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Road...Passive-Aggressiveness
November 20, 2009 6:54 AM   Subscribe


 
Link is borked. Sounds like a nice idea; although "thanks" can be expressed like truckers do - three flashes of the tail lights (bum...bum bum).
posted by notsnot at 6:57 AM on November 20, 2009


Link is not borked. It's a great idea! Maybe though a third sign should read, "Everybody needs a hug."
posted by Sova at 7:00 AM on November 20, 2009


I've wanted these for a long time. Also a box for the front with LEFT LANE FAST written backwards, though that sets a different tone.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:01 AM on November 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Well executed.
posted by fire&wings at 7:02 AM on November 20, 2009


I fantasize about something like this twice a day, to and from work (30-mile freeway commute). Only mine would say something like: stop tailgating me, I'm already going 70 mph and there isn't anywhere for me to go, and by the way, I've just broadcast your picture and license plate number on my website.

Kind of long, I guess. I better work on that.
posted by rtha at 7:04 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


middleasstool: Maybe something in a nice decal?
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 7:04 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've always wanted to put in a scrolling marquee of the same nature, probably for not as nice of reasons. But I think hopes were dashed when I found they weren't street legal. I wonder if these would fall into the same category? Can't see the harm really...but can see where some could abuse the idea (yet probably no worse than you average bumper sticker).
posted by samsara at 7:06 AM on November 20, 2009


Scrolling marquee's aren't legal?! What about a simple, non-scrolling electronic sign? Because yeah, I'd love the "I can't move over or go faster, so BACK OFF" ability.
posted by DU at 7:09 AM on November 20, 2009


Cheers to considered font choice and nice execution.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2009



Cheers to considered font choice


Ha. I've never driven in my life so my first reaction was "Oh I know that font! I like it, and by extension, this project."
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cool. I've always wanted this sort of thing too.
posted by kalessin at 7:15 AM on November 20, 2009


Having somebody cut me off and then flash their "Sorry" blinker is just going to piss me off even more. Post title is correct.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Okay, this is just cool. I'm impressed with the amount of work that was put into reducing other people's road rage.

People like this give me hope.
posted by Pragmatica at 7:16 AM on November 20, 2009


THANKS = Courtesy wave.
SORRY = I will ignore you flipping me off and honking.

More signs I want:

IN THE COURSE OF DRIVING YOU WILL SOMETIMES HAVE TO SLOW DOWN SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU WAITING UNTIL YOU'RE RIGHT ON MY REAR BUMPER TO DO SO THEN SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES AND ACTING PISSED OFF AS IF I ACTUALLY CUT YOU OFF

and

WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STOPPING FOR THE LIGHT A WHOLE CAR LENGTH SHORT OF THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU THEN MYSTERIOUSLY MOVING UP TWELVE SECONDS LATER FOR NO VISIBLE REASON WHATSOEVER TO WHERE YOU SHOULD HAVE STOPPED IN THE FIRST PLACE REALLY WHY DO PEOPLE DO THAT I'M SERIOUS HERE

posted by fleacircus at 7:18 AM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's a noble idea, and it was well done, but... really? As mentioned above, there are perfectly good ways to express thanks on the road. And if he needs to express "sorry" to another driver more than once or twice a year he'd probably be better of with a remedial driving course than a fancy sign.

Having said that, I could see enjoying the hell out of this ironically. "Thanks (a lot, asshole!)" "Sorry (I cut across your front bumper like that, but really, if you're going to drive that slowly and erratically you should probably get out of the passing lane!)"

Mmmm... road rage.
posted by Balonious Assault at 7:19 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a nice idea; although "thanks" can be expressed like truckers do - three flashes of the tail lights (bum...bum bum).

Maybe you can thank truckers that way. To me, flashing taillights means either "Hey! Attention! I'm braking unexpectedly!" or "Back the fuck off, motherfucker," which would make this sort of counterproductive.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:20 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


fleacircus: not meaning to derail the thread (really!), but in answer to your second question, at Young Drivers of Canada back in the late 80s we were taught ALWAYS to stop a car length behind in order to have room to move up if the person behind us wasn't going to stop in time. Having lived since then in the US and the UK, I gather that this is really not universal teaching.

As to the signs themselves: nice idea, but I too worry that the "sorry" sign would cause more anger than it soothed.
posted by sueinnyc at 7:21 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


EvaDestruction: "Cheers to considered font choice and nice execution."

No. The right font choice would have been Clearview. It was designed specifically for high-visibility and readability while driving. (Or, if he wanted to be unnecessarily old-school, FHWA.)
posted by Plutor at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I flick the hazard lights on for a couple of seconds to say "thanks" (like notsnot alluded to above).

About 10 years ago, I read in the local paper about someone else with the same idea. Although I also agreed it was a great idea, I eventually realized that most people are just dicks and half the time don't even think they are doing anything wrong.

So although everyone probably needs them (myself included), no one would probably buy them or use them. I mean, god forbid someone actually admits wrongdoing!
posted by bitteroldman at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2009


It's nice and all, but if I were to attempt to communicate with the drivers around me I'd use Wanky the safety cat or screaming skulls of death to make my intentions known.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:27 AM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


And on the opposite end of the spectrum: a Christmas present my father received a couple years ago.
posted by not applicable at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2009


Sounds like a grand adventrure.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:31 AM on November 20, 2009


I want one that says STOP TRYING TO CRAWL UP MY TAILPIPE, ASSHOLE! Or maybe JUST BACK OFF, BOZO.

Seriously,like rtha above, I commute every day and am often amazed at the number of idiots who seem to want to suck my exhaust even though I'm going a few (safe) miles over the speed limit.
posted by mareli at 7:33 AM on November 20, 2009


Having somebody cut me off and then flash their "Sorry" blinker is just going to piss me off even more. Post title is correct.

Naw, this has barely scratched the depths of passive-aggressiveness.

Where I come from, "thank you" is a jaunty, quick wave in the rear view mirror.
Usually genuine. But when not, saying"thank you" when you cut someone off is a far more satisfying burn than "sorry".
Though, come to think of it, a big flashing light saying THANK YOU would be even more fun.

Anybody remember those push-button sound effect generators of many years passed? With buttons for, like, machine gun and grenade launcher?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:34 AM on November 20, 2009


I think that "I'm sorry" would seem more genuine than "Sorry". "I'm sorry" has more of a connotation that "I screwed up and apologize for that". "Sorry" by itself could just mean "Sucks to be you!"

We also have the technology to replace the horn with a sampled voice clearing its throat and politely but firmly saying "Excuse me".
posted by Jpfed at 7:39 AM on November 20, 2009


Is this where I link to my Rules of Interstate Driving Etiquette?
posted by sciurus at 7:40 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe you can thank truckers that way. To me, flashing taillights means either "Hey! Attention! I'm braking unexpectedly!" or "Back the fuck off, motherfucker," which would make this sort of counterproductive.

This.

Though I prefer to communicate "back the fuck off" when there is a passing lane available like this:

"Dude, 110 not fast enough for you in a 100 zone??" (shouted or grumbled into rear view)

"How about 100, then? You like rules?"

"That's a maximum, you know. How about 90?"

"We can go slower, you know..."
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:48 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like it. Two guys try to address the problem of road rage, something that probably causes more stress than just about anything in America, by attempting to express courtesy on the road. I also agree that "I'm sorry" would be an improvement over "Sorry"

Unfortunately, most Americans (people?) have a strong "I'm the most important person on the road" attitude (myself included) and would probably gravitate toward using these in ways to piss other drivers off, rather than the way they're intended. Which is too bad.

But an honest "THANKS" to these guys for actually trying.
posted by justkevin at 7:50 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Better yet, if we could get some sort of device that could launch a sign that would attach to the back of other people's cars. There have been many times I wish I could tag other drivers with "I Have No Idea Idea What I'm Doing" or "I'm Clearly Drunk!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:55 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I just want one that says "Backoff"
posted by BullaFoloney at 7:58 AM on November 20, 2009


A wise quote about road rage:

"Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac."
-George Carlin
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:04 AM on November 20, 2009


@Plutor

I'm not a fan of Clearview, It makes my eyes jump around like 'follow the bouncing ball' with mixed case signage. And the way most signs set their kerning bums me out too. Some of the signs on the Merritt Pkwy in CT are especially dense, and make me all squinty, especially at night.

Here's a link with WTF, why isnt Clearview free? And it gives a before and after shot of a sign. Maybe I'm the only one, but the old way is easier on my eyes.

Thanks for including the link to FHWA, I think that works better somehow.
posted by drowsy at 8:04 AM on November 20, 2009


Projects like this are like crack, as 12 volt DC systems are fairly easy to master. Eventually the space under your dashboard turns into a living hell.
posted by Tube at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2009


Cute idea, but I'm afraid that in many major cities this display would be seen as an invitation to escalate road rage, not to de-escalate it.
posted by blucevalo at 8:07 AM on November 20, 2009


Seriously,like rtha above, I commute every day and am often amazed at the number of idiots who seem to want to suck my exhaust even though I'm going a few (safe) miles over the speed limit.

Part of that problem is that many people are laboring under the impression that the left lane on an intra-city freeway is subject to the same rules as the left lane on the open highway. If you're already going 75 in a 60 MPH zone on the city freeway, you're not under any obligation to change lanes for someone behind you, where on the highway you should.

People in my city used to wave when they screwed up as little as ten years ago. It made a big difference. If you pull out in front of me and make me jam on the brakes to avoid killing us both, then give me a goddamn measly wave to acknowledge that you did something stupid. This used to be commonplace, and it was remarkable how easily it smoothed the ruffled feathers. Now, people just pretend they didn't do anything and they were entitled to drive as they please.

At any rate, the words of Miller in "Repo Man" ring ever true: The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:09 AM on November 20, 2009


> Anybody remember those push-button sound effect generators of many years passed? With buttons for, like, machine gun and grenade launcher?

Heh I had one of these. It had a bunch of different knobs to control the pitch and frequency. Man, I was easily entertained.
posted by cj_ at 8:09 AM on November 20, 2009


Road signs use symbols, traffic lights use colours, cars use different light patterns. They all communicate information without reference to a specific language.

If I were driving in Norway, and a car overtook and then blinked some strange word at me, I wouldn't know what to think. Am I doing something wrong? Is this a private road? Is my car on fire? Am I doing the right thing? Confusion. This is no good when it comes to international driving.

Even hand signals (like waving pedestrians across a road) you are advised not to use because cultures have different meanings for the same hand gesture.

Round here I flash the lights to say 'You go', but my brother visiting Italy said they flash their lights to mean "I'm coming".

Hence this sort of thing will never be authorised unless some internationally accepted symbols are assigned. And even then, why bother? Good driving is about making your intentions clear and being safe. "SORRY" makes it easier to be careless.

Additionally, there doesn't seem to be much point in having "Thanks" and "sorry" on the BACK of a car, since the only time I want to communicate such things is at intersections.
posted by jamesj629 at 8:10 AM on November 20, 2009


Round here I flash the lights to say 'You go', but my brother visiting Italy said they flash their lights to mean "I'm coming".

That's an ambiguous one. They're used interchangeably in Texas and you have to use context clues (e.g. relative rate of acceleration or deceleration) to determine intent.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:13 AM on November 20, 2009


Plutor, I was cheering the consideration more than the final choice. I don't doubt that other fonts might have been more effective - I did notice that "THANKS" was a bit smudgy in the last picture - but at least some thought went into the choice, and thinking about fonts is something I support.

Admittedly, purely from an aesthetic standpoint (which, yes, is not the sole consideration when selecting a font), I really like Futura. Now, where did that font nerd thread get to?
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:14 AM on November 20, 2009


ADVENTRURE?
posted by now i'm piste at 8:15 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the one I would use the most is probably something along the lines of "Are you just congenitally stupid?" Alternately, "this is not nascar, and drafting isn't going to help you."

Seriously, I spend most of my driving time on two lane roads. Most of which are currently under construction as they build the tollway over my little town. Which means the roads are all torn up, there's massive drop-offs on either side, no way to pass, it's confusing as fuck because of all the random daily lane changes, it's a 30mph zone everywhere, with double fines because of the construction zone, and insanely aggressive police ticketing. So; I'm gonna go the speed limit. These stupid aggro monkeys will get right up on my bumper, so close I can't see their headlights, and you can see them convulsing with anger because I won't speed through a construction zone. Seriously convulsing with anger. It's crazy. Like speeding down a 1 mile stretch is really going to get you somewhere that much faster.

On the upside, the aggressive patrolling means that I've seen these rage monkeys pulled over and ticketed on a fairly regular basis...and I know where the cops are. I've just started flashing my lights now when I get near the cop hangout if someone is pulling that stunt. So far, it's about a 70% chance that whomever is on my ass is going to get pulled over.

Which wouldn't happen if they would just stay off my fucking ass! Jesus.

(By the same token, I have a little, peppy but not "fast" car, and on real roads, I don't get in the fast lane, I get out of the way of people who want to go fast, as I once drove very fast performance cars, and understand how annoying slow drivers are, if they're in your way. But in a construction zone, with no way to get out of the way, in a state where losing points could mean losing your license, and I KNOW there's a cop up ahead? Yeah...bite me speed monkey.)
posted by dejah420 at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't really see the need for THANKS when a handwave can do but I really like SORRY. I don't drive as much lately so I've lost a lot of road-fu and it's hard to convey that I've screwed up. I usually shake my head vigorously or try to do a Homer Simpson d'oh movement but how can someone figure that out when they're behind me?

It wouldn't help with road rage, but I'd also love a WHATEVER.
posted by zix at 8:18 AM on November 20, 2009


rtha : Only mine would say something like: stop tailgating me, I'm already going 70 mph and there isn't anywhere for me to go...

Oh man, I'm right there with you. I want my rear sign to read "Warning: Countdown to Emergency Brake Deployment: 5... 4... 3... 2..."

I don't want to hurt anyone, but I have to admit, that when I'm doing 20 over the speed limit in the middle or right lane and there is someone right on my ass when I've got no where else to go, my hand does lovingly caress the e-brake with dark thoughts flitting through my head.
posted by quin at 8:18 AM on November 20, 2009


My car could desperately use a "TURN YOUR FUCKING BRIGHTS OFF, SERIOUSLY DUDE WE'RE THE ONLY TWO CARS ON THE ROAD, NO REALLY I MEAN YOU'RE BLINDING ME" sign. I've been floating the idea of an AskMe about dealing with these assholes for a couple weeks. I don't tend to be a very passive-agressive driver, but I really want to learn how to do that thing with your rearview where it goes back into their eyes. It's the only thing I can think of for dealing with those shits.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 8:21 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks to my drive to work this morning, I've just remembered another sign I would like to have in my rear window:

"If you are going to tailgate me could you please do so WITHOUT READING YOUR FUCKING BLACKBERRY AT THE SAME TIME? Thanks."
posted by rtha at 8:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Seriously,like rtha above, I commute every day and am often amazed at the number of idiots who seem to want to suck my exhaust even though I'm going a few (safe) miles over the speed limit.

It's all about context and convention. For instance, on the highway upon which I make my daily commute, 10-15 mph over the posted speed limit is definitely the norm. I can certainly handle it when, under normal circumstances, someone drives somewhere between the speed limit and that (except in the fast lane; that's just indefensible). But I feel completely different about this when I'm in the HOV lane, and someone three cars in front of me insists on driving 55mph, with miles of open space in front of them and a very angry line of cars behind them. Our HOV lane is an express lane, with penalties for entering or leaving except at the designated areas (usually once every two or three exits). When the non-HOV traffic is actually moving faster than the HOV, this is when I start to indulge in violent fantasies. Judging by the long, tightly packed lines behind these guys, I'm not the only one.

Nine times out of ten, these people are driving a Prius. I don't know what it is about Prius drivers; their personalities seem to be the opposite of Hummer drivers, which is just as bad. Our HOV is open to multiple-occupant cars and high efficiency hybrids. Most people seem to enter the HOV lane to, you know, get somewhere a little faster during the horrorshow rush hours. Prius drivers, however, are cut from a different cloth. Many of them seem to be the kind of overly-conscientious people who enter the HOV lane just to avoid the hustle and bustle of multiple lanes, because, at the risk of painting with a broad brush, they are passive-aggressive vegan hippy pussies. There seems to be an emerging consensus among fellow HOV'ers in these parts that these people need to go back to their communes and really get serious about eliminating their carbon footprints and whatnot. I love the environment and all, but fuck those guys.
posted by Edgewise at 8:23 AM on November 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Seriously,like rtha above, I commute every day and am often amazed at the number of idiots who seem to want to suck my exhaust even though I'm going a few (safe) miles over the speed limit.

So you're the guy going 66 mph in the fast lane when there are 3-4 other lanes to choose from? Yeah, I have a sign I'd like for you people. I get the frustration at being tailgated. There is an easy solution to this, which is to get out of the passing lane.

I am so glad I mostly telecommute now, my blood pressure is much better.
posted by cj_ at 8:26 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I find it intriguing that the "suggestions" given both here and on the linked site to expand this idea are virtually all of the "you're doing X wrong (or at least in a way I don't like)" sort, as if it would improve road rage by being more insulting. Someone in a hurry is up your ass on the highway? Yeah, a cheery "screw you" is the perfect way to get them to back off.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2009


I would pay good money for a simple "back the fuck up" sign.
posted by Brodiggitty at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2009


Ha! Edgewise, I drive a Prius! I get wicked pissed off at other Prius drivers (and non-Prius drivers, of course) who pull this, too. Yesterday my drive home was frustrated by - wait for it! - a guy driving a bright orange Tesla who was going between 57 and 62 mph and who had about 50 car-lengths of space in front of him. I was like, dude, you're driving a sports car. An electric sports car, but still a sports car. Could you at least go the speed limit (65 mph)? This was in the #2 lane (of four); my preferred lanes are #2 or #3. I only use the #1 lane for passing, and then I get the hell out of it.

I have HOV privileges even when I'm driving alone (because of the Prius thing), but my commute doesn't have HOV lanes on the part of the freeway I drive on. So don't blame me, I guess.
posted by rtha at 8:31 AM on November 20, 2009


Awesome.
posted by anitanita at 8:33 AM on November 20, 2009


There is an easy solution to this, which is to get out of the passing lane.

There is no passing lane in cities, for the most part. The signs that say "slower traffic keep right" are usually only seen on interstates or other highways, and only on sections that aren't patrolled by local municipalities. The German Autobahn rule isn't universally applied just because you are impatient and have forgotten that at high speeds, tailgating is really a dumb deadly game. When you're in that mindset that someone should get over for you so you're entitled to crawl up their ass at 75 MPH, then you have failed and should maybe think about taking the bus if possible.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


All I really need are laser guided grenade launchers mounted under my front and rear bumpers.
posted by chillmost at 8:35 AM on November 20, 2009


Should also come in "FUCK YOU" and "EAT SHIT"
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:35 AM on November 20, 2009


There is no passing lane in cities, for the most part. The signs that say "slower traffic keep right" are usually only seen on interstates or other highways, and only on sections that aren't patrolled by local municipalities.

Just because it's not announced by a sign doesn't mean it's not a passing lane.

The far left lane should be used for passing, not cruising. Even in the city.

/big ol' pet peeve directed at stupid drivers, not at Burhanistan
posted by mudpuppie at 8:48 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I looked into this about a year ago, and found that in some countries in Europe there are small lights and/or message machines (like a short Tweet) you can buy, operated by buttons on your dash board. Super duper awesome.

Also, for those complaining about the ambiguity of hand signals or what not. The use of such a thing will work itself out in a community over time. LOL used to mean Lots of Love AND Laughing Out Loud. We figured that one out too. (It's about Love, right?)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2009


I get wicked pissed off at other Prius drivers (and non-Prius drivers, of course) who pull this, too.

rtha, as I said, I know I am painting with too broad a brush...thanks for recognizing that. Keep representing non-asshat Prius drivers. It's depressing to know that Tesla drivers are behaving like that, too. I would guess that this guy had some serious mommy issues, and masturbates to photos of medical oddities. I'm not a (licensed) expert, but I'm pretty sure that this is true.

The far left lane should be used for passing, not cruising. Even in the city.

Again, all depends on the local conventions. As you say, some traffic rules are unwritten. Were I live, the left lane is for passing, yes, but also generally going faster. If by "cruising" you mean "driving slowly," then I would agree that you are describing something universal. But the idea that the left lane is JUST for passing is not the case in some places.
posted by Edgewise at 9:01 AM on November 20, 2009


There is no passing lane

"Passing lane" is a specific concept. "Fast lane," on the other hand, is an expression of courtesy and common-sense. The fact that yes, you're right, there may not be signs erected on that particular stretch of highway instructing slower traffic to keep right...that doesn't mean it's cool for you to cruise 57 mph in a 55-zone in the far left lane. It isn't. Move over.
posted by cribcage at 9:04 AM on November 20, 2009


Where I live the passing lane is strictly reserved for those drivers who enjoy a calm, relaxed, leisurely drive.
posted by ovvl at 9:06 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's nothing that can be said on a sign that can be conveyed with a simple hand gesture....
posted by HuronBob at 9:11 AM on November 20, 2009


"Passing lane" is a specific concept. "Fast lane," on the other hand, is an expression of courtesy and common-sense. The fact that yes, you're right, there may not be signs erected on that particular stretch of highway instructing slower traffic to keep right...that doesn't mean it's cool for you to cruise 57 mph in a 55-zone in the far left lane. It isn't. Move over.

For the record, I drive pretty fast and also move over if some asshole is tailgating. I don't get over for the sake of some kind of righteous code of the left lane, but more because I don't want to get in an accident. My point, though, was that if you are tailgating because you think you have the right to do so because that person in front isn't going fast enough, you've become blind to reality of your situation (hurtling down the road in a metal crush cage) and become another asshole who is jeopardizing your life and the lives of strangers.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


can=can't
posted by HuronBob at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2009


"Considering how clumsy my driving is, this'd definitely reduce a significant amount of fingers I receive in the future. And perhaps gain a few extra smiles."

If only they'd have spent that much effort on learning NOT TO BE A SHITTY DRIVER.
posted by Eideteker at 9:19 AM on November 20, 2009


I would like a signal that would say:
"The green arrow means you can turn..RIGHT NOW...and YOU, the moron behind the car turning...it is OK for you to now consider moving your car up and TURNING ALSO!!! THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE IN THE TURNING LANE!!!! MOVE!!!TURN! DAMMITT TURN!"

or something along those lines...that felt good.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:31 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE IN THE TURNING LANE!!!! MOVE!!!TURN! DAMMITT TURN!

Heh. That interminable wait for everyone to get their cars moving at a light is a sign that we should let master computers do the driving. Picture a road system where your speed is automatically adjusted in accordance with other cars so you NEVER have to stop at an intersection.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I see things have broken down along the usual divide of "Get out of my way" or "Get off of my ass".
posted by symbollocks at 9:37 AM on November 20, 2009


WONDERFUL!
and there is still room in the middle for a big red middle finger graphic.
posted by Drasher at 9:38 AM on November 20, 2009


Love it. Although my concept way back when was always "fuck you" and "asshole"
posted by stormpooper at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2009


Ya know, it's never wise to put an unsecured object on the back shelf, right behind your head. If you're unfortunate and end up in a front-end collision, you could end up wearing it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:50 AM on November 20, 2009


Unfortunately, most Americans (people?) have a strong "I'm the most important person on the road" attitude...

To be fair, one of them IS the most important person on the road. Are you the person who gets to say who that is?

All I really need are laser guided grenade launchers mounted under my front and rear bumpers.

Grenade launchers in the front of your car are not going to do anything good. Think about it. You explode the car in front of you. It's now a smoking hulk that's either rolling or sliding to a stop, directly in front of you. This helps you out how?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:57 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thing I hated about living in Texas was the lack of respect for the left lane. TXDOT even put up more signs along I35 to say "the left lane is for passing" or "don't slow Texas down, keep right except to pass" and there's still be people out there below the speed limit. And in the corridor between Austin and San Antonio you'll see people get on the freeway and go immediately to the left lane and sit there going slower than the speed of traffic causing people to have to pass them on the right. The right lane often is empty making it the de facto passing lane. And Texans (even cops) hate using their blinkers. We're not mind readers!

I learned to drive in California and am back here now and the left lane is the passing lane. If you're going 2X the speed limit and someone is coming up behind you get the fuck over and let them pass. This is even in the cities when the traffic is moving. Having to pass on the right is much more dangerous and you don't own the left lane if you are driving the speed limit or even over it. You can drive whatever speed you want, just not in the left lane. It is so simple.

The thing I liked about living Texas was the courtesy wave. This makes the "thanks" sign unnecessary. I especially liked how in Texas people driving slow would cut over to the shoulder, far right of the lane to let people pass on country roads. I'll use the courtesy wave all the time when someone lets me merge.

Although some use the courtesy wave more as a request for forgiveness sort of like the "sorry" sign. The sorry sign might make me want to ram the car with the offending driver. Everyone knows you fucked up, there's no need to advertise it. Let's just put it behind us.
posted by birdherder at 9:57 AM on November 20, 2009


Although some use the courtesy wave more as a request for forgiveness sort of like the "sorry" sign. The sorry sign might make me want to ram the car with the offending driver.

Huh? Waving when you screwed up is good etiquette. It means you acknowledge the other driver and don't project an air that you own the right of way no matter what.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on November 20, 2009


The corrolary to "the left lane is for passing" is that, if I am passing someone at 10 miles over the speed limit, and you want to go faster and are tailgating me as I'm passing, and I have my blinker on indicating that I will get out of your way in one goddamn second, don't fucking zoom around me the minute there is an inch of space between me and the car on my right. I was going to get over. That's what the blinker was trying to tell you.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


These signs need optional quotes to be useful. It could literally be animated-neon-sign style hands doing air quotes on either side of the words. Like...oh, I'm "sorry" you had to break hard all of a sudden while tailgating me and "thanks" for cutting me off.

Kirth Gerson: "Grenade launchers in the front of your car are not going to do anything good. Think about it. You explode the car in front of you. It's now a smoking hulk that's either rolling or sliding to a stop, directly in front of you. This helps you out how?"

Duh! Just use multiple grenades and and good aim. Obviously the idea is to make the car in front of you go airborne long enough and high up enough so you can slip past right underneath.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:17 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want one that says LIGHTS! to remind people that 1) yes, we do have a wipers-lights law and a silver car can be nearly invisible on a rainy day and 2) dear bicyclist: I really really don't want to hit you, please allow yourself to be seen.
posted by pernoctalian at 10:18 AM on November 20, 2009


not meaning to derail the thread (really!), but in answer to your second question, at Young Drivers of Canada back in the late 80s we were taught ALWAYS to stop a car length behind in order to have room to move up if the person behind us wasn't going to stop in time. Having lived since then in the US and the UK, I gather that this is really not universal teaching.

It seems like a really bad idea to take your foot off the brake if you're about to be rear-ended and there's another car in front of you.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2009


No option to have the sign off? You always have to be either thanking someone or saying sorry? I find that's a big stresser in life, no need to self-enforce.... thanks.
posted by autodidact at 10:42 AM on November 20, 2009


stop tailgating me, I'm already going 70 mph

There's a very elegant, lucrative solution. At least in the US, if you get rear-ended it is always the fault of the guy behind you. If someone's tailgating, all you have to do is slam on your brakes. And then

1. The jerk behind you is seriously injured or killed.

2. You get a new car paid for by his insurance company.

The only drawback is if you're in a hurry and don't want to go through a big hassle with cops and ambulances, in which case you can solve the tailgating problem by just driving faster.
posted by straight at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's easy enough. You don't own the road. It is not yours. If there is someone in front of you going slower than you'd like, it's your problem, not theirs. If there is someone behind you who wants to go faster than you do, remember, it's not your road, so don't block it. Let them pass. No matter how close behind you they are driving.
posted by Authorized User at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2009


My biggest peeve is when you are on normal large city streets with two lanes in each direction, and the two cars ahead of you have decided to match speed for more than a couple lights. If the roads are not busy, this is incredibly obnoxious.
posted by autodidact at 10:55 AM on November 20, 2009


.. because they always match speed under the speed limit for some reason. I think it's a case of two non-assertive drivers instinctively trying not to pass anyone, because their mental shortcut to being a safe driver is just to not pass.
posted by autodidact at 10:56 AM on November 20, 2009


Pfft.

I wave when someone slows down to make an opening to let me merge. When someone tailgates me, I just slow down enough to give myself extra stopping distance for the both of us. I stay out of people's blind spots so they don't end up cutting me off, and that includes when they're trying to merge. Somehow, these three simple rules have me accident-free for two decades now, and I move along with traffic all hunky-dory.

I think there's a sense of entitlement too many people drive around with; people need to stop taking this shit personally, it's not like they're looking you in the eyes when they merge a little too close to your comfort zone. Take an active role in making room for other people and not being a dick, and maybe you won't feel so stressed out.

disclaimer: i also bike and ride a scooter, so I may have more "can't we all just get along" perspective than the average driver
posted by davejay at 11:00 AM on November 20, 2009


When someone tailgates me and there's no lane for me to move over and let them pass, I just slow down enough to give myself extra stopping distance for the both of us.

Corrected myself there, realized that was non-obvious.
posted by davejay at 11:03 AM on November 20, 2009


Obviously the idea is to make the car in front of you go airborne long enough and high up enough so you can slip past right underneath.

Grenades won't do that. You need an RC go-kart with rocket boosters that you can deploy, guide under the toad in front of you, and lift into the sky. My observations indicate that it has to have enough lift to raise a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or it won't be much use.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009


people need to stop taking this shit personally, it's not like they're looking you in the eyes when they merge a little too close to your comfort zone.

God, I would love to take it personally, I would be thrilled to believe that that the person tailgating me was being hyper aggressive, because that might suggest that they are a confident and capable (if asshole-ish) driver, but I don't think that is usually the case; I think that more often than not the person doesn't have a freakin' clue that they are putting both our lives in danger, and they are just blissfully spaced out, or talking on their phone, or whatever.

I'd prefer the guy who knew he was being a dick, because then I could believe that in other circumstances, he might not. The people that don't even realize it though? They are a menace exactly because they don't know that they are a threat to everyone around them.
posted by quin at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Obviously, what is needed is a Twitter type screen so that whatever message was needed could be quickly thumbed in. If the driver survived the wreck resulting from the inattention necessary for thumbing, he could then text help messages, the phone number of his insurance agent, etc.
posted by Cranberry at 11:53 AM on November 20, 2009


Wouldn't it be fairly easy to build one of those led matrix displays that would sit in the back/side/upper front window and communicate your deepest thoughts to everyone around you? You could have a bunch of buttons that would play set phrases like, "Fuck off you wanker!!" or "I'm going to RAM U!!" or "Peace OUT, Dude". Plus you could write situationally appropriate comments when it was safe. Hmmm. If it was safe. I think the first person to build and market one of these is going to be RICH!!
posted by sneebler at 12:08 PM on November 20, 2009


Everyone driving faster than you is an idiot.
Everyone driving slower than you is a moron.
posted by madajb at 12:17 PM on November 20, 2009


stormpooper: "Love it. Although my concept way back when was always "fuck you" and "asshole""

Oh, I'm sure you'll be able to blink "Thanks" sarcastically enough to get the message across.
posted by pwnguin at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2009


THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE IN THE TURNING LANE!!!! MOVE!!!TURN! DAMMITT TURN!

Not directly related, but reminds me: those jokers who don't bother to get in the turning lane at all... because they can just zoom up and cut in at the last second. Fast forward to (nearly) everyone doing this, and surprise, the turning lane barely moves causing the problem you want to avoid by cutting in.

There were some bizarre and nasty traffic patterns during the extended transit strike here (when we eventually shelled out for a car out of desperation) and this was the one I hated the most.

If you find yourself with an overabundance of goodwill for your fellow humans: try driving. You'll lose it right quick.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2009


Everyone making comments consisting of unattributed quotes that were already made and attributed is probably doing it while talking on their cell phone.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:34 PM on November 20, 2009


Programmable message board

"Will definitely turn heads and generate foot traffic"

Hmmm...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2009


"Everyone driving faster than you is an idiot.
Everyone driving slower than you is a moron."

I've always just assumed everyone moving faster than I am is just more comfortable dealing with the constabulary.

But yes, everyone slower than me is a moron.
posted by oostevo at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2009


I found that having a child and strapping her into the back seat of my vehicle had a profound impact on my attitude (and language!) while driving.
posted by secondhand at 1:04 PM on November 20, 2009


It seems like a really bad idea to take your foot off the brake if you're about to be rear-ended and there's another car in front of you.

The rationale for the "stay one car length behind when stopped" is that it gives you space to get out of the way if someone's whipping up behind you.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:32 PM on November 20, 2009


When someone is tailgating me, I flip on the Hazards for a couple of blinks. 9 times out of 10, they get the message.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:33 PM on November 20, 2009


not meaning to derail the thread (really!), but in answer to your second question, at Young Drivers of Canada back in the late 80s we were taught ALWAYS to stop a car length behind in order to have room to move up if the person behind us wasn't going to stop in time. Having lived since then in the US and the UK, I gather that this is really not universal teaching.

It seems like a really bad idea to take your foot off the brake if you're about to be rear-ended and there's another car in front of you.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:30 PM on November 20


That's not how it's done. (I did Young Drivers of Canada, too.) You leave a full car-length in front of you until the person behind you has come to a stop, and then you take your foot off the brake and ease forward. (If they don't come to a stop, the car-length is supposed to give you room to maneuver out of their way.)

I was rear-ended a month and a half ago. I came to a stop and sat there for about thirty seconds and then the guy behind me hit me hard enough to brake the rebar in my bumper. Because I use the full-car-length-in-front rule, and had never taken my foot off the brake, even though my car was pushed forward (about three or four feet), I didn't hit the car in front of me.

Now, I still didn't follow the YDofC rules, because I should have had an escape route, too. But that's not always possible in downtown rush hour traffic.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:54 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The signs are nice, but I prefer to just slap on reverse-printed stickers like in Snow Crash.
posted by xedrik at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2009


Thinkgeek already has us covered, it seems. Completely programmable!
posted by bakerybob at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2009


Not that I've ever seen it enforced, in Michigan it's actually illegal to drive in the left lane unless you're passing or there is continuous traffic, about to make a left turn, or on a freeway with at least 3 lanes in the same direction (or a few other emergency/construction things).

Relevant excerpt from MCL 257.634:
(1) Upon each roadway of sufficient width, the driver of a vehicle shall drive the vehicle upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:
(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing that movement.
...
(d) Upon a roadway divided into 3 marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable on the roadway.

(2) Upon a roadway having 2 or more lanes for travel in 1 direction, the driver of a vehicle shall drive the vehicle in the extreme right-hand lane available for travel except as otherwise provided in this section. However, the driver of a vehicle may drive the vehicle in any lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction of travel when the lanes are occupied by vehicles moving in substantially continuous lanes of traffic and in any left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction of travel for a reasonable distance before making a left turn.
...
See also MSP Traffic Laws FAQs: Rules of the Road
posted by Foolhardy at 3:20 PM on November 20, 2009


A friend of mine built an effective tailgater-shaker: put a couple of very bright bulbs into his brake lights, that were separately switch-operated. Flick it and the tailgater sees "BRAKES SLAMMED ON" and tends to do the same.

Ideally, the tailgater should be being tailgated at the same time ...
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:40 PM on November 20, 2009


That's what I love about living in Hong Kong, I haven't had a car for 11 years and don't intend to get one.

Then again, I've developed sidewalk rage ...
posted by bwg at 3:41 PM on November 20, 2009


i love this one: "this is not nascar, and drafting isn't going to help you."

I drive a lot of two lane (cliff) roads and tailgaters haunt me. This thread has inspired me to make this bumper sticker: "I always drive the speed limit -- or SLOWER if tailgated." I figure when I am being tailgated the slower I go the safer I am from a serious bump on the back. But I'll try the flashing hazard lights for a while first. (Don't want anyone pushing me over the cliffs.)

Also - I never cruise in the passing lanes; always leave space in front of me at stops (I have SEEN a car shoved into the one in front at an intersection!); give space to oncoming traffic when they have to pass a bicyclist; and always give the 'shaka' sign for thanks to all who give me way or let me merge.

Bachi ('karma') is the rule for island driving -- anyone you piss off here will probably be related to your neighbor. Idiots who speed past me are usually sitting at the next red light (I wave and wink.)
posted by Surfurrus at 4:34 PM on November 20, 2009


George Carlin had the idea of a marquee sign for your rear window some years ago, and my favorite:

"You drive like old people fuck: slow and sloppy"
posted by krinklyfig at 10:52 PM on November 20, 2009


Where I come from, "thank you" is a jaunty, quick wave in the rear view mirror.
Usually genuine. But when not, saying"thank you" when you cut someone off is a far more satisfying burn than "sorry".


Jaunty quick "thank you" wave? Check.

But what's the equivalent for "sorry, my bad?" After some thought and experiment I use a gesture of making a gun out of my hand and pointing it to my head, like "I should really just kill myself for that one, dude."
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:09 PM on November 20, 2009


at Young Drivers of Canada back in the late 80s we were taught ALWAYS to stop a car length behind in order to have room to move up if the person behind us wasn't going to stop in time.

If the car won't be able to stop before it hits you, but WILL be able to stop without hitting you if you move one car length up, it seems like the better policy is to be one car length up in the first place, eh?

For snow and ice driving it sort of makes sense. You should aim to stop extra early, and slow rolling to make sure you can get going again is okay... But I see it a lot in California, and I guarantee these people have no idea how to drive on snow and ice.

The rationale for the "stay one car length behind when stopped" is that it gives you space to get out of the way if someone's whipping up behind you

So (1) you spot a car coming up behind you that you judge will hit you where you are stopped right now. You (2) make the unexpected move of turning off to the side or something, now (3a) the driver coming up behind you can't go to where you just went; you cut off his escape to make yours, or (3b) he keeps going straight and hits the car in front of you, who has no idea what's going on. So you took away 1 car length to give him 2 car lengths, and added a crazy x-factor of you moving a random direction trying to get out of the way which sounds like you're more likely to get hit and get shoved forward to roll up onto the sidewalk or some other area you haven't checked out before you pointed your car there.

Sounds like this will cause more accidents than it will prevent, and when I look sideways in wonder at the people who do this, I do not get the impression that they are especially attentive to anything at all.

I could maybe see it as a way to ensure that emergency vehicles get through faster, but it seems a strange universal behavior to adopt for such a small optimization. And again I sort of doubt there's any particular reason on the minds of these people. It seems more likely to do with unconscious timidity and/or unsureness where the front of the car ends, or simple bad habit.

When driving through downtown SF, it's annoyingly common to be stranded out in the intersection. When it's because the guy one or two cars in front of you decided to take up an extra car length, the behavior crosses the line from bizarre to obnoxious.

The thing is when a car in front of me does it, and then pulls up, now there's an empty car length in front of me. And now I'm that guy! Maybe I need a BLAME THE GUY IN FRONT OF ME light, too.
posted by fleacircus at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2009


My god, I've had this wish so many times over the years. (Always worried that "SORRY" would tick the other guy off, though, seeming like a sarcastic "SORRY YOU SO SLOW LOSER")
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:44 AM on November 21, 2009


Well, given the choice between following the advice of Young Drivers, who I presume are somewhat expert, versus the rantings of a guy on the intertubes... sorry, fleacircus, but I'ma leave that one-car gap.

If you're finding yourself commonly stranded out in the intersections, you're doing something wrong. Blaming others is probably not the optimal solution to that problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:54 AM on November 21, 2009


If you're finding yourself commonly stranded out in the intersections, you're doing something wrong.

There's talk around here of making that a moving violation if it's not one already. If you get caught in the intersection it means you weren't watching the lights or the cars in front of you. In traffic, you're supposed to ensure that the intersection is clear enough for you to cross before the light turns.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2009


FWIW regarding extra space in front: my family practices this rule. It saved all of us from being rear ended when there is a sudden decrease of speed on the highway, which happens surprisingly often. In particular, my mom had a close call, where those 3 feet that she jerked forward meant that the guy stopped 1 ft behind her bumper; as opposed to 2 feet in.
posted by olya at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2009


Now can we talk about people who drive auto-transmission cars with both feet? That used to be a recommended practice.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:42 PM on November 21, 2009


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