Indiana Motorists: Here are 11 Simple Rules for Driving That So Many People Seem to Ignore
Driving a vehicle isn't terribly difficult once you get the hang of it, but it seems many of us here in Indiana (Evansville especially) complicate things by doing, or in some cases not doing, things that throw the whole flow out of whack.
The following "rules" are a mix of certain things I've noticed repeatedly over the course of my nearly 25 years behind the wheel, and suggestions made by several of my Facebook friends. Nearly all of them will seem like common knowledge, but obviously, they're not for some people or there would be no need for this list.
With that said, let's dive in so we can all get to where we need to be safely, and without wanting to kill each other.
Side note: If you're reading this list while driving, you're part of the problem.
Drive the Speed Limit on Diamond Avenue
This is one I have noticed for years, and only seems to be an issue on the stretch of Diamond Avenue between Fulton and St. Joe. As you can see in the Google Map photo above, the speed limit on this stretch is 55 miles per hour. Not 50, not 45, 55! Why the drivers I get stuck behind struggle with this, I don't know, but if you find yourself on this stretch of road, go ahead and push that gas pedal down a little more, it's OK.
Drive the Speed Limit Anywhere
There are drivers in this city that for whatever reason seem to make a conscious effort to drive five to ten miles BELOW the speed limit no matter where they go. If you're too afraid to push your car up to a whopping 35 to 45 miles an hour, maybe you should take the bus.
The Left Lane is for Passing ONLY
This one drives my wife to the brink of insanity, and she's not alone. Several of my Facebook friends, including Jennifer Elfreich, Anthony Southwood, and Christina Bush all said people driving slow in the left (a.k.a. "passing") lane was the one thing that makes them crazy about Evansville drivers. If you're in the far left lane of the Lloyd Expressway, and traffic is passing you by, you need to move over. Heck, it's become such a problem, the state of Indiana implemented a law that allows police officers to ticket you if you don't use the left lane properly. That includes hanging out there even if you are traveling at the right speed.
Proper Use of the Turn Lane
This. Drives. Me. Bonkers! If you know you're going to turn left or right onto a different street, get in the turn lane as soon as it becomes available, not right before the turn. The number of times I get into the turn lane to make a turn only to have the car in front of me decides they also want to turn halfway up the lane is too high to count. This usually leads to me pumping or slamming the breaks to let them over.
This was a popular choice among my Facebook friends. Tim Black, Julie Kuehn, Nicole Gray, and Renee Gentry were just a few of the people who either mentioned texting and driving, or just using your mobile device in general when you should be paying attention to the road and your surroundings.
As I've mentioned before, I am guilty of succumbing to the sweet siren song of a text message notification while driving even though I know I shouldn't. I also catch myself finding something to listen to on my iPod (yes, I still have one) while cruising around town. Keep in mind, local law enforcement has recently put an increased focus on searching for and ticketing distracted drivers, so put the phone down and drive.
Turn Signals - Not a Courtesy Feature When You Feel Like It
There's a recurring Dad Joke I like to throw out when someone makes a turn without using their turn signal. It goes something like, "Oh, I guess that model didn't come with turn signals!" For whatever reason, this may be the easiest thing to do when driving, and yet it's the one thing people forget to do the most. If you're turning, do us all a favor and USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL!
Cutting In and Out of Lanes
Don't get me wrong, I like to give the ol' pickup truck a little extra gas from time to time, but let's be clear; the Lloyd Expressway, I-69, or Highway 41 are not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you're in such a hurry that you need to dangerously weave in and out of traffic, maybe you should have left the house sooner. Or maybe you're not in a hurry, you're just impatient. In that case, try yoga.
This is one I haven't noticed too much, but apparently several of my Facebook friends, including Kara Meyer, Jim Pry, and Alee Hoffman run into issues with people who have no clue what to do when they come to a 4-way stop. I could sit here and explain it myself, or I could let this video do it for me. And since I'm incredibly lazy, I'm going to go with option two. Learn stuff!
They say, "rubbin' is racin'," which is true if you're driving two hundred miles an hour around an oval track and trying to use physics to whip your vehicle around the person in front of you. Here's the thing, you're not doing that. You're trying to get to Burkhardt Road, so back off, you'll get there eventually.
Green Means Go, Red Means Stop
This is basic knowledge, Driver's Ed 101, if you will. Even children know that when the light is green, that is your signal to keep on keepin' on. When it's red, stay put. However, there are people that for whatever reason decide to slow down as they approach a green light, or hammer the gas through a red. Please stop, and do it the right way before you cause an accident.
Proper Merging Etiquette
This applies to both those trying to merge onto the highway, and those trying to get off it. It never fails that when you come up on the exit you want to take off the Lloyd, someone is trying to get on to the Lloyd at that exact moment which leads to this weird two-step dance routine where you both press the gas trying to get ahead of each other, followed immediately by both pressing the brake to let the other person over. It's not supposed to be this difficult.
If you're the person on the Lloyd trying to exit, slow down and turn on your turn signal. If you're the person trying to get on, check your side view mirror for oncoming traffic, turn on your signal, and press the gas. It's that simple. If you have no intention of getting off the highway, stay in the middle lane so merging traffic can get on. See? That wasn't so bad, was it?
There you go. Feel free to print these out and keep them in your vehicle for reference (don't read them while you're driving, of course). If there's something we missed, let us know in the comments below.