The World of Grandpa Don

The Wide White Line

The wide white line is there for a reason. A determination is made by roadway engineers and the line is placed in an optimum location for the control of traffic and the convenience of motorists. Stopping your vehicle with it's front bumper at the line is not only in conformity with the law but it is an opportunity to show kindness to your fellow motorists and the occasional pedestrian.

The first consideration is to approach it at a reasonable rate of speed. If you approach too fast, drivers on the cross street  (and the occasional pedestrian) may think you do not intend to stop. If you go too slowly you may delay the activation of automatic signals or prevent cars behind you from entering a turn lane in time to take advantage to make a legal turn. 

The second consideration is that at an intersection that does not have lane markers but there is room for two lanes, pick a lane consistent with the direction you wish to go and leave room for another vehicle alongside of you. If you are not going to make a right turn, stay to the left. This is true even if there are no other cars visible behind you. You may be there long enough for one to arrive.

The next consideration is that if you stop beyond the line, your vehicle, especially if it is a van or truck, may block the sight lines of a driver who could possible make a right turn. You may also block the path of that occasional pedestrian. You may not see any vehicles approaching behind you as you arrive but you may be there long enough for one to arrive.  Always anticipate the possibility. You are also, of course in danger of being too close to cross traffic. There is very seldom a case where it is necessary to creep past the line to see cross traffic, but if that happens be particularly aware of other cars and how your action effects them.

A final consideration is in stopping too far back from the line. At some intersections, traffic signals are triggered by sensors that are under the pavement. A car standing too far back may not cause the signal to change to green. I witnessed a case where a long line of cars waited until a driver got out of his car to walk up and ask the driver in front to please move up to the white line. When we stop too far back or leave too much space between cars, other motorists are sometimes prevented from entering turn lanes.

When driving, there are many opportunities to be "more kind than you need to be". For some reason, perfectly normal, rational persons tend to become irrational when behind the wheel. Try not to be one of them. And, it doesn't hurt to soothe your fellow motorists by respecting the law and being considerate. Do your bit to prevent road rage.

Don Plefka



Be More Kind than You Need to Be ...

You are invited to perform acts of kindness whenever the opportunity presents itself. Help to make this world a better place. Some examples are recorded on this page. I will add to them as they are brought to mind


The Wide White Line

The World of Grandpa Don 

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