By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Well, the votes are in. More than 130 of you have registered your traffic pet peeve, or peeves, via email, and there are a few mild surprises.
I was sure left-lane camping and tailgating would be among the most common complaints, and they are.
Turns out they’re only second and third on the list, though. I had no idea how many of you would be ticked off about Bad Merging.
Capital B, capital M. It sounds like a town in Germany, but from what most of you said, it’s a long way from the Autobahn.
People who simply drive too slowly when merging was by far the number one complaint. There also are the drivers who brake when merging. People who wait for a large hole to open before merging, instead of accelerating to match the speed of traffic. People who wait until the last second to merge.
Some were about people merging too fast: Drivers who just barrel into the lane without knowing or caring that they do not have the right of way. “People who cut behind you across the gore point to merge, then get ahead of you and don’t let you in.” Just plain “idiot mergers.”
Some complaints were about behavior of drivers already on the freeway with respect to merging. These include drivers who speed up to make it difficult for others to merge onto the freeway and drivers who move into the right lane just before an on-ramp, causing more congestion for those trying to merge.
All in all, 21 of you cited some type of merging complaint. Of these, 11 were about people who merge too slowly.
If the complaints about merging were to be separated out, then the slow mergers would come in third to left-lane camping and tailgating, which received 15 and 12 votes, respectively.
There were different types of left-lane camping cited, such as the people who seem to be doing it either as a police action to prevent others from driving too fast or to prove they can’t be made to drive over the speed limit.
There also were different types of tailgating cited, including people who come ripping up behind and then dart into the other lane at the last second.
I suspect that many of the people complaining about left-lane campers and tailgaters were complaining about each other.
Next on the list is people who don’t use their turn signals — seven votes. No surprise there. (A few others were ticked at people who forget to turn their signals off.)
Next, another one I hadn’t anticipated, was people who fail to use their headlights on rainy, foggy days, or before dawn or after dusk — six votes.
Slow drivers in general received five votes, as did drivers who change or drift across lanes, or actually swing out of the intersection, in the middle of a turn.
Two others were tied at four votes each. One was people who talk on the phone or text while driving. I thought this would be higher on the list.
The other was also a mild surprise for me: drivers who stop a car length or more behind the car in front of them at the red light, increasing the length of the backup.
Tied at three votes apiece were unsynchronized traffic lights; drivers who run red lights; drivers who leave their turn signals on; and the fact that people who camp in the left lane rarely get tickets for it. (I separated this one out from other complaints about left-lane campers.)
Also cited were left-lane campers who have more than one person in the car and could be using the carpool lane.
A few other comments were rather amusing — people had competing complaints.
For instance, two readers complained about drivers on northbound I-5 in Everett who wait until the last second to move to the right to exit onto Pacific Avenue or U.S. 2 and cut into the line of cars to do so.
Another reader, however, complained about drivers on northbound I-5 in Everett who move to the right too soon to exit onto Pacific Avenue or U.S. 2, clogging up the right lane, which is also the extension of the on-ramp from 41st Avenue.
I also had to smile about this comment: “People who never drive U.S. 2 and say Monroe does not need a bypass.”
Also: “People who drive with dogs in their laps.”
A few others at random:
• Aggressive drivers — abrupt lane changes, darting around other drivers, no signals.
• People who break the rule that allows driving on the eastbound shoulder lane of the U.S. 2 trestle only between 3 and 7 p.m.
• Drivers who are generally oblivious to what’s going on around them.
• People who pull out right in front of you when entering the roadway.
• People who treat the carpool lane as a fast lane and honk, flash headlights and make obscene gestures at drivers ahead of them going the speed limit or slightly above.
• People who won’t pull ahead into the intersection while waiting to make a left turn, preventing more cars from getting through the light.
• Drivers who stop at “yield” signs.
• Drivers who roll through four-way stop signs.
• Loud stereos.
• Badly designed parking lots.
• People who buy foreign cars.
We received more than 80 complaints in all. You can find the list here.
That’s enough votes for now, thank you.
We’ll talk a little more about this next week.
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Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.