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I'm putting together a website known as the "Fairfax County Parkway HALL OF SHAME" .. based on the now-gone bay areas Highway 17 Hall of Shame, it'll feature pictures of some of the most annoying and ridiculous things I see DAILY in my commute to and from work. Along with it will be a discussion board for people to share their misery and rants.

Todays perfect example would be the two tractor trailers from the same company, identical in appearance, riding side by side. It's two lanes in either direction, 50mph speed limit. They were going 45, and prevented anyone from passing for about 6 miles until they turned off. It caused at least 100 cars to get backed up. Behind us, there could have been accidents or worse. To say I was frustrated was an understatement. It's really bad when you wish you could drive on the shoulder to pass people. What's sadder is that this was probably NOT malicious or intentional. People out here just really are that oblivious.

I see things like this on a constant, daily basis. Every day I've got exciting stories to tell of the newest form of stupidity I've observed .. Like.. a little toyota pickup leaving sparks behind it from the trailer hitch. It was dragging on the ground. Because it was full of concrete and dirt. Going about 15 mph. The front wheels were barely touching the ground.

I'd like to get some full motion videos .. but that'll require me to get my camera mounted, which will come eventually. It'd be nice to show videos of someone going 40 mph, me passing them, and as I slooowly pass them, see that I'm now going 80. And only slowly passing them. (They're speeding up so I can't get around them).
The legal ramifications of this are a concern of mine. I do plan to blur out license plates. I'm potentially going to be pissing people off-- noone likes being shown how stupid they are in front of a lot of people. So it would be good to know if a video showing me going 80 on a public street could be used to give me a speeding ticket. So. Research shall be done...

- Keman


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
Rigel, I suspect that report is referring to congestion, not skill or consideration for other drivers.
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, no doubt.
May. 9th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
I want shots of the people who drive 10-30 miles above the posted speed limit and get upset at cars who are obeying the traffic laws.

May. 9th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
Including those laws that state that slower traffic shall give way to the right?

May. 9th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, people around here don't seem to understand the simple concepts like this, or "Right of Way" or even something as simple as "If you share the road with your fellow drivers, the commute goes much easier"

You know, things like letting your fellow drivers merge in with you, rather than rushing to block their entrance to your lane. HOW DARE THEY TRY AND GET INFRONT OF ME!!!!
May. 9th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
It's especially amusing in California, where there are 'suicide merges'. Traffic merging off has to immediately cross the path of traffic merging on.

But yes, I really get pissed at the people who don't want to let anyone in, as well as the people who think they should squeeze in front of the same car that let the person in front of them in.

Insanity. Think zipper.

May. 9th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like the people who cut into an exit ramp that was backed up for 1/2 mile, right before the barrier and long after the solid white line has started, or the people who cut across the berm?

It's not "How dare they try and get in front of me." It's "What makes them so important that they don't have to wait like everyone else?"
May. 9th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
§ 46.2-842.1. Drivers to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highways.

It shall be unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic when driving a motor vehicle to the left and abreast of another motor vehicle on a divided highway. On audible or light signal, the driver of the overtaken vehicle shall move to the right to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass as soon as the overtaken vehicle can safely do so. A violation of this section shall not be construed as negligence per se in any civil action.

So, you're toodling along at 55mph in the left lane. After all, the speed limit is 55mph, so you're doing nothing wrong.

Someone comes up behind you, and signals (as is appropriate) with an audible or light signal that they wish to overtake you.

Do you
(a) Stubbornly sit in the left lane, after all, you're obeying the law
(b) Move one (or more) lanes to the right, as required by law, to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass

May. 9th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
Normally B.

I've no problem with people driving 65 in a 55 (Hell, I'm guilty of that.) I just delight in the people (a few co-workers for one) who get -PISSED- when they get pulled for doing 85 in a 55, after all, they weren't doing -anything- wrong... just driving fast.

According to them, there shouldn't be a speed limit at all, you should be allowed to drive as fast as you want. Who cares about Safety and fuel economy and all the other reasons.
May. 9th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
Who cares about Safety and fuel economy and all the other reasons.

Speed doesn't cause accidents, though it does make them worse.

Peak fuel economy for most cars falls somewhere between 40mph and 60mph. So why do we have speed limits below 40 (35 is very common on 4-lane divided highways in Fairfax) or above 60 (65mph on the HOV lanes of 95/395, and on rural multi-lane divided highways)?

May. 9th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
Well, I do not have the laws infront of me, and my knowledge may be incorrect and out of date. But in PA, the condition of the road, often determined the speed limit. If there were houses within $distance, (with no barrier i believe), the speed was maxed to 45, but if there were no houses within $distance, and the road met other criteria (curves outside of $parameters) then the road could go up to 55mph. In suburbia, with stop lights and/or stop signs the max was 25(within 'city limits') or 35.

So there may be more than a few reasons as to why.

Besides, while I may be perfectly capable of handling a car in excess of 75-80, given the quality of other drivers around here, John Q Driver deciding to cut infront of me, is a potential danger. The slower I am going, the bigger reaction time I have, as well as breaking distance and other performance metrics. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in 15 years. The minor amount of time saved by driving at the upper end of my truck's speed, doesn't get me enough saved time to warrant the risk of erasing someone from the roster of life, and so I choose to not exceed the speed limit by more than necessary.
May. 9th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
Several aspects to this result in the way things are today, and present laws do not account for all of it.

Cars stop faster and handle much better than they did 30 years ago.
Nearly everyone exceeds highway posted speeds by a large margin - 15-30%.
Lots of people can safely drive a car at high speeds.

That being said, I've been professionally trained on a racetrack, and have been "unprofessionally" speeding amongst the general public since I was a teenager. I've driven over 300,000 miles and I speed on a daily basis. I have no tickets on my record, and have not received one in over 3 years. I've only caused one accident-- I was hungover and rear ended someone at 15 mph. Since then I've adopted a zero tolorance policy towards alcohol. I won't drive if I've consumed alcohol in the past 12 hours or more.

On the other paw, lots of people do not have these skills. In fact, lots of people are a danger to everyone around them, forget the posted speed, they don't even understand the rules of the road. They don't check their mirrors, they don't use their signals, they're oblivious of the world around them. All they know is "Get in car, drive, ignore dangerous angry road rage drivers flashing lights in mirror, get to destination, vote for tighter traffic law enforcement. Those dangerous drivers should lose their licenses!"

The powers that be have attempted to take into account all of this. As fairly as possible. It can swing one way or the other, but one thing remains constant-- doing your best to stay out of the way of everyone around you is a good idea. That requires you to be observant. And that requires you to not try and police/hinder people YOU feel are being unsafe.

My website is gonna be quite a laugh, cuz here in D.C. area of virginia ... there are just some amazingly ignorant people. Correlation: Acceptance of homosexuality and driver awareness? I'm moving to CT !!

- Keman
May. 9th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
It's all relative. Don't try to take the moral high ground here ...

The one person who's going 30 mph slower than everyone else on the road-- the law is irrelevant, that is a moving roadhazard and does nothing but make -everyone- frustrated, not to mention likely to cause accidents as people struggle to pass them.

Often, as is the case here, the social norm is to speed. To go against that norm is to invite problems. To do so in the fast lane is a quest to invite lots of problems. I have to ask anyone who does that- are you _trying_ to cause accidents? This thinly veiled attempt to drive "safely" is nothing of the sort. Get a clue...

- Keman
May. 9th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, 'pack pacing' is something I whole heartedly agree with. And a driver doing -30mph in the left lane is definitely a traffic hazard.

What clue are you suggesting I get? That if everyone else is driving 65, I should as well? Sure, I do that all the time down the interstate. That's not the issue. There is quite a bit of fudge factor involved as well. In one of my college classes, (Probably English, I don't recall) I interviewed a good dozen or so state and local troopers (I worked at a Burger King while in college, we had quite a lot come by, and they were always willing to answer questions.) And other than finding out what VASCAR stood for, and there was no such thing as a "Quota", the one thing I learned is that they were pretty lenient on speeds. If a pack of cars was doing 70, they didn't mind it, they were looking for that -one- car who was doing 90 when everyone was doing 70, or driving recklessly.

Shit, I got distracted by work, and when I came back I lost where I was going with this. Must not have been very good.
May. 9th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
"get a clue" is not directed at you, but the one guy doing -30 in the left lane.

- Keman
May. 9th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
"get a clue" is not directed at you, but the one guy doing -30 in the left lane.

Ah, I miss-read, I apologize.
May. 9th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC)
So it would be good to know if a video showing me going 80 on a public street could be used to give me a speeding ticket

This is not advisable.

Especially not in Virginia, the Carolinas, or Georgia.

May. 9th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm. I drive on the Parkway -every day-. From where it turns from Van Dorn Street to the Parkway, all the way back to the on ramp to 66. :)
May. 9th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
On another note, I believe I read in the Va code some time in the past, that if you are going faster then 15mph over the posted limit, or over 80mph on ANY road, that you basically void your "right of way". Just thought I'd toss that out there.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Galen Wolffit

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