Traffic an issue in north county
June 1, 2016
In this episode of the Johnson Lane Journal I would like to discuss vehicle safety. First off in the interest of full disclosure let me say that I am not the world's best driver. I do not think I am the worst either. But I am possessed by a demon in my lower right foot that acts like a magnet to the floorboard of the vehicle and the accelerator just happens to be in the way. As I age, I am finding it easier to overcome that demon and be a better driver but I do think I have contributed a great deal of funds to Douglas County.
Let's talk about entering and exiting our wonderful neighborhood. If your heading north and turning right onto Johnson Lane it is a pretty easy right turn. Albeit, you certainly have to be careful to yield if the south left turn light is green. However, entering Stephanie Lane heading south can be somewhat challenging. Recently, there was what I would call an epic discussion on Facebook about drivers who stay in the left lane from Topsy Lane all the way to the Stephanie turn all while going 60 mph. That particular driving tactic is upsetting to most drivers since the sign does say to stay right unless passing.
That turning lane is specifically titled a deceleration lane and the DMV handbook states you should maintain the speed limit until you enter that lane and then slow to a stop at the light. It also states that you should maneuver to the left lane at least 1 mile if not more in order to prepare for the turn. If you have ever tried to get in the left lane during rush hour you know this can be difficult as many times drivers are tailgating others and can be at times just rude about letting you over. Plus, when that deceleration lane fills up at rush hour you have a very limited distance to slow down.
When exiting either Johnson Lane or Stephanie you have acceleration lanes. Emphasis on acceleration. I understand it can be very intimidating when drivers do not move to the proper lane while you are trying to enter the highway. Again the handbook advises to turn on your blinker (yes you have one) and accelerate to merge safely into the traffic lane. It also states do not stop, unless absolutely necessary. If you stop in the acceleration lane you exponentially increase your chances of an accident. If you don't feel safe I would suggest you move out of the travel lane completely until you feel it is safe for you to enter the lane.
Drivers will each have their own viewpoint on the situation and some may take unnecessary risks while others are overly cautious. I am not here to preach to you like your high school driving instructor. I would just like to point out that we all (Yes, including me) need to exercise patience while driving. Let's be considerate of others and treat each other like we would like to be treated. Tailgating is never a good idea as it makes you and the driver in front of you anxious and concerned. It is best to just slow down and look for your opportunity to move around the slower traffic.
One last topic. In our rural area the speed limit is 25 on all roads except Johnson Lane with some minor exceptions on Stephanie. There are no crosswalks, bike lanes or horse lanes. You will encounter a wide variety of residents either out on their ATV, dirt bike, walking dogs or riding their horses. Please be aware that horses can spook easily. Be wise and slow down. Give the other party a wide berth when passing them.
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This is our home, let's respect each other and enjoy this wonderful community. Life is too short to worry about that extra 30 seconds it took to get here.
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John Hefner is a Johnson Lane resident.