Does ANYONE in this town signal ?

In general, it has to be said that driving here in Las Vegas is a much more pleasant experience than it was back at home in London. As I have already mentioned in another article – Britain is a very crowded island without the road capacity that is really needed for an ever burgeoning group of automobile owners. This makes drivers irritable, and they drive in a manner that is anything but relaxed.

Here in Southern Nevada we have wide roads, and although traffic volumes are definitely on the rise – they are nothing compared to trying to work your way through Central London. In fact I get just a little annoyed when I hear people complain loudly about the “traffic problems” here in the valley…. Sure there are more cars on the road than there were, but nothing like the systemic gridlock you often get on London’s beltway – the infamous M25 – or even the 405 to the west of LA.

In general drivers in the States are quite courteous compared to their European brethren – though a friend once suggested that this might have something to do with not knowing whether a fellow driver had a gun secreted within their glove-box ! Navigation here is so easy compared to back at home, and driving in general is not quite such a stressful pastime.

You also have the problem that in Britain, unlike here, you HAVE to drive aggressively at times. If you didn’t, and encountered a busy roundabout during the rush hour, you would never actually get on to it !

The one thing that DOES drive me mad here however is the huge number of drivers who just totally fail to signal when turning at a junction – there must be something in the water…. I can’t tell you how many times I have been behind a car waiting at a traffic signal when without warning they peel off to the right… Perhaps they just feel that they don’t NEED to signal, but as I will explain – they are wrong.

I learned to drive in England so I can’t speak for American driving schools, and to what extent they teach the need to use turn signals – perhaps the fact that a lot of kids are initially taught to drive by parents who have long ago fallen into bad habits has something to do with it ?

I am not just being a curmudgeonly and grumpy person here – there is good reason for my annoyance… I cycle a lot here, whenever the weather and distance to go allows me in fact and we DO rely very much on cars around us clearly signalling their intentions. When cycling along a busy road I will of course be hugging the kerb wherever possible. Sooner or later we will arrive at a junction controlled by traffic signals. Whilst waiting at the intersection when the light is red, I really do need to know whether the car adjacent to me or immediately behind me intends to turn right. I have been cut up once too often for my comfort – especially by pickup truck drivers who seem to have a pathological hatred of cyclists.

Another thing that drives me crazy – though I have to say we get this back in England as well – is slow overtaking trucks…. This is typically where you are on a freeway of some kind with only two lanes each side of the median. You are in the faster left hand lane when you notice two trucks in the right land that seem to be following each other. All of a sudden the one behind get a bee in his bonnet that he would like to be in front of his companion and so suddenly pulls out into your lane ahead of you and then proceeds to advance on the other truck at the rate of one inch per minute.

My scream can be heard for miles….

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