By Bill Sheets
Well, the votes are in. More than 130 of you have registered your traffic pet peeves via e-mail and there are a few mild surprises.
I was sure left-lane campers 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 merge too slowly were by far the number one complaint. There are also 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 also about behavior of drivers already on the freeway with respect to merging. These include drivers who speed up to make it difficult for people merge onto the freeway, and drivers who move into the right lane 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 camping and about 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.
Two other complaints received five voted apiece: slow drivers in general, and 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.”
We received more than 80 different complaints in all.
That’s enough votes for now, thank you.
We’ll talk a little more about this next week.
Here are the rest of the gripes, in no particular order:
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.
Aggressive drivers – abrupt lane changes, darting around other drivers, no signals.
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, sometimes with only a single occupant.
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.
Badly designed parking lots.
People who buy foreign cars.
People who won’t make a right turn on a green light or a free right turn on a red light into the closest lane or merge lane, causing backups because they’re waiting to get across into the inside lane.
The person who is trying to be nice but waves at you to make a dangerous and illegal left turn when you don’t have the right of way.
Drivers who make risky left turns across the oncoming lane of traffic.
Drivers who stop in the middle of the street to wait for a parking spot to become available.
Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
People who park on the sidewalk.
People who cut in to take an exit at the last second.
People who speed up into the area that you signaled your intention to occupy.
Drivers who pass on the left over a gore point.
People who are constantly hitting or tapping their brakes.
Drivers who pull up into the right lane and block the view of the person next to them trying to turn left, especially when it’s a large vehicle.
Police officers who camp in the left lane.
Police officers who follow people who pass them, not because they were speeding but because they were going faster than the officer.
Speed traps in rush hour traffic, where no one is speeding but everyone is braking because a cop has his speed gun pointed at traffic.
Rubberneckers at accidents.
People who honk at the person in front of them who is trying to make a right turn rather than go around them.
People who think they need to stop on an on-ramp before metering has started.
People who cut you off with no signal.
People who rush to get in front of you or cut you off and then put their brakes on.
People beside you who constantly speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down.
People who use collector-distributor lanes to get around traffic backups in Everett.
Drivers who don’t slow down for pedestrians, and won’t swing into the other lane when safe, on road with no sidewalk and little shoulder.
Drivers who slow way down in the left lane of traffic before entering a dedicated left turn lane.
People who don’t dim their bright lights, including halogen lamps and other specialty lights, when meeting an oncoming car.
“Those horrible bright bluish headlights.”
Slow drivers not moving to the right lane.
People who park, drive, pass other cars, blow yard waste and dump their trash in bicycle lanes.
People who park on a hill and don’t turn their wheels toward the curb.
People who swing to the right when making a left turn, posing a potential hazard to people traveling straight ahead in the neighboring lane.
Bus drivers who run red lights and drive discourteously.
People who pass on the shoulder.
People who drive at night with blinding fog or auxiliary lights on when there is no fog or other impairment to visibility.
People driving under the speed limit on U.S. 2.
Not having enough State Troopers on the highway to ticket speeders.
Traffic in the Tulalip-Marysville area around I-5.
Drivers who believe the left lane is synonymous with going above the speed limit.
People who speed up when approached by a car using cruise control, or slow down when they pull in front.
Drivers who don’t pay attention to motorcycles.
People who creep out into the intersection to wait to turn left at a blinking yellow light, and get stuck at a red light or dart across oncoming lanes, failing to yield.
Inconsistent duration for yellow lights.
People who are daydreaming, rummaging in the purse, texting or doing something else and don’t immediately proceed when they get the green light, especially in a left turn lane.
Drivers who stop in a dedicated right-turn lane when not required to do so.
People who park their pickup trucks or SUVs with the wheels on a parking-lot island.
Drivers who brake too much.
People who stay bunched up on the freeway rather than spreading into the gaps.
Drivers who stop on the freeway when the cars in the lane next to them stop.
People who turn on their signal and wait for someone to let them in.
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