Stay In Your Own Lane!

Laned RoadwayPart of the road near where I live has a set of winding curves on a steep grade. I seldom drive this stretch of roadway without encountering an oncoming vehicle part way into my lane over the double solid yellow line. There is no reason for this that I can see except that the other driver is either careless or incapable. The lanes are standard width and you are able to see oncoming traffic without difficulty if you look ahead.

This tendency to straighten out the curves by drivers is highlighted by the condition of the lines before they are repainted each year. The part of the line, center or shoulder, on the inside of the curve has in some cases been completely worn away by the tires passing over it. I think that it is fair to say that it takes many sets of tires rolling in the wrong place to erase lane markings.

It seems pretty obvious that failing to stay between the lines is not a good thing for any driver to get into the habit of. There is likely to be other traffic, either beside us or oncoming in the left lane. Ditto for the right lane or shoulder. Yes, the shoulder. This is where you will find cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, if there is no shoulder, you will find cyclists and pedestrians using the edge of the roadway and they are entitled to be there.

As a driver, your aim (pun intended) is to maintain a proper lane position at all times. It's implicit in our highway system because we all share the same sheet of pavement or stretch of gravel. When we don't, we risk running into each other. You are not being overly cautious, you are fitting into a system where safety dictates that we all manage space around us properly to avoid collisions.

This concept also applies even when there are no lines on the highway at all! Our Motor Vehicle Act discusses staying on your half of the roadway before it sets out the rules for roads with lines painted on them.

You might be thinking of interrupting me at this point and suggesting that it doesn't matter when no one else is around. Odd, but I've had many drivers say that to me when I was asking for their autograph on a violation ticket. If no one else was around them, how could I be there? The point that I want to make by saying this is that if you do it right all the time, you will probably have a better outcome when you fail to see or allow for the presence of another road user.

So, what's the best way to confine the path of your vehicle to where it is supposted to go? That will depend on what you are driving and how you choose reference points on your vehicle to guide you. When your vehicle is correctly positioned you will need to know it's limits on all four sides, so choose wisely. Now, keep your eyes up and look ahead, your vehicle should follow your line of vision and you will know it.

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Comments

Submitted by E-Mail

This could have been written by me because my experience is exactly the same. The other observation I have is that many drivers swing to the right before making a left turn and to the left before making a right turn. You would think they were driving huge tractor-trailer units instead of small vehicles.

Great point!

Driving in a straight line is over-rated and boring. All the extra curves and slight turns make up for an otherwise boring trip.

Several studies out of the big empty places like Australia suggest that additional curves and bends keep drivers engaged and attentive for the 12-14 hour trips, where if the road was instead dead straight - the dozing-off / highway hypnosis results in awful head-on crashes.

I find lots of people do not take a turn/curve/bend properly - most start from the wrong position and start their turn-ins too soon. Starting early is especially dangerous on left turns - because your vehicle will end up clipping a part of the on-coming lane and/or a vehicle that maybe there.

I enjoy all the little curves in my driving and make a point to locate the turn-in and the apex for each its what keeps me engaged on the road.

Roadway design may be a problem

I agree with you that drivers need to keep their vehicle between the painted lines on the roadway.  However, the fact that so many drivers have driven over a double solid yellow line indicates to me that part of the problem is the design of the roadway near your home.

In 2014 ICBC invested $7.7 million in road improvement projects and studies in BC.  ICBC suggests that anyone who has a suggestion for improving a road or intersection contact their local government or ICBC.  See www.icbc.com/road-safety/community/Pages/Investing-in-road-improvements.... Also, consider notifying your local MLA.

It is best to raise and document your concerns to those who can make changes before a head-on accident occurs.

 

Possibly, But Not Here

The particular hill I am speaking of was rebuilt not all that long ago. Within what was possible, the grade was sigificantly reduced, the curvature was reduced and concrete guard rail was installed. The drivers I am seeing most likely can't be bothered and are partly driven by a desire not to slow down. It is navigable at the posted limit of 50 km/h, but as it is a rural road, few obey the limit. The posted advisory speed is 30 km/h.

I don't have any trouble staying in my lane, but I'm trying.

I live near a sharp blind

I live near a sharp blind corner, and my experience is exactly the same.  As I enter the corner I often encounter someone coming the other way and halfway into my lane.  They looked shocked, as if I shouldn't be there.

You should post a Google Earth Street View, Tim ...

Then we could all come visit you!

So, what's the best way to confine the path of your vehicle to where it is supposed to go? That will depend on what you are driving and how you choose reference points on your vehicle to guide you. When your vehicle is correctly positioned you will need to know it's limits on all four sides, so choose wisely. Now, keep your eyes up and look ahead, your vehicle should follow your line of vision and you will know it.

This is key, and a fundamental aspect of training someone to drive.  But it's often missed, even by professional Driving Instructors; and the majority of new drivers never take any kind of formal driver education.

A driver can only place his/her vehicle on the roadway properly if he/she understands the size of the blind zone - not to be confused with the blind spots, this blind zone is the road surface area around the vehicle that cannot be seen from behind the wheel.  Typically, and dependent on both the height of the driver and the type of car, it will extend about a full vehicle length ahead of the front bumper, a full vehicle width to the left side, at least two vehicle widths to the right side, and easily three vehicle lengths or more behind the back bumper.

If a driver doesn't understand this massive area that surrounds them, and therefore the necessity to aim high at the centre of the lane where they want to put the vehicle, they will resort to driving by avoidance.  You see this all the time; avoiding parked cars (so they move left in their lane), avoiding centre barriers (so they move right in their lane), or this example from an earlier post:

The other observation I have is that many drivers swing to the right before making a left turn and to the left before making a right turn. You would think they were driving huge tractor-trailer units instead of small vehicles.

These days, I spend most of my time working with drivers who are already experienced behind the wheel.  And because I'm an analyst, I can quickly identify these behaviours, which is crucial to correcting them; it's remarkable how many drivers don't actually know how far they are from the stop line in front of them, or how far they may have proceeded into an intersection; they're not stupid, they're ignorant - nobody ever taught them these fundamentals.  Any fool can say 'you did that wrong', but it takes a good instructor to explain why they got it wrong, and how to fix it.

I live near a sharp blind corner, and my experience is exactly the same.  As I enter the corner I often encounter someone coming the other way and halfway into my lane.  They looked shocked, as if I shouldn't be there.

Nuts, isn't it?  Drivers need to understand that because driving is necessarily about movement, you can't ever change where you is; you can only change where you will be.  This, along with the need to comprehend that, generally, we don't collide with what we have seen but with what we didn't see, notice, look for, or anticipate.

The ones that bug me are the oncoming drivers who, when confronted with a stationary obstacle on their side of the road, seem to think it's OK to cross the centre line to go around it, even though that puts them on my side of the road and forces me to brake in order to accommodate their decision to steer instead of stop.  I'm not an aggressive guy, but I must admit I prefer driving my big white Econoline instead of my wife's Accord in these situations; they tend to think twice when confronted with a dominant vehicle.  Sometimes, I really miss my Mack, you know?

It's On This Curve

Stay in your own lane

I also live near a curve in the road but the only thing blind about it is a portion of the driving population.  There is a reasonably clear view for a block or two through the curve, but many drivers, focused on  accelerating through the curve, in anticipation of a speed zone change a half block later, cut across the centreline in the process and many seem surprised to find "you are crowding them".

Interestingly, it is the same intersection that I posted comments about a couple of years ago regarding unmarked crosswalks.  

The main reason for this post, however, is the very common and dangerous practice of making left turns into the oncoming traffic lane of the street being entered.  Many drivers, in haste to beat oncoming traffic, rush into the cross street in the wrong lane and at sufficient speed to potentially result in a serious head-on accident or the need to swerve right into an unseen bicycle or pedestrian.  Even when there are vehicles visibly stopped at intersections, a high percentage of drivers cut the corners on their left turns.  It is a wonder that there are not a lot more collision s as a result.

Submitted by E-Mail

Guilty.

If I am in the middle of nowhere and there is visibility far past the curve on the road, I prefer not to wear out my brakes and I choose to increase my fuel economy. I've also learned to drive on a track, as well as taken crash avoidance courses, so my driving lines are not always (in fact freqently not, when I am on isolated stretches of highway) the same as those painted by MOT workers.

Not advocating, just sayin'.

A MINOR POINT

IT IS VERY NICE TO DO EVERYTHING BY THE BOOK, HOWEVER WHEN I GO AROUND A CORNER AND 9 OF 10 VEHICLES COMING THE OPOSITE DIRECTION ARE PARTIALLY IN MY LANE, PRUDENCE AND COMMON SENSE TELL ME TO GIVE THEM SOME ROOM. STAYING ALIVE AND ACCIDENT FREE ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN A RIGID ADHERANCE TO THE RULES--DEAD RIGHT!~ DOES NOT CUT IT, SORRY.

  I know a few hardasses who insist on their lane rights, given the choice, I will not ride with them and if following them, I allow extra space because they are as much of a hazard as the offending drivers .

 I consider that as bad as tailgating-very poor judgment,

I equate staying in your lane

I equate staying in your lane the same as signaling that you are going to turn. For some strange reason some drivers feel it is only necessary to do either one when there is another vehicle on the road. In my mind it is a safety consideration. If you learn the proper procedure you do it automatically you do not have to think about it. I am not saying that you do not have to be cognizant of what is going on about you but you should not make it part of your driving only when others are there. When it is an automatic procedure there is no concern that you are going to miss that other vehicle. You are prepared no matter what.

When you are use to positioning your vehicle correctly it becomes something you just automatically do. So when you meet that other driver that is intent on using a portion of your lane it is a minor annoyance but a minor change in your position avoids the accident. But if the other driver and you are both tracking into each others lane then it becomes a major concern that could result in an accident as both of you have to make a major correction to your position on the road.

As my Dad always told me there is no such thing as an accident, you screwed up. The point is be prepared for the unexpected.

 

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