We love to laugh at some of the archaic Oklahoma statutes that no lawmaker ever thought to remove from the state code. But few people laugh when you and I violate some clearly written laws about the proper use of our common roads with our massive machinery of transportation. Owning and operating a motorized vehicle is a very liberating part of western civilization. 100 years ago, most of us were more likely to own a horse than an automobile. But time and innovation have led to major changes in how we live and spend our govt. resources. And the rules for taking your personal transportation machinery onto the public roads have gotten necessarily complexed. If you can't comprehend and conform to these standards, you'll probably kill yourself or someone else; unless the law steps in and confiscates your wealth until either you feel the pain and conform, or confiscates your license to drive at all. Here are 6 traffic statutes you probably broke. No, Barney Fife may not have cited you for them, but the consequences are still deadly.
The 6 laws you broke and why you need to quit doing that.
1. What's My Lane? When turning at a big intersection, you jump into whatever lane(s) you feel like. Lawfully, you're required to enter the nearest lane, and then make the proper procedures to change lanes after you've left the intersection. It's designed so that another person who came from the other direction can make a turn into the same road and pull along side you, in the lane next to yours. In the 1970s we started seeing more designated turn lanes. They were a good thing, especially the left turn lanes. Unless the upcoming 4-lane intersection has a left turn lane, you can bet that the local traffic is moving to the outside lane.
2. Blinkers Optional. Especially in congested traffic, you'll see folks cut in front of you, causing your 44 oz. drink to flood the floorboard. Did they properly signal? Hex no! That would be self-defeating. It would have given you the advanced notice to accelerate and close the gap behind Jeff Gordon and the Andretti brothers. But even though the youth are worse about the lack of blinker usage, they seem to believe their grandparents make up for it by leaving the blinker on for a good 5 miles after they merged onto the interstate.
3. Lane Stripes Are Merely Suggestions. This is becoming an epidemic. It usually indicates distracted driving. Those white dashes in the pavement should never be driven on without the blinkers properly preceding the act. They are 6 inches of "no mans land" Not even the big truck mirrors should be invading the airspace above a white line. The paint is not a part of your lane. If you and your fellow driver in the next lane both claim that 6 inches of white, you'll both lose your mirrors and the judge will perhaps declare you both guilty of a lane violation. Solid painted lines are an indication that no passing is allowed.
4. Inside Lane Cruising. These are perhaps the most arrogant and self-righteous drivers in the state. They have relegated the outside lane to be the default passing lane in most urban arterial grids. Folks get into the inside lane and declare themselves the new vigilante of regressed traffic flow. Whatever speed they decide to drive is now mandated upon the whole society. Their tire size or pressure may be low, their speedometer may be off; but they know that you're evil for even thinking about getting somewhere sooner than they predestined for you. Even if you're rushing your baby to the hospital, too stink'n bad! You shoulda planned earlier in your day!
5. Tortoise Pulls onto Thoroughfare At Back-Alley Speed. This may be an efficient way to diagnose narcissism without a psychiatry degree. the driver fails to even imagine that anyone else on the road would ever drive faster than the speed he just drove, coming out of the back alley and directly onto the 45 mph arterial road. These people fail to accept that they need to fit into the flow of the existing traffic. Instead they ask whether the flow can fit into the abrupt drop from 45 mph, to 15 mph, in 2.3 seconds, regardless of wet, icy, or narrow pavement.
6. Crosswalk Frogger. The first computer game I bought for my 1985 Timex Sinclair PC, was a popular arcade game called Frogger. The player assumes the role of a common frog trying to hop across an interstate highway without getting squashed by the automobiles. The game gets progressively more difficult and eventually, every creature attempting to cross the road on foot, dies a horrible death. It's similar for our pedestrians who need to cross our surface streets. State law has a default right-of-way for pedestrians crossing at any street intersection, regardless of the presence of the painted stripes defining a crosswalk. Traffic lights and other stipulations can supercede the pedestrian right-of-way, but unless they are present and functioning, the foot traffic rules the intersection. That means that a 6-lane urban expressway with a prevailing speed of 50 miles per hour, can be halted legally by a child stepping into the road at the intersection to cross the road. Pedestrians rarely press their preeminence because the deadly results of a motorist failing to honor that right, is more than most sensible pedestrians will risk.