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Thought for the day - January 20, 2001

katlaughing 20 Jan 01 - 12:49 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 20 Jan 01 - 07:15 AM
Little Neophyte 20 Jan 01 - 07:41 AM
Dharmabum 20 Jan 01 - 08:09 AM
Mary in Kentucky 20 Jan 01 - 09:03 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jan 01 - 10:31 AM
Allan C. 20 Jan 01 - 11:08 AM
Seth 21 Jan 01 - 08:48 AM
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Subject: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 12:49 AM

Just a passing thought from a couple of years ago; hasn't changed much, still seems applicable. (My apologies if some of you have already been subjected:-):


Driving through the streets of our fair city can be infuriating these days. I've noticed a strange and ever prevalent phenomenon which friends and family assure me is not limited to our region of the planet. You know those little lights in one's auto? The ones that blink off and on at the flick of a wrist? They are supposed to signal one's driving intentions so other drivers can plan for the future; the ones who really don't want their life flashing before them a couple of times a day in vehicular near-death experiences!

Those delinquents who seem to be "signals-free" are more likely to be seat belt-free, too. I figure they have a c'est la vie attitude which enables them to blithely carry on, regardless of whom or what wreckage trails behind in their wake.

Personally, I'd prefer a little more paranoia like mine. I always know the idiot in front of me is going to do something stupid like turn across all four lanes, in front of a huge 16-wheeler loaded with secret CIA shipments of spent-rod nuclear physicists or intercepted proof of Russian extra-terrestrials. Therefore, like a good Girl Scout, I am always prepared!

Maybe they all need a little defensive driving course. Those of us who do use our signals and seat belts would be turned loose on a race track. We'd have the latest in fast and safe cars loaded with twenty-first century deafen-your-ears sound equipment, industry-designed to rattle your car to pieces in a diabolical planned obsolescence. Those lacking the initiative to indicate direction would be in slower, older, less safe cars and have to follow in our wakeas we joyously imitated them in a joie de vivre, welcoming the chance to give them a taste of their own medicine. With the soundblasters going, we would be conscience-free, hearing nothing of their screams and discourteous epithets hurled in our direction.

In my dreams, drivers who are responsible, somewhat experienced, and not in a hurry, safely weave in and out of traffic lanes, politely letting one another know of their planned manoeuvres, as in a well-choreographed dance. They gently tap their brakes, activate their turn signals within the mandated half block, double check their rear view mirrors, then change lanes, all within the dictates of the law. Like I my dreams!

Recently, I called my local auto dealer to ask, "Have manufacturers quit making cars with automatic turn signals? Was this new cost-cutting innovation passed on to us, the consumers?" And, finally, "Do we all need to review the rules of bike-riding lessons and practice our left-arm-out-the-window coordination, so we won't look like lame imitations of a one-winged albatross, or rigid with our arms bent in invisible casts, forever locked in the right turn position?"

The gentleman assured me all new cars are equipped with those wonderful labour saving devices of direction. When I asked him for a ball park figure of how much the whole system costs, he spewed forth a myriad of parts, toting up imaginary figures: multi-function unit switchers, flashers, sockets, bulbs, at least one hundred feet of wiring. It all added up to a rough guess of about five to six hundred dollars. 'bout they just quit making cars with turn signals? Let's go back to the good ole days of plain, inexpensive bare-bones rattletraps. Save us all some money. The manufacturers could cut out miles of assembly line production; lay off workers who would still be able to buy new, since they'd be so cheap. Road rage would lessen as none of us would be expecting the other guy to have a clue as to what he was going to do; nor would we expect him to tell us if he did! Then we could attend "lowered expectations" driving classes.

Young drivers hardly ever use signals; most old drivers forget to use them; and everyone else either prays a lot or uses them in a vain attempt at compliance and hopefulness; praying and hoping that Bubba in the BIG truck behind us will PLEASE pay attention and NOT run us over!

In our high-tech world, computers tell us when we have email; cars tell us when we've left the lights on; televisions remind us of when a program is starting; dogs, if their owners order from the right catalogue, ring a bell to tell us they want inside.

If Detroit doesn't want to make cars without indicators and since psychic turn signals are just another dream, I think each car should come equipped with EEG-type leads for drivers to attach to their scalps. Leading into the dashboard, linked to the on-board computer system, the wires would detect even a hint of intent to change lanes, turn a corner, or hell, even stomp on the brakes! These "smart" cars would automatically activate the proper warning signals which would be of a magnitude in volume and appearance that even the most "brain-dead" could not ignore them. Since there would have to be retrofit kits for older cars (because of the laws requiring upgrades), we would all become instantly aware of what the other guy was going to do! Think of the saved lives! It would be revolutionary, a sort of Knight Rider "Kit" come alive!

Of course, we could all start a different revolution by returning to sane and safe, although boring use of signals. If they malfunction, we could roll down our power windows, yes, even where I live, where there's frequently Rocky Mountain blizzards, stick out our arms, and in an act of manual labour, tell the world "I AM GOING TO TURN! Won't you join me?"

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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 07:15 AM

I am so grateful to have moved back to a region where most of the population still knows about that nifty little lever. I used to live in Massachusetts... near Boston... 'nuff said....

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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 07:41 AM

Kat hope you mind if I practice some of my 'Red Neck' vocabulary on your thread here......

Why some of those drivers are 'dumber than a box of rocks'. Sometimes I get so mad at the stupidity of some drivers I could 'kick their ass so hard they would have to take off their hat to shit'. They drive way too fast when the roads are 'slicker'n goose shit' and they have no right driving when 'drunker than Cooter Brown'. Sometimes in rush hour I'm as 'nervous as a cat covrin up shit'.
Personally I think this 'Signal-less' issue is as hopeless as a one-legged cat burying turds on a frozen pond.

How am I doing guys?

Little Neo Red Neck Wannabee

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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Dharmabum
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 08:09 AM

Slicker'n goose shit Bonnie. Now, just start talking to the screen in the movie theatre & you'll be well on your way to redneckdom.

Thanks for this Kat,We've got the signaless car dilemma ( in major proportions)here in Jersey.I've even noticed quite a few of our police cars don't come equipped with turn signals anymore. Of course,you can still get a ticket for having one burned out.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 09:03 AM

My son says there is a reason that the signal shows on the FRONT of the car too!

In my commuting experience:
The drivers on the "yuppie" side of town were far ruder than in the "projects." I was cut off numerous times by BMW's, but always pleased when a "rattletrap" used hand signals.

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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 10:31 AM

The ignorance of the driver seems to increase in proportion to the cost of their car. Seems to go - I have a BMW/Mercedes/A N Other therefore I am obviously more important than you (Or in Harry Enfields case - richer than yow... BritCom).

Because I am more important than you what I am doing is more important, therefore I need to get there sooner. Due to this it is OK for me to cut you up, pass on the wrong side, move from lane to lane at random intervals and even drive in bus and bike lanes. I do need to signal as, due to my superior status, you should automaticaly know my every whim...

Do what I do (Dave the Gnome talking again). Laugh at them. If their lives are that sad that they feel the need to race everyone they should be allowed to. They will end up dead sooner than you anyway - either in a road accident or through stress. Give them a little pleasure in their otherwise colorless lives and enjoy the show they provide - gives me hours of good entertainment!



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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Allan C.
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 11:08 AM

Defensive driving is the only way to compensate for the poor driving habits of others.

Most motorcyclists and some others have learned to watch the head of the driver ahead of them. Most people turn their heads to look in the direction they are about to turn - regardless of whether they use their turn signals (or whether they signal the direction in which they actually intend to turn!!). Knowledge of this trick has saved me many problems.

It has also become the habit of the majority of drivers to follow too closely. This has the effect of minimizing the amount of reaction time to compensate for the problems encountered by (or caused by) the car ahead. Following too close is probably the cause of more damage to automobiles than nearly anything else other than speeding.

Having an escape route in mind is also a good idea. Part of defensive driving is to give yourself room to get out of a jam if something were to suddenly happen ahead of you. Think: What if that truck ahead suddenly jammed on its brakes. Do you have room to swerve into the left lane or perhaps onto the shoulder of the road?

Truckers often use the Zone Defense. They try to maintain a clear margin on all sides wherever possible. A diagram of it would look a bit like an inverted pear - more room in front than elsewhere. They carefully track any vehicle that enters the Zone until it moves away. Automobile drivers would do well to do the same.

Y'all be careful out there, hear?

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Subject: RE: Thought for the day - January 20, 2001
From: Seth
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 08:48 AM

A word from central China, where driving is....well, it's...I don't know...really different. Turn signals? Not happening. Seat belts? Big insult to the driver of whatever ride you're riding in. Lanes? Center line? Shoulder? MEO! (We don't have it) People like to drive with their lights off at night. On unlighted roads. In the fog. While passing on hills at night in the fog. Lots of bikes, lots of pedestrians walking in the middle of the road. In the fog. At night. With a cow. A motorscooter is a good family vehicle, so why not put your whole family on it, while weaving between buses and trucks, bikes, animal carts, people and yours truly. But what I really like here is the attitude. People are really pretty relaxed, nobody goes crazy if they get cut off, people don't feel the need to do each other in over traffic. The important thing is not to hit anyone and not to be hit yourself in this maze, and most of the time people glide past and away from each other like swans on a still lake. I've been here two years and it still amazes me. Then again, my wife and daughter were very nearly killed yesterday when a truck suddenly pulled in front of their speeding cab( remember, no seat belts) You can't drive here unless you are Chinese, and I think it's just as well. In the U.S. it's bigger, faster, meaner, and more deadly if you mess up. Seth from China

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