

When you pull out too far, you block the vision of a driver who might want to turn right on red. He can't see if any traffic is coming from his left if your front end is six or eight feet past the stop line. So, he has to pull out farther than you and suddenly two vehicles have their noses stuck out in traffic.

I often wonder why drivers pull past the stop line. Are they in such a hurry to get somewhere that they want to get an edge? Do they not see the line? Or is it because they just don't understand how most lights work?

There was a time when I was ignorant and had to learn the hard way. My lesson came at a bridge under construction, one that was limited to one lane of traffic.

The construction took several months and VDOT, of course, could not keep a flagman there night and day. So, as is customary, they put up a traffic light.


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