29 September 2006

Things my Mom taught me (Part I)

I remember going to Grand Rapids with Mom when I was a kid. We had a few places we'd normally stop, and we always did them in a certain order. At one point or another I learned that a major reason behind this was Mom's Theory of Angst-Free Urban Driving:
Thou Shalt Not Try to Make Left Turns in Heavy Traffic Without the Aid of a Light.
The City of Tampa needs to start a televised PSA campaign with this as the theme. I drive on a major road every day (Dale Mabry Hwy), which, in all too many stretches, lacks a left turn lane. Now, this is a 4-to-6 lane road, so there's really no reason for the lack of a left turn lane, but there it is.

Now, in Florida, U-turns at lights are OK. Really. And they're not hard to execute. I mean, wait for the green, and then turn left. Really sharply. I saw a guy in a Dodge Ram do one today. He was pulling a cemement mixer on a trailer.

But NOOOO...there are people, evil, bad, shithead people, who insist on coming to a DEAD stop in a regular lane of travel, putting on their left blinker, and then waiting. Waiting for the opposite lanes of a major thoroughfare to empty out.

And these are rarely daring motorists. Can they dart through a small-to-medium opening? No - they can not. Turning their minivan requires approximately two miles of open, visible road.

And where are they going? Well, if it's a blond woman in a giant SUV talking on her cellphone, she's going to some trendy little lunchspot. If it's the woman in the minivan or the old person, they're going to the Kute Kountry Kraft Store.


Plan your trip. Drive up Dale Mabry to WalMart. I know - Kute Kountry Krafts is ON THE WAY, but listen - it's on the other side. Do your thing at Wally World. Exit Wallyworld into the southbound lanes with the aid of a light. See, now Kute Kountry Krafts is on your RIGHT. Easy in, easy out, and the woman in the Jeep behind you isn't dreaming about snapping your neck.

Abby's Mom says, "Use lights for left turns."

Abby's Mom is RIGHT.