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


Motoring miscellany

I always appreciate reader input.  The comments and questions you send provide a real-world glimpse of items on drivers’ minds.  Here’s a sample of those communications.

A common query came in from L.H., who wrote, “What is the passing rule for passing a school bus on the many new two lane with a center lane.  For example, the Waikiki road out north.  Do both sides have to stop as in the normal law for both directions stopping for a stopped school bus?”

I’m not certain about Waikiki road, but one of the following passages from the Washington law, RCW 46.61.370, should be applicable:  (2) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway divided into separate roadways as provided in RCW 46.61.150 need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.  (3) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with three or more marked traffic lanes need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.

Provision (1) of that law specifies, of course, under most conditions:  The driver of a vehicle upon overtaking or meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a visual signal as specified in RCW 46.37.190 and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.

RCW 46.61.150 referenced in part (2) defines divided roadways:  Whenever any highway has been divided into two or more roadways by leaving an intervening space or by a physical barrier or clearly indicated dividing section or by a median island not less than eighteen inches wide formed either by solid yellow pavement markings or by a yellow crosshatching between two solid yellow lines so installed as to control vehicular traffic, every vehicle shall be driven only upon the right-hand roadway unless directed or permitted to use another roadway by official traffic-control devices or police officers.

An observance by J.R provides a good reminder to check vehicle lighting.  He commented, “I have lived in many towns in both the U.S. and Europe, and I have never witnessed an entire County like Spokane, with so many autos having:  headlights, stop lights, tail lights, day lights and even back-up lights BURNT OUT!  And I would very much like your input.”

I don’t know if this condition is due to an abundance of bumpy roads, vehicle-owner neglect, of both, but I have noticed it too.  Take a walk-around check of your lights — they are a big aid to seeing and being seen, especially during winter conditions.

J.S. added punctuation to my column aimed at curbing road rage by opining, “Good and timely article on curbing road rage. I am still shaken by the tragic murder in Idaho which allegedly began as a road rage incident. Unbelievable! Anyway, I always enjoy your column. I wish everyone would read today’s.”

Learn to stave off escalating anger.  Try to avoid the “short fuse” that can develop from the added stress of holidays, winter driving and the election.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at