Thursday, December 18, 2014

Urban Etiquette: Motoring in the City

Since I live in San Francisco and work in San Francisco I obviously take Muni to work since there's nowhere to park at my job that doesn't cost $18 a day.  So I never used to drive that much.  Just on weekends, pretty much.  Like, literally I would not enter my car M-F unless it was street cleaning.

Now I take my offspring to day care in the mid-Sunset area, so I drive every day.  It's been an eye-opening experience.  Everyone is a terrible driver.

1. For the love of all that is holy, USE YOUR FUCKING TURN SIGNALS

Why are you stopped in the middle of the street?  Have you died in your car and now it just sits there, unattended, while your body rots into the seat?  No?  You're waiting to turn?  Your car is almost certainly not a pre-1939 Buick and thus is equipped with a mechanism designed to let others know your intentions vis-a-vis turning.  FUCKING USE IT.

2. How Stop Signs Work

It has become apparent to me that most drivers believe that Stop signs work like this: "I see a Stop sign.  I pause briefly, then continue on.  It matters not if there are other cars at the intersection, in the general area, or anywhere else on Planet Earth.  I have paused briefly and will now be on my way."

This is not how Stop signs work, you maroon.  Print this out and tape it to your dashboard:

We cool?

3. Green light means go

Why are you just sitting there?  Depress the accelerator pedal.  The odds of the North American Plate suddenly lurching to life and moving under you so as to propel you through the intersection without you operating your car are vanishingly small.

4. Double Parking: Is It For Me?

Double parking is mostly OK if you just have to run in for a second and it's a fairly wide street so the rest of us can get around you without too much trouble.


a. Anywhere near an intersection.
b. Anywhere, at any time, on Fell, Oak, Gough, Franklin, Turk between Van Ness and Divisadero, any of those little tiny streets in Bernal Heights or those alleys in the Mission, or anywhere else you're going to royally fuck up traffic.
c. When there's a perfectly good parking space right there! What the fuck are you thinking? Take the 30 seconds and park!  Christ!

5. There is no point in tailgating.  It almost never makes the person in front of you go faster and you just look like an asshole.

I'm sure I've forgotten some big ones.  Enlighten me in the comments if you wish.


Andrea said...

If you need to double park, do not do it right at the corner or at the top of a hill as anyone who needs to get around you will not be able to see opposing traffic and will have a head-on collision and it will be your fault.

GG said...

The number of people who double-park on Wilder or Diamond outside Canyon Market (Glen Park), rather than finding a parking spot literally within a block (there is ALWAYS parking within two blocks. Always) are sufficient to make me want to set every one of their cars on fire.

DISCLAIMER: I am not the Castro car arsonist.

Anyway, my condolences on having to drive on weekdays. Yuck.

Lisa said...

Conversation with my aunt about a year ago, "I couldn't believe I got a ticket! I double parked instead of parking in the yellow zone because that's not illegal."

Me, "What? Why do you think it's not illegal?"

Her, "Because it's not!"

Me, "..."

Her, "It's not!"

Me, "You are grossly misinformed and you should become familiar with the laws of the state. Just because everyone in SF seems to do it does not mean its not illegal. Do not protest the ticket."

So yeah. You have a lot of stupidity to overcome. Good luck!

Stephen said...

If you've pushed into the middle of an intersection, waiting for your chance to turn left, and the light turns red, TAKE YOUR GODDAMN LEFT! Do not wait for an invitation. Do not look in every direction wondering what the call is. GO!

There are so many more.

TK said...

Andrea - Well said.

GG - It's pretty clear you are the Castro car arsonist. Also, I drive as much of my route as possible through GG Park, so it's actually not that bad.

Lisa - I can understand thinking double parking is legal. Just drive down Dolores on a Sunday.

Stephen - Indecisiveness will kill us all.

Jef Poskanzer said...

I only bicycle in the city and from my perspective, all motorists are homicidal morons. Except you folks I'm sure.

Most other bicyclists are morons too, but one of them running into me will not kill me so I am less concerned and mostly just yell at them. I can yell loudly enough to make fixie hipsters wet their pants.

Pedestrians are slow enough that I can just treat them as slightly mobile lamp posts. And when a lamp post with its nose in its phone wanders into my path, I stop it and escort it back to the sidewalk.

Sk8ers are actually pretty good for the most part. I've only needed to slap sense into one of them.

But the motorists are the only ones who can actually kill me.

Unknown said...

George Carlin once said, "I'm pretty sure your car came with a turn signal, so fucking use it".

If you're going to make an illegal u-turn into a parking space on the other side of the street, you better be able to make it in one motion. No going back and forth blocking traffic in both directions.

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