Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on Claycord.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This Claycord.com column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUTER: When you are driving, crossing the middle of an intersection with only stop signs (no lights) and suddenly a pedestrian comes to the crosswalk, do you stop in the middle of the intersection? Or do you just keep going because you could cause a car accident being backed up into the intersection?
I was driving on Mt. Diablo Street near the Concord BART when I was already in the intersection and a pedestrian was approaching, but I had already gone before he came. Thanks!
–Stop or not?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: SON, the Jammer checked with California Highway Patrol Sgt. Diana McDermott, who said, “You have the right of way because you’re in the middle of the intersection.” So, in other words, no, you don’t have to stop.
California’s Vehicle Code (section 21950, to be exact), specifies that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. However, that section also says that pedestrians still have a duty to use due care for their own safety. “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard,” the code reads.
COMMUTER: I recently moved to El Cerrito, and have noticed some unusual white markings painted on the pavement. It’s a set of eight or so triangles, or pyramids, stretching in a row across the street at certain intersections – the one near me is in the upper part of Moeser Lane, in the median. What is their purpose?
–Puzzled by Pyramid Power
TRAFFIC JAMMER: PPP, the markings you’re describing are colloquially known as “shark’s teeth,” because that’s what they look like. Their purpose is to tell motorists where to yield to pedestrians who are crossing in front of them. Often, they’re accompanied by a “Yield” sign.
Incidentally, these markings aren’t painted on the asphalt. They are thermoplastic material with glass beads. Also, these markings are in cities and towns all over the Bay Area – you probably didn’t notice them before because there wasn’t an intersection with shark’s teeth near you.
COMMUTER: I finally broke down and bought a Prius. It was expensive, and I’m not getting the gas mileage I expected. Any tips?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Disappointed, right off the bat, you should know that it takes a break-in period of around 10,000 miles to start seeing the big gas savings. So part of this may just be patience.
Otherwise, there is no Sekrit Special Hybrid Recipe for better mileage, according to HybridCars.com. For example, in a post dedicated to the Prius, HybridCars.com says, “Speed is your enemy.” This is the case with any car. Whether it’s a hybrid or not, the single most effective thing you can do to save gas is to slow down.
The difference between hybrids and regular cars is that the optimal gas-saving speed for a non-hybrid is 55 mph, while for a hybrid, it’s between 40 and 45 mph. Other tips mirror gas-saving tips for non-hybrids: Watch your tire pressure, avoid stop and go traffic, and so on.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by Claycord.com at 2pm for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.
Send your questions to email@example.com.