So it seems to me that to get a drivers license anywhere, a person should probably have at least a simple understanding of our most basic traffic laws or even some common sense. Sadly, these days that seems to be lacking on both points.
Just this morning as I was driving on Harrison Avenue, I observed several vehicles completely run red lights at different intersections, watched a city bus make lane changes and also pull to the curb without any signals, took my life into my own hands at a signed four-way intersection and just shook my head as people were speeding at least 60 mph out on the southern end of Harrison in the 45 mph zone.
So I am going to do a simple drivers ed blog here today. Nothing major, but will touch on some very basic things drivers need to do (and are required by law to do):
These are the three stages of a stop light. Green means you are safe to proceed through the intersection. When it turns to yellow, this means you need to prepare to stop before entering the intersection, NOT speed up to Nascar speeds. Red means stop; not keep driving because you will be delayed for a few seconds if you don’t. Pretty simple.
This is a turn signal. Every modern vehicle has these on both the front and rear. These allow drivers to let other drivers on the road know their intentions if they plan a lane change or make a turn. They are extremely simple to operate and using them shows common courtesy to other drivers. Both sides can be used if you are pulled over alongside the roadway to warn other drivers. Pretty simple.
Four way intersections seem extremely confusing to some folks. They figure since they are driving faster or are bigger than the other guy, that they automatically get to go through first, even when they are last to arrive. Not quite how it works. When you approach a either a signed or uncontrolled 4-way intersection, you do need to still stop. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way, unless you are both traveling the same direction. The biggest or the fastest doesn’t automatically just run the intersection and force everyone else to slam on their brakes. Again, very simple.
This is probably one of the most abused traffic laws around. Speed limits. Okay, I know we all like to get where we are going. I am guilty of running pretty fast on the interstates. In town, it isn’t so cool. Especially around our city parks and schools. But it doesn’t seem to bother some folks. I watch vehicles speed past Clark Park doing close to 50 mph in the 35 mph zone. And it seems like Harrison can be a speedway some days. Driving the speed limit is pretty easy. Observe what the signs say and watch your speedometer. Pretty simple. Hit a kid or pedestrian, not so simple.
Sure, there are A LOT of other traffic laws that people ignore. Don’t even get me started on left lane drivers, way below the speed limit drivers on highways, reckless drivers, idiots ‘rolling coal’ because they have to compensate for something, texting or talking on phone, etc. But if each of us just does one or two minor things when we drive to keep traffic moving smoothly, then it makes things better for everyone. Pretty simple.
Here is a link to the Montana laws regarding driving on our roads: Title 61 MCA.
Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. 🙂