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Madison driving peeves

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Petro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:16 pm

I've taken to just calling them "Amber Lamps" in the wake of the widely publicized public transit beatdown of 2010.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:32 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Why do these even exist anymore?

So you can drive through Holiday Fantasy in Lights.

Well ok, likely more so you can mark your car by the side of the road without the high-battery-drain of headlights.

Fun fact: I can't turn my daytime running lights off while the car's in motion, so I use that excuse to avoid the Fantasy.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:18 pm

ilikebeans wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Why do these even exist anymore?
...so you can mark your car by the side of the road without the high-battery-drain of headlights.

Isn't that what hazards are for?
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Ducatista » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:18 pm

shyguy wrote:After coming under Monona Terrace, when approaching the intersection of Willy/Wilson as John Nolen Drive turns into Blair - near the Essenhaus to the left and Sardine to the right - there is a right turn lane for traffic turning from Nolen into Willy. I've now seen several times cars avoid the "backed up" right turn que, proceed directly to the intersection, and then hang their right turn "around" the right turn island to head into Willy and gain a few cars. WTF?

Whoa, that is a new one. Or new-ish, anyway. I walked the south side of that intersection twice a day for nearly 10 years, never saw it once. Sounds monumentally stupid.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:32 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
ilikebeans wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Why do these even exist anymore?
...so you can mark your car by the side of the road without the high-battery-drain of headlights.

Isn't that what hazards are for?

I guess. I still maintain that they're useful in rare events (like Fantasy) where you're slowly moving at night and full headlights would be annoying.

The Car Talk guys recently tackled this question.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:58 pm

ilikebeans wrote:The Car Talk guys recently tackled this question.

Awesome. Thanks.

I agree they serve as backup in case a headlight burns out, but that doesn't explain why they still need to function independently. I've never driven through Fantasy, but I can't imagine headlights vs. parking lights makes much difference as far as being able to view the thing. Certainly, parking lights are less annoying to the guy in front of you, but Christmas light displays seem like a pretty goofy reason to continue allowing something which is (ever-so-slightly, I admit) hazardous during the (ever-decreasing) parts of the year when it ain't Christmas. But that has nothing to do with folks who actively use their parking lights under normal driving conditions (barring the occasional error) -- and that's what I find so baffling.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:59 pm

I've had my truck for over 3 years and I just recently discovered that it had smaller lights below the headlights (fog lights?). I'd just never noticed them. You have to pull out the headlight knob and turn to turn them on. Are these what you're talking about or do you mean the orange/red lights?

Just asking this question takes me out of the running for an Errol Morris Miller High Life commercial, doesn't it?
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:50 pm

Cars have had "fog lights" since at least 1962 when I took my driving exam, and in most cars they turn on exactly as described. If you ever tried driving in pea soup fog using your regular headlights you know why extra little lights mounted lower make sense, since fog is really reflective.

In reality, I think most people don't use them much.

They aren't the same as hazard lights (which I call four-ways and other people call flashers). Those are always marked by a fancy triangle on the switch, which is usually on the dashboard.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Ducatista » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Hey, downtown drivers. Let's say you're pulling up to a red light at the Baldwin/E Wash intersection, heading south on Baldwin toward Willy Street. You're the first person at the light, and you plan to go straight through the intersection toward Willy once you've got the green. Which of the two unmarked southbound lanes do you pull into as you wait for the light?
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby fennel » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:42 pm

Ducatista wrote:Hey, downtown drivers. Let's say you're pulling up to a red light at the Baldwin/E Wash intersection, heading south on Baldwin toward Willy Street. You're the first person at the light, and you plan to go straight through the intersection toward Willy once you've got the green. Which of the two unmarked southbound lanes do you pull into as you wait for the light?
I think that would depend on whether there is anyone ahead of you, whether they're signalling, and which direction they're signalling. In the absence of other cars, I would guess the left lane.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:52 pm

Ducatista wrote:Hey, downtown drivers. Let's say you're pulling up to a red light at the Baldwin/E Wash intersection, heading south on Baldwin toward Willy Street. You're the first person at the light, and you plan to go straight through the intersection toward Willy once you've got the green. Which of the two unmarked southbound lanes do you pull into as you wait for the light?


In the absense of cars I always choose the left lane in an unmarked situation. I mainly do this as a courtesy to any car that is coming up behind me and is planning a right turn. This way they can turn on red and not have me blocking their way.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:53 pm

I would say the right lane, as traffic going straight and turning right can travel unimpeded (oncoming traffic turning left must yield). Left land should be left turn only, as that traffic will have to yield to oncoming traffic going straight.

But yeah, some signage would help. Contact your alder! (Maniaci on the north side of that intersection, Rummel on the south.)
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Ducatista » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:43 pm

fennel wrote:I think that would depend on whether there is anyone ahead of you, whether they're signalling, and which direction they're signalling. In the absence of other cars, I would guess the left lane.

Yup, that's why I specified first person at the light.

In which case I usually choose left... but then it's not uncommon for one or more left-turners to queue up behind me, and if that happens, the next straight-crosser to show up generally chooses the right lane so as not to get held up behind the lefties. And even if there aren't left turners behind me, I've had people pull up beside me in the right lane to go straight, probably thinking I must be turning left but haven't signaled. Either way, now I'm in competition with the person next to me for the single southbound lane on the other side of Baldwin. Only I can't be sure of that, because that person could be turning right, but of course I can't see their signal.

Eh, whatever. If I'm going straight in that left lane and there's somebody in the right, I always punch it to get across first. Still, the ambiguity bugs me.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby Ducatista » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:45 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:I would say the right lane, as traffic going straight and turning right can travel unimpeded (oncoming traffic turning left must yield).

Sure, when the light's green. But if the light's red and I'm going straight in the right lane, I might be holding up someone who could turn right on red.
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Re: Madison driving peeves

Postby fennel » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:53 pm

Ducatista wrote:Yup, that's why I specified first person at the light.

In which case I usually choose left... but then it's not uncommon for one or more left-turners to queue up behind me, and if that happens, the next straight-crosser to show up generally chooses the right lane so as not to get held up behind the lefties. And even if there aren't left turners behind me, I've had people pull up beside me in the right lane to go straight, probably thinking I must be turning left but haven't signaled. ...
Yes, sorry.
I'd say you've got it right. I can imagine myself taking advantage of the right lane to go straight, but I would defer to anyone in the left lane before merging left.
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