At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, as my mom used to say, I have to ask the question. Is there any traffic sign more ignored than this one? Not on California’s highways, if recent experience is any guide.
In the last month I’ve driven round trips from Sacramento to Newport Beach, to Weed (north of Shasta), to Fresno, and to Palo Alto, plus a jaunt from Palo Alto to Fresno, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time on I-5, SR99, and several other highways. I’ve noticed two phenomena that are markedly different from the past: slower drivers don’t yield the left lane (the “fast lane”) anymore, and drivers are using turn signals less and less these days, whether it’s for actual turns or for lane changes.
I have no idea why this is. Maybe more drivers are lazy, or oblivious, or just didn’t learn the rules of the road. Or maybe they’re more combative. Whatever it is, it’s noticeably different these days, at least in California.
These two things, put together, are a little scary. Impatient drivers are passing people on the right with greater frequency, and fewer of them are signaling when they do so. I read the other day that failure to use turn signals contributes to two million accidents a year. TWO MILLION. Add to that slowpokes in the fast lane, texting drivers, motorcycles that fly between lanes in crowded spots, the plethora of semis on California highways, and it’s a little crazy out there lately.
It all brings to mind an old bumper sticker that rings true today: Lead, follow, or get out of the way!