Aug 17, 2016

Signs of The Times

Cathy and I came upon a very unusual sign painted on the road at an intersection that was recently re-paved. The sign shows an arrow that has three heads: one pointing forward, one left, and one right. This was at a four-way stop; one lane in each direction. 


The purpose (we assume) is to communicate to drivers that when they come to this intersection, they can either go left, right, or straight ahead…after stopping of course.


We wondered how drivers knew what to do all those years prior to the city painting this unusual sign on the road. 

Since then we have seen other unusual signs like one that tells me that I can’t turn left or do a “U-turn”. And then there is my favorite sign of “Round-About” that looks as though it was created by the same person who designed a symbol of the late musician Prince.


Yes, for some reason society has decided that we now need to have signs up in order for drivers to know what to do. Again, this begs me to ask the question; “How were we all able to drive in the past without all of this additional signage? 


And for some reason even the signs we are familiar with seem to no longer mean what they are supposed to mean. For instance, a speed limit sign that says”55 MPH” actually seems to mean “65” or even “70”.


There are electronic signs that post what your speed is in an attempt to provoke you to slow down. Instead they seem to be a good way for drivers to test if their speedometers are accurate or not!


A solid white line is supposed to mean that drivers are required to stay within the lane and also marks the shoulder of the roadway. A broken white line indicates that you may change lanes if it is safe to do so.


And yet, constantly I observe drivers (seemingly) ignoring or not paying attention to the solid white line and changing lanes whenever it suits them. This can be extremely annoying when going through a construction zone during rush hour.

So, as far as the drivers are concerned, do any signs actually mean what they say? Or are we simply not paying attention to what they are saying; taking a risk that nothing will happen if a driver doesn’t follow the sign…  

Worse than not obeying the traffic signs is what I have observed in the attitudes of the drivers out on the roads. This concerns me because I think that there are a LOT of bad drivers on the roads today; worse that I have observed in the past forty two years that I have been driving! 


In the past few years I have seen a HUGE increase in the number of drivers talking on cell phones, texting, eating, applying makeup, reading, fighting, and other forms of doing everything but simply driving. 


I have observed drivers go perpendicular across four lanes of traffic simply because they want to get off the exit rather than go to the next one.  


I have watched drivers cursing other drivers in an attempt to say; “Hey I am so narcissistic that if I had my way, no one but ME would be allowed to drive on this road!” 


I even recently had a fellow driver roll down his window and  spit at my car as he, with veins popping out of his neck, screamed and yelled at me simply because he thought that I (who was ahead of him) should have let him go around me in a construction area where two lanes became one.