Monday, September 20, 2010

759 Give Us a Hint

759 Give Us a Hint

Hey, drivers! You know that little lever just beyond the steering wheel? Check it out. It's there in easy reach. You know where the wheel is, of course. And the various gauges, and the shift lever, the radio/cd/mp3 player, the GPS receiver, the heat, the air conditioning, the fan, the phone. You know where the brake is, and the accelerator. The rear view camera, maybe even the windshield wiper control. But what about the directional signal?

Until Ford or someone comes up with a mind reading transceiver to go along with that GPS thingy and all the other electronics on modern cars, you still have to tell the folks in back of you that you intend to make a turn or a lane change. For that, you have two primitive devices, your left arm and your directional signal. Anyone remember hand signals? Straight out the window for left, up for right and down for stopping. Or, so you don't have to trouble yourself to open the window, you can flip that little lever on the steering column to signal either direction. It doesn't take much energy. Less than pushing "scan" on the radio or twisting the temperature knob for up or down. WAY simpler than texting at 65 mph.

Signaling a lane change on the highway is the law. When was the last time anyone was busted for not doing that? The cops don't need speed traps, all they have to do is ride around with their eyes open and fill those coffers with signal fines.

This no signal trend started in (naturally) California. But most Californians are of, shall we say, limited consciousness. The trend has spread in all directions. Bus drivers still signal. Taxi drivers may. The drivers of 18 wheelers usually do it. Everyone else? It's iffy, leaning to non-existent.

So what's the big deal? Wait until some guy in a Porsche cuts you off at speed or some guy in a "Smart-for-Two" makes a New York taxi turn, left from the right lane or right from the left lane.

Maybe it's too much to remember. After all, you have the phone, the Blackberry, the heater, the air conditioner, the mp3 player, the accelerator, the steering wheel and the brake peddle to worry about. They used to tell us "use the signal even when there are no other cars around." Why? Habit, and "just in case" there's someone out there you DON'T see but who sees you.

How tough is that?


--Well, glory be! Chase has gotten around to sending letters of apology to the nearly 2 million people affected by the internet outage last week. But the e-mail starts off by saying "if you have recently cancelled your... account, please disregard this message."

--WABC, the New York radio station, plans an on the air tribute to right wing talk pioneer Bob Grant, 81. This is the station that fired him twice and hired him three times, most recently for a brief weekend program. Grant's been at the radio game for more than 60 years and even if you disagree with his virulent, strident miserable opinions, he deserves a steady paycheck (which, apparently he'd still like to have) more than an audio version of a gold watch.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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