Category: Driving

Intersection tips

Approaching a stale green light can be frustrating.  Everyone is in such a rush these days.  A few simple tips to watch out for when approaching a light is the following:

–          If it is green, by looking ahead of you, you can see whether or not the light will be changing soon.  If the crosswalk white person is lit, you still have time to make it through the intersection

–          If it is green and the orange crosswalk hand is blinking, that means the light is about to change.  Just recently a lot of the lights have been converted and have a countdown timer, which is very convenient and you know when exactly the light will change.

–          If the light is red, you can (more often than not), see the opposite crosswalk lights.  As mentioned above, if the crosswalk lights indicate a white person, the light will remain red for you for a few more seconds (or will be changing soon if the orange hand is blinking). 

–          As for timing, when the hand that is blinking stops, that means the light has changed from green to amber.  That means it will take 3 to 4 seconds for your light to turn green.  To be safe, wait an addition 1 to 2 seconds to accelerate away from the line.

–          If you are sitting at a red light which is designated as a crosswalk/pedestrian crossing, you will know when the light will be turning by watching the blinking orange hand – when it stays on, the light will turn green in 3 to 4 seconds.


1. A new way to set up your mirrors.

Start by setting your rear-view mirror as you normally would. Then, lean your head all the way to the left so it touches the driver’s window. From that position, set your left side-view mirror so you can see the back corner of your car.

Now lean the same distance the other way, and set your right sideview mirror the same way.

Now, here’s what happens. When a car comes up behind you, you should first see it in your rear-view mirror. But as it passes you (let’s say on your left), you’ll see it move to the left side of your rear-view mirror. And as its left headlight disappears from your rear-view mirror, it should instantly show up in your left side-view mirror. There should be no delay. It should slip from one to the other, so you can always see it.

End result?  No huge blind spots.

Driving with the mirrors this way takes some getting used to. You have to learn to rely on your rear-view mirror first. And you’ll have to get used to what your side-view mirrors are now looking at. But, the good news is that your blind spot should now be gone.

blind spots




2. Manual Transmissions.

Always keep the car in gear.  Coming to a stop at a light may seem uninteresting, but in the event you need to move quickly, you will not be ready.  

3. Route planning.

This is more of a mental, visual thing that I have used in the past and seems to work.  When you are going somewhere, visualize where you are going.  Check the map, think of the roads you will be going on.  Chances are you will get there safely. 

I have found that if you get rushed, you are late for something, or are unfamiliar with where you are going, mistakes will happen.  Let’s use the being late scenario…. You are late and traffic is slow.  The best idea is to put your favorite radio talk show on or some fave tunes and relax and be ready to proceed.  Yes, you will be late.  But you will arrive safely.  However, the majority of us get anxious and just want to be on our way.  So, what will we do?  We will take a short cut.  We will speed.  We will take chances running a light, or try to beat the train.  All of these things will be done on the fly, at high speeds.  Your reaction time will be cut down.  You cannot account for a school zone if you cut corners.  Your odds that you will arrive at your destination on time and safely have gone severely down. 

Know where you are going, and if you are lost, take a calm approach and plan as you go.

Driving Tips

I have decided to post up a week or so long series on driving tips that are tricky and will help you out on a regular basis.  Maybe some of them are well known – but this is from my viewpoint and will help traffic and will help you avoid an accident.

FREE FLOW LANE…. Is this a hard concept? 

Examples include…coming off of 109th Street, heading south toward the High Level Bridge.  The free flow, added lane sign is up ahead.  Why would someone feel like stopping?  I do not see a yield sign.  Please proceed!  No wonder the traffice builds up. 

When you see this sign, follow your lane marker and proceed down the road. 

Added Lane

Added Lane

When on road turning right where there is a median.   The turn is gradual and large and there is a large amount of time to make the turn.    So, a few seconds prior to entering the turn, and you see the light has turned green.  Unless no one is on the road, there will not be a large amount of traffic coming from your left.  The yield sign is there to remind you that traffic may be approaching.  With the light being green, it is okay to continue on your way.  All too many times I see overly cautious, inexperienced drivers coming to a complete stop for no reason.  It is so important to be aware of what is happening in front of you.  How many times was a rear end accident the cause of the first driver not being aware of the situation?