Driving Laws No One Follows

Announcer: Go behind the wheel, under the hood and beyond with Car Stuff from HowStuffWorks.com.

Ben Bowlin: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. You know me. My name is Ben Bowlin. I've had some ups and downs in my job. This week, I am a traffic consultant.

Scott Benjamin: Traffic consultant. Very good. Very good, all right. My name is Scott Benjamin. I'm still the auto editor here. No new jobs.

Ben Bowlin: You're stalwart. You're tenacious, and you're dang good at what you do, right?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I'm sticking with it. That's right. Yeah, that's right. You seem to be getting around quite a bit.

Ben Bowlin: I'm kind of a jack of all trades, master of none. But yeah, I think this traffic consultant thing will work out pretty well. It's an interesting job because, well, A.) It's not real. But I'm sort of working for myself. I'm an entrepreneur. Basically, I stand at street corners, and I criticize people if I think they're doing the wrong thing in traffic.

Scott Benjamin: You just shout out advice?

Ben Bowlin: Uh huh, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I could see people listening to you.

Ben Bowlin: Well, it's constructive criticism, Scott.

Scott Benjamin: Do you have a bullhorn?

Ben Bowlin: Kind of. I'm working on that.

Scott Benjamin: A bullhorn would be very helpful.

Ben Bowlin: It would be ideal. Right now, I just have a very large sign that I stand in front of.

Scott Benjamin: Very good. Anybody following your advice?

Ben Bowlin: No, no, but this is how it always is in the beginning.

Scott Benjamin: Understood.

Ben Bowlin: I've got a vision. I've got a dream, and I've got a big sign.

Scott Benjamin: Stick with it.

Ben Bowlin: Thanks, buddy. But one thing, the reason that I actually took this ridiculous job for this week - people know this by now, I've been averaging like two jobs a week.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, yeah, constantly on the move.

Ben Bowlin: I'm trying to in this economy, but I still work here. How could I not hang out with my podcast partner in crime? And I took this job as research because, Scott, I've got to tell you, man. We've done some podcasts about driving laws, rules, regulations. We did that one about police chases.

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: But I've got to tell you, there are a lot of laws that people just are not following.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, that's right. There are. Yeah, you see it every day around you. How many times have you been in traffic and you see somebody do something and you say, "Where are the police when something like this is going on? Who's gonna stop that guy from doing that?" Whatever that is, like it's an illegal U-turn or whatever it happens to be?

Ben Bowlin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: They always seem to catch you when you're going 2 miles per hour faster in the school zone than you're supposed to be, but never catch the guy that's going diagonal through the intersection. There's a lot of things that I see on a daily basis that I wish, "Oh, man, I wish somebody would catch that guy doing that, so maybe he or she would stop."

Ben Bowlin: And we know we kind of touched on a nerve, perhaps a nerve that needed to be touched upon, when we talked about driving pet peeves.

Scott Benjamin: You know what? I'm glad you said that. I've been thinking the same thing because later, when we talk about some of these more common rules that you'll see broken in front of you often, a lot of them - I don't know if it's a pet peeves or if it's really - is it a law? Is it just kind of a common practice on the road? Some of them are a little grey in that area.

Ben Bowlin: Is it courtesy or is it etiquette or is it illegal?

Scott Benjamin: Exactly, yeah. Exactly, and some of them come right down to pet peeve, and I think we've mentioned a couple of these that I've got at least, anyway, in the pet peeve section, so we'll find out.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, well, I'll go ahead and kick it off with the most common one. Do you want me to do the most common one?

Scott Benjamin: I think so, yeah. First, do you think we should tell them - I've got one thing I need to say first, I think. There's a reason that we're talking about this, and it's because - I know we sound kind of stodgy about this or whatever, but -

Ben Bowlin: We're old codgers.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, that's right. Well, there's rules for a reason, and there's a couple of reasons, really. When you listen to the reasons, I'll think you'll understand why we're talking about this today because - and like I said, you've got to follow the rules. A lot of people are gonna say you don't have to follow the rules, but if you don't follow the rules of the road, the problem is that you're endangering yourself, okay? That's one. The second thing is you're endangering every other motorist on the road. The third one, which I think some people will find applies to them, you're endangering pedestrians on the road who are expecting you to do one thing when you do another thing.

Ben Bowlin: That's a good call.

Scott Benjamin: I hadn't really thought of the pedestrian angle until yesterday when I saw somebody almost get hit. I just thought they were expecting this person to stop at the light. They didn't. The guy continued through, and the person at the crosswalk where they were supposed to be nearly was struck. And I'm thinking that's an accident that's clearly the motorist's fault, but it was based on the pedestrian thinking that the car was gonna stop like it was supposed to at the intersection. It got to me then at that point that there's more than just yourself that you're thinking about, like I've got to do this or else I'll get a ticket. There's other motorists and other people on the road that are walking and expect you to do certain things that follow those rules or the convention standards, I guess.

Ben Bowlin: Let me go ahead - I completely feel you on that. I want to go ahead and plead the fifth to some of these because, of course, we're very aware - or I hope you are too, buddy - that we're talking about - we're doing a podcast about driving laws that pretty much everybody has ignored at some point or another.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, this includes us, doesn't it?

Ben Bowlin: It kind of - it may. Is there a statute of limitations?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I'm not gonna claim responsibility for any of these.

Ben Bowlin: Right, right. We're just concerned. Here's something I want to say already. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I'm on my soapbox right now. Scott, the future people of the world are going to look back at the way we have traffic laws set up already, and first off, they're going to think it's amazing and sort of ridiculous that we had these huge vehicles hurting past each other very close together in excess of 50 miles an hour, and we thought that they would just stick to the honor system of having some lines drawn.

Scott Benjamin: There's a line painted there, and no one's gonna drive over that.

Ben Bowlin: Not over the magic line.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, that's right.

Ben Bowlin: So, we're already - when we say that these rules are there for a reason, it's very easy for us to get comfortable and think that these painted symbols and stuff are real barriers, and pedestrians certainly do have to trust the other person behind the wheel.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: So, I want to go ahead and start with one of the driving laws that's commonly broken. Speeding.

Scott Benjamin: You know what? That's my No. 1 also.

Ben Bowlin: That's my No. 1.

Scott Benjamin: I think that no matter what, no matter if somebody says, "I'm always under the limit," I think there's a point where everybody is speeding at least a little bit. I know some people take it to the other extreme, and they speed all the time, and we joke a lot about me speeding here, but honestly, I don't drive all that fast. I drive slower than my wife does, I think, on a lot of the roads. Not to point my finger or anything, but I'm just saying that I generally try to keep at a reasonably safe speed and distance from other drivers.

Ben Bowlin: Right. But also, let's be realistic. When you look at - if you're on an interstate and you look at a sign that says the minimum speed is 40 miles per hour, the maximum speed is 55?

Scott Benjamin: 70.

Ben Bowlin: 70? 70 in some places, yeah. Let's not talk about where it's 70. I think that's kind of a bad -

Scott Benjamin: Okay, sorry. 55.

Ben Bowlin: Sure, it's 55. And most people are probably - if you looked at them, most people are probably averaging somewhere between 60 and 65.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, or even faster.

Ben Bowlin: Even faster.

Scott Benjamin: Even faster, yeah. That's one I think people commonly break just routinely, daily.

Ben Bowlin: And you'll hear people make the flow of traffic argument when they get pulled over.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: As I'm sure there are some people already just shaking their heads ruefully remembering when they tried that one. Let us all assure you, it does not work.

Scott Benjamin: Flow of traffic does not work, no. But you don't want to be on the opposite side of that either holding up traffic because that you will get a ticket for as well. There's too slow and too fast.

Ben Bowlin: There's too slow, too fast and just right. What do you got? What's another one?

Scott Benjamin: Let's see. How about no turn signals? You're supposed to use your turn signals every time you change lanes, but I don't know how often I see people not use turn signals or cut across two lanes of traffic at one time. That's also not allowed.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, but man, this is Atlanta. This is A-town. It's like Mad Max down here.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, but if you've got a brand new BMW, I know that your turn signals work. It's not that they don't work, which I guess if you've got a car that doesn't have turn signals that work, that's probably also illegal.

Ben Bowlin: And it's weird that nobody has designed, especially in a high end luxury car, a car that automatically flips the turn signal when you're turning.

Scott Benjamin: I don't know if they can. How would they do that? I don't know. We'd have to really think about that one because you're talking about gradual changes in direction. It could be the curvature of the road. It could be -

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Scott Benjamin: You're talking about an extreme right hand turn or left hand turn, right?

Ben Bowlin: If it's possible to build a car that parks itself - parallel parks itself -

Scott Benjamin: True.

Ben Bowlin: Then, I see nothing wrong with the turn signals.

Scott Benjamin: I understand, yep.

Ben Bowlin: We'll write a letter.

Scott Benjamin: I guess it's possible.

Ben Bowlin: But yeah, you're right. That's bad. In Atlanta, sometimes it seems as though people don't turn on their turn signals because they don't want you to know their secret plan.

Scott Benjamin: You know when that really gets me?

Ben Bowlin: When's that?

Scott Benjamin: When you're in 2-land traffic, and there's no turn lane, of course.

Ben Bowlin: Right, right.

Scott Benjamin: And you've got the choice to be in the right lane or left lane behind this person, and they go all the way up to the light, and then they turn on the signal, so you're stuck waiting. They're gonna turn left in front of you.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. Those guys.

Scott Benjamin: And then you've got to try to either decide if you're gonna try to pull out around them to the right or not.

Ben Bowlin: I always try to be nice to them.

Scott Benjamin: See, I think we're getting into pet peeves.

Ben Bowlin: We're getting - let's just stick with laws. You're right. So, I will see you tailgating, and I will also go with your hypothetical intersection there, and let's talk about what's going on at yellow lights, man.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, yellow lights. That's a good one. Are you talking about the people that seem to think that four cars can go through any yellow light?

Ben Bowlin: Yes, I'm talking about them. I'm talking about some people who have - maybe in this room in the past - have been leading out at a yellow light, and then when it goes red, these people - whoever they are -

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, someone in this room.

Ben Bowlin: Possibly.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: Are stuck in the intersection and a red light and just bust that left turn real quick and hope they don't get in trouble. That's a very common thing in cities, but it is illegal to bum rush that yellow light.

Scott Benjamin: Good point, good point. Yeah, and you put yourself out in a bad position out there.

Ben Bowlin: And you know what's crazy, Scott, is actually this one, I won't say that these laws are set up for anything other than safety, but there have been multiple cases where cities and communities have been caught running their yellow lights short to get tickets. Have you read about this?

Scott Benjamin: I have, yeah. That's right. I've heard about that. And there's something to do with the red light cameras as well.

Ben Bowlin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: Is it that if they install the red light cameras, they have to extend the yellow lights? Is that it? There's a minimum of like four seconds.

Ben Bowlin: There's a minimum of four seconds. Bare minimum is 3.9 seconds. But there are people who are shorting it to 3.4 and 3.5.

Scott Benjamin: So, they've got a red light camera, and then they've got a 3-second yellow light.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: I see. Okay.

Ben Bowlin: And so, it's tough, but it's a good revenue thing. We're just saying - I'm not beating up on drivers entirely. There is a grey area with these laws.

Scott Benjamin: We're pointing the finger at ourselves too.

Ben Bowlin: Yes, I have mine pointed at me.

Scott Benjamin: It's important to remember throughout this thing because we're not just picking on other people.

Ben Bowlin: What's next, man?

Scott Benjamin: Let's see, I've got - let me just give you two.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Following too closely, the tailgating. You've got the 2-second rule thing that no one ever obeys, really.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. Leave the distance of a car.

Scott Benjamin: And there is a tailgating rule. I don't know what that would be. I don't know if it's just a judgment call on the officer.

Ben Bowlin: For following too closely?

Scott Benjamin: Exactly, for following too closely or following too closely for the conditions. If it's icy or rainy or whatever, there's a lot of different rules like that. The other one - now, this one, I don't know if this is a law or not.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, I'll be the judge of that. I'm a traffic consultant.

Scott Benjamin: Good. Very good. Headlights when it's raining. Headlights when it's raining. What do you think?

Ben Bowlin: Oh.

Scott Benjamin: So, if you're got your windshield wipers on - I've always heard if you have your windshield wipers on, you should have your headlights on. Is that true?

Ben Bowlin: I don't know if that's a law. I've heard the same thing, but I'm not sure if that is a law.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I don't know. It's a safety concern, of course.

Ben Bowlin: Well, a lot of laws are also state by state.

Scott Benjamin: True.

Ben Bowlin: So, I don't - you know what? I can't speak to that. I'm not sure.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I don't know. I've always heard that when you have your windshield wipers on, if you need them because of rain, you need your headlights as well. If it's just one wipe to clear off the dust and dirt and stuff, of course you don't have to have your headlights on. But if it's a condition when you have to have them on, it's sprinkling or raining hard, yeah, turn them on.

Ben Bowlin: Even if it's like that Creedence Clearwater song and it's like a sunny day rain? That kind of weather?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, exactly.

Ben Bowlin: Huh.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I think you have to. I don't know. We'll look into it.

Ben Bowlin: I don't know. We'll see.

Scott Benjamin: We'll find out if that's a law or not.

Ben Bowlin: Better safe than sorry is all I'm gonna say.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, okay.

Ben Bowlin: All right, here's one. This has been a big, big deal in the States and especially in the areas around Atlanta recently - using your cell phone or texting while you're driving.

Scott Benjamin: Very good.

Ben Bowlin: Which a lot of people do. Now, anybody planning to come to Atlanta, keep an eye out because you guys are gonna see some road signs that are at the county lines. Quick background, there's Fulton County, where the majority of Atlanta is based. Then, there are a couple of adjacent counties, and there's one called DeKalb County. When you cross over the DeKalb County line, they have signs that say if you are in an accident and they can prove you were on your cell phone - doing anything on your cell phone - the accident is your fault.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, this is very recent, right?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Our governor just signed this - Sonny Purdue, he signed this in just a few weeks ago, really. So, it's a relatively recent thing, and they're definitely watching for it.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah. They're so serious.

Scott Benjamin: Be aware. Yeah, and it's dangerous. It really is dangerous. You know what? We're getting an article together about this right now.

Ben Bowlin: Spoiler alert.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. No, it's coming together for the site. It's is texting more dangerous than speeding or something like that. Yeah, watch for that one soon. Okay, I've got another one for you here.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: I'll give you two again. How about seatbelt usage? Because there are still a lot of people that aren't wearing seatbelts, and that's a law. That's a law.

Ben Bowlin: You got me. Can I real quick -

Scott Benjamin: Oh, yeah.

Ben Bowlin: Before you go into that one, I want to tell you, man. I've got to confess to someone about this.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, no.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, my family hates it. I do wear a seatbelt all the time. But you know me, man. I'm impulsive. I like to be ready to go. I have this habit that I've trying to break myself out of. As soon as I turn onto the street where I will be stopping, I end up taking off the seatbelt. I don't know why.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, no.

Ben Bowlin: In case I have to I guess jump out of the car or something?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I guess so. Bad news!

Ben Bowlin: I can't break it. I've been doing it since before I was driving age.

Scott Benjamin: Really? So, when you near your final destination, that's when you take off your seatbelt?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, and it's so wrong. I'm trying to do it. My girlfriend just hates it - detests it.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I bet.

Ben Bowlin: So, I'm trying to break myself, man, but its one day at a time.

Scott Benjamin: Well, good luck with that.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, what's next? Sorry.

Scott Benjamin: No, no, it's all right. A lot of people just simply will not wear them. My grandfather, I remember, would sit in the car, and he would hold the seatbelt. How would he do this? He would click it in because he knew that the light or the buzzer would go off.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: This is back in the early '70s, right?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: He would click it into its receptacle there, and he would hold it so far away from him, like hold it way away from his chest.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: It was gonna do absolutely no good, like an arm's length away from him. Some people just hate it. I know somebody who will not wear their seatbelt because they know of one story one time where a friend was actually saved by not wearing the seatbelt. That's so rare that they say - that they ever even will tell you that, that if you had been wearing it, you would have died in a car accident. Usually, it's a horrendous accident or something like that.

Ben Bowlin: Even someone like me with that weird compulsive habit, I wear a seatbelt the majority of the time. The guy who invented it, Niles Bowlen or something - different from my name.

Scott Benjamin: Really?

Ben Bowlin: B-O-H-L-I-N or something.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, okay. Yeah. I thought you were name dropping.

Ben Bowlin: No, no. Looking into that, I think that invention has saved over a billion lives.

Scott Benjamin: Yes, I would definitely believe that.

Ben Bowlin: Definitely, the numbers beat out the anecdotes.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly, yeah, and that's what we try to convince this person that I know. It's a family member, and they just will not have any of that.

Ben Bowlin: Up until quite recently, people did not have to wear a seatbelt if they were driving a pickup truck in Georgia.

Scott Benjamin: You know what? You're right. That's very recent, within the last, again, month or two, right?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Very recent, which is - we were the final holdout, I think, on that.

Ben Bowlin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: A lot of states had the similar rule, and then Georgia was the last one to pass that you do have to wear a seatbelt in a pickup truck.

Ben Bowlin: Well, because there's not really a reason not to.

Scott Benjam in: Yeah, I think that the rule kind of goes back to when they were thinking that pickup trucks were commonly used in agriculture and farming - in other environments, off road type environments, and you're getting in and out of the vehicle. Let's say you're in a logging job or whatever it would, forestry type job, and you're getting in and out of the vehicle 60 times a day. I can understand why they would say, "Oh, it's not necessarily to do that over and over again," and you're not even on a public road. Now, a lot of people, that's their main form of transportation. That's their -

Ben Bowlin: Daily driver.

Scott Benjamin: Daily driver. You're right. There's no reason not to if you're on the highway.

Ben Bowlin: But I agree with you. What you're saying is logical and rational. I just don't know if that's the reason Georgia was the last hold out. I heard a different story, Mr. B.

Scott Benjamin: Really? Do tell.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I heard that one of the members of our state congress actually refused to wear a seatbelt and drove a pickup truck. And I heard that you can trace this law to this individual.

Scott Benjamin: No kidding?

Ben Bowlin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: Wow, okay, that's all that new to me. I've had my eyes wide opened.

Ben Bowlin: I don't remember his name, and again, it's just an anecdote.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, no. That's likely true.

Ben Bowlin: Possible.

Scott Benjamin: It's likely true. If you've got somebody on the inside that's putting pressure on this to keep it out, yeah, I understand.

Ben Bowlin: Inside job.

Scott Benjamin: Did that person recently retire?

Ben Bowlin: I believe so.

Scott Benjamin: There you go. That's the reason.

Ben Bowlin: You know what I think we need, though? I think we need a guy on the inside or a woman on the inside, someone on the inside to get us a couple of BMWs.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, why is that?

Ben Bowlin: I just like them, and I'm really - if they change seatbelt laws -

Scott Benjamin: You're just a fan.

Ben Bowlin: I'm just a fan.

Scott Benjamin: Just a fan, okay.

Ben Bowlin: Quality vehicle.

Scott Benjamin: Very good.

Ben B owlin: Okay, what a tangent. I'm sorry.

Scott Benjamin: Wow. No, very good. Okay.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, sorry, man.

Scott Benjamin: No, that's okay. How about this one? I was gonna give you two here.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Complete stop at intersections, like at stop signs. I've got to admit that sometimes I don't do this in residential areas, which is probably one of the worst places not to do this.

Ben Bowlin: Sure, it's where the kids are.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, you've got the potential of people. I always look around, of course, but a rolling stop, you'll get a ticket for a rolling stop. In fact, a lot of times, you'll find police officers kind of camped just 100 feet away from the intersection just watching and just waiting for someone to do that. I've had a lot of friends get tickets for that. I luckily have not had one to this point.

Ben Bowlin: I don't think I've had one.

Scott Benjamin: I see a lot of people doing rolling stops. You have to - legally, you have to come to a stop where the weight of the car settles, and then you move on.

Ben Bowlin: But a lot of people don't do that. I'm reformed. I do completely stops now, man, but I used to make more California rolls than a sushi chef.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, Ben.

Ben Bowlin: That was not bad, huh?

Scott Benjamin: No, I guess. Yeah, yeah, we'll leave that up to the listeners.

Ben Bowlin: We'll let that one go?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, we'll let that one go. We'll leave it up to the listeners. What was that? More California rolls than a sushi chef?

Ben Bowlin: A sushi chef because they make California rolls.

Scott Benjamin: Very good.

Ben Bowlin: Okay, look, man, not all of these jokes are gonna be awesome. Luckily, you can make -

Scott Benjamin: No, that's more than I'm coming up with.

Ben Bowlin: You can make bad jokes when we [inaudible].

Scott Benjamin: Here's another one. Or do you have a whole bunch of them over there too?

Ben Bowlin: I only have two more.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, go ahead.

Ben Bowlin: You want to hear them?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, sure. Why not?

Ben Bowlin: This one is one that I think a lot of people do unintentionally, especially when you're in a new place. That is - this is the part where you ask me what it is.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, what is it, Ben?

Ben Bowlin: I'm so glad you asked. It is parking illegally.

Scott Benjamin: Parking illegally.

Ben Bowlin: Which is the first ticket I ever got in Atlanta because I swear to you, Scott, I swear on Henry Ford's name that that parking space looked like I could put my car there.

Scott Benjamin: You're very serious about it. You swear on Henry Ford's name.

Ben Bowlin: Well, look, okay. Long story short, there was nothing on the - it was street parking. There was nothing on the street that said I couldn't park there. It was in the middle of several cars. Behind a pole in a bush, there is a sign that said that's a handicapped spot.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, boy.

Ben Bowlin: And I couldn't - I didn't see it. Then, when the cop wrote me the ticket, and I was looking at the ticket, it took me a couple minutes to find the sign.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, wow.

Ben Bowlin: I had to go like on an expedition into the bush.

Scott Benjamin: The guy probably camps out and waits for people to use that spot and writes tickets.

Ben Bowlin: Also, I'm not the kind of guy who would park in a handicapped spot.

Scott Benjamin: No, you're not at all.

Ben Bowlin: It's messed up, but I think that's something a lot of people do without knowing that they're doing it.

Scott Benjamin: No, I honestly believe you. I don't think you would ever do that intentionally. I know that.

Ben Bowlin: Well, thanks, man.

Scott Benjamin: But yeah, that's terrible when they hide something like that on you, and you just inadvertently stumble into it like that.

Ben Bowlin: All right. Now, you're being a little over sympathetic.

Scott Benjamin: No, no, no, really.

Ben Bowlin: Are you setting me up for something?

Scott Benjamin: No, I'm really not. No, that's too bad, Ben. I'm really sorry.

Ben Bowlin: It's easy to accidentally park illegally.

Scott Benjamin: What, do I seem? I'm not being glib about this. Okay, all right. I'm ready. I've got a couple more here. We'll get them pretty quick. I'll go with these lines thing because I've got another one that's bigger than this. Crossing solid white lines or crossing solid yellow lines.

Ben Bowlin: People do it.

Scott Benjamin: I know. Like you had mentioned, those painted barriers. We've come to know that you're not supposed to do that. You find that out in driver's Ed, but people cross solid white lines and they cross solid yellow lines as well. You'll see the solid white lines a lot of times on corners. You're not supposed to change lanes on certain corners if they deem it's too much of an angle, etc. or if it's too fast of a turn. You're supposed to maintain your lane, and a solid lane indicates that. A lot of people are changing lanes all over the place in that.

Ben Bowlin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: Or they cross over into a turn lane too quickly, so they end up in a section that's marked off with solid yellow lines, or they do a U-turn over two solid yellow lines, which indicate that there's traffic coming the other direction. I don't know. The solid yellow line and solid white line thing really gets me.

Ben Bowlin: That does seem to bug you, man.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, it does. It bugs me.

Ben Bowlin: Also, you know you're not supposed to switch lanes in an intersection or in the midst of an intersection.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, you're right.

Ben Bowlin: People do that.

Scott Benjamin: I see that all the time. What about passing on the right? I see a lot of people passing on the right.

Ben Bowlin: Now, I've got to ask you. Is that a law?

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: All right.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, you're not supposed to pass on the right. You're supposed to - I think - the person is also in front of you, if they're holding up traffic, they're supposed to move to the right and allow you to pass on the left.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, but few people do that.

Scott Benjamin: And if you can't pass on the left, then that's too bad for you. You're supposed to wait until you are able to pass on the left. You're not supposed to pass on the right. That's not the right way to do it.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I guess you're right. Few people actually do go to the right when there's slower traffic because we all get this - I get this racing mentality sometimes. I've got to hold my spot in line, Scott. Okay, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, so I've got - you have any more, because I've got a couple?

Ben Bowlin: I've got this one. Stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks happens a lot. Even in a lot of cities, they'll have a sign, the little yellow sign with the stop sign painted on it, stop for pedestrians.

Scott Benjamin: Well, if pedestrians are crossing, I don't know what their problem is. The cars always have the right of way, so -

Ben Bowlin: Well.

Scott Benjamin: You're looking at me like -

Ben Bowlin: I really want to be on you r side, man. I want to support you, but you've got to stop hitting these people in the street.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, no. Okay, I know that's not right.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah. We know that, but it's true that a lot of times maybe the drivers don't see the people who are about to walk out on the curb and continue past.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, we have to deal with that every day pulling into our building.

Ben Bowlin: Yes, sir.

Scott Benjamin: Off a main road, and there's a lot of foot traffic coming from public transportation and just in general. People live in condos down here in the city. A lot of people walk to work or bike to work.

Ben Bowlin: Keep an eye out.

Scott Benjamin: Construction workers walking to the job site, that type of thing. Any time we're turning into the building, it's always kind of nerve wracking because you have people closing in from behind quickly, and you have to stop often to let people continue to cross in front of you, and that's always kind of iffy in the morning.

Ben Bowlin: Then, the last one I have, I just thought of it because we were talking about this earlier. Flashing yellow lights at an intersection, let's get this straight for everybody. They mean slow down and use caution. They do not mean stop at the intersection.

Scott Benjamin: Yes. So, if the power's gone out, and it's defaulted to one direction is flashing yellow, one direction is flashing red.

Ben Bowlin: One's flashing red, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: The one that's flashing yellow, everybody is supposed to continue through, but a lot of people treat that as a 4-way stop, and that kind of screws things up even worse because they've got it charted out that way for a reason. Sometimes, it's red and red, which they want it to be a 4-way stop. Other times, it's like we mentioned, red and yellow in another direction. It's usually the direction with the most traffic. That's what we had going on this morning, and there were some people going nuts in traffic, just super upset because no one seemed to understand that a flashing yellow means you continue through.

Ben Bowlin: Maybe we're just living in the wrong part of the world. Maybe everybody else in the US knows that except for -

Scott Benjamin: I don't know. I don't think so. I've seen that other times when power goes out in certain regions, and no one seems to understand how to operate that stop or that intersection.

Ben Bowlin: And in their defense, there is a nice mentality behind it, this live and let live.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: Let's make it a 4-way stop just to help these people stuck on that side.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. Yeah, because you know that they're gonna have an awful hard time getting out into traffic ever because no one's gonna give them a break. It's a continuous flow of traffic versus a light that was working allowing them to go left and right, so imagine trying to turn left across all that busy rush hour traffic.

Ben Bowlin: You're right. You're right. I should be more sympathetic. I'm just pointing out, man. Flashing yellow light, don't stop. You're supposed to go.

Scott Benjamin: That's right. Good point. My last two, and then we'll wrap it up here. These kind of go together, so I'm gonna read them both at the same time, okay?

Ben Bowlin: All right.

Scott Benjamin: All right. How about failure to yield right of way, like when you're turning left? You have a left turn arrow, and someone who's turning right - they've got a red light on the other side. They're turning right, and they cut right in front of you.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: You know what I mean? Yeah, okay, well then worse than that, probably, I would say - and this one goes with it, I think - is giving the right of way to another driver who does not have the right of way. So, when you're turning, and let's say that you're gonna turn left, and it's two green lights, right?

Ben Bowlin: Okay.

Scott Benjamin: And you're headed into an intersection. You're gonna turn left, and there's another car coming towards you, and they've got a green light, and they're gonna turn right. Now, they've got the right of way to turn right, and then you wait and kind of follow them through.

Ben Bowlin: Sure, because they have the light.

Scott Benjamin: Well, let's say that they're approaching, and they're just starting to make their turn, and you start to edge out a little bit, and they suddenly stamp on the brakes and motion you through and act like, "What are you doing?" but they give you the - they motion you through. It just causes more trouble than it's worth. You knew what was going on. They've kind of held things up there.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: So, you see what I mean about giving - and they're trying to be nice.

Ben Bowlin: They are.

Scott Benjamin: They're trying to be nice, so you've got to give them the credit for that.

Ben Bowlin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: But if you don't - it comes back to the rules. If you don't follow the rules, everything just kind of gets jammed up in there because now the whole rhythm is thrown off of the whole thing. You're doing the right thing. If they're doing the right thing, it will all work fine. If somebody kind of messes that up, it just kind of throws a wrench in.

Ben Bowlin: A traffic jam?

Scott Benjamin: It just throws a wrench in the gears. It causes trouble. I don't know. The rules are there for a reason. We sound like we're preaching to people or something here. We're not because we're guilty of a lot of this, really.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: I know I am. Not flagrant, not all the time, but the rolling stop? Sure, I occasionally do that. I speed a little bit now and then, that type of thing. But I don't turn on red when I'm not supposed to and things like that. Some people just do that because they just don't care, I think.

Ben Bowlin: I have a very excellent defense. Well, I think it's excellent. Maybe it's gonna let some people down, but the reason that we're hitting on this stuff, despite the fact that neither Scott nor myself are angels when it comes to this, is because a lot of people have heard that story about everything's interrelated, how if a butterfly in South Africa or in Peru flaps its wings, there will be a hurricane later. I don't know much about butterflies, and I'm not a meteorologist.

Scott Benjamin: They taste with their feet, Ben.

Ben Bowlin: They do?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: Weird.

Scott Benjamin: I know.

Ben Bowlin: Wow. At least, I'm not an expert in those things this week, but the logic there does actually hold true in a very, very real way for traffic because when that person who is giving you the right of way - when that person who's going right gives you the right of way on the left, and then someone taps their brakes behind them, someone taps their brakes behind them, the stops get larger.

Scott Benjamin: Sure. Domino effect.

Ben Bowlin: Right, exactly.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, the domino effect in traffic. That can last - when you're talking about a busy city that can last hours. That's the way highway backups last. When there's an accident on the road, people slow down for whatever reason for the initial accident or just to rubberneck, to gawk at the accident. That domino effect, if it's a continuous flow of traffic, that can last hours, and it can extend miles and miles just from someone tapping the brakes hours prior to that.

Ben Bowlin: And you know what? Maybe we feel like - because I feel a little preachy too, man.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I know. I feel a little awkward doing this because it's the do I say type thing, but honestly, like we said through the whole thing, we're guilty of some of these as well. We're just trying to let everybody know that there's a reason for the rules, and if you follow them, I guess everything kind of works itself out. If everybody's following the rules, everything works relatively smoothly. If someone breaks that chain, then there's a problem.

Ben Bowlin: And we'd also like to ask our listeners out here, you guys in the wide world of the internet, let us know. Did we forget? Is there a law that you feel like sometimes you're the only person that remembers this law, or is there something that you feel like if you obeyed it, it would be weird for you in traffic? Which could happen, like the speeding thing that we've talked about? I don't know, go ahead and hit us up on our Facebook, Car Stuff. Go ahead and hit us up on our Twitter. While you're there, check out the blog.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, sure. We've got the blog. We've got the website, which has got a ton of great automotive articles that you can peruse at your leisure. Also, we've got the - did you mention the blog?

Ben Bowlin: I did, yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, the Car Stuff blog.

Ben Bowlin: Yep, and we have an e-mail. Go ahead and send us an e-mail. We might read your letter on the air.

Scott Benjamin: There's probably a good chance. We haven't done a lot of listener e-mail recently, but we're gonna get back into it, I think.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, we're saving up, guys.

Scott Benjamin: That's right. Saving up. So, if you want to contact us, go ahead and do that. You can do that at -

Ben Bowlin: carstuff@howstuffworks.

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