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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Peeves that bind

What can unite caring drivers?  Driving peeves.  When I relayed some pet peeves of a retired Washington State Patrol Trooper earlier this month, reader feedback indicated that those peeves and others bind conscientious drivers together with a commonality.

Mostly, it seems to be thoughtful, caring drivers who have pet peeves regarding oblivious or inept drivers.  That makes me wonder what peeves bad drivers may have.  Do they, for example, bristle over those who DON’T continuously use the left lane of the roadway?  Or, do they simply enjoy blissful ignorance, without peeves?  I digress.

There’s a line somewhere between noting pet peeves and becoming outraged about them, however.  The latter is definitely a condition to avoid, so one does not engage in road rage.  I’ve often said that drivers can’t control the actions of others, but CAN control their reactions to those actions.  Remember to stay calm in observance of driving errors; you can vent to me, but avoid confronting perpetrators directly.

Reader-reported peeves this week run the gamut, starting with reader B.T. who wrote, “I believe fog lights do provide a limited benefit to drivers in dense fog conditions.  Therefore, I would encourage all drivers to use them when such conditions are encountered. However, I have a real problem with drivers who keep their fog lights on virtually continuously even though fog conditions are very seldom in play. Generally, having such lights on is not a problem for oncoming traffic during the day but at night some of these lights in clear conditions can make it difficult to see the road.  I suspect that many of these drivers are totally unaware their fog lights are even on as I know from personal experience that it does not help a driver’s night vision in clear conditions.”

That’s an example of a reasoned reaction to a peeve.  I am on B.T.’s side when it comes to frivolous use of fog lights. I have written of this bad, likely unconscious, habit in the past, but it’s evidently time for another reminder.  I think this driver error is borne of indifference; once the lights are turned on, few drivers actively check the switch upon subsequent drives.

Also, many fog lights have not been properly aimed, and point toward the eyes of oncoming drivers.  I think that there should be a legal requirement to shut them off for oncoming traffic, but I don’t write the laws.  At least such a law might remind offending drivers as to the location of the switch!

T.B. tires of seeing improper turns, writing, “The one that gets me almost daily is when people are making a left hand turn and don’t turn into the inside lane  (I also see the same with people making a right and turning into the inside rather than outside lane).  It is dangerous and hampers traffic.  If I am facing them and want to take a free right I have to proceed VERY carefully because it seems that NO ONE knows the rule of which lane they need to turn into.  AND if you follow them they usually change lanes back to the
one they were supposed to be in in the first place!  Crazy!!”

There’s another meritorious peeve reported reasonably.  It gripes me too when drivers make a “beeline” for the wrong lane after making their turns.  This is also topic I’ve written of and readers have reported in the past.  All I can say is that worthy messages bear repetition!

Certain roadway design can irk drivers too, as T.B points out, “Still driven crazy by the weird merge at 30th and Grand but thankfully now that my daughter is at LC and not Sac middle school I don’t have to experience it twice daily!”

I commiserate with T.B. over that lane narrowing on Grand Avenue.  Logic says that the right lane should end, but signage shows that the left one does.  Typically, drivers who don’t observe the sign stay in the left lane and thwart the merges of those complying with the sign.  I take a different route whenever I think of it in time.

Drivers, above all, remain calm.

Readers may contact Bill Love via email at