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: I visited a friend in a town near Yosemite recently and to my dismay, my GPS unit didn’t work. To make matters worse, my cell phone didn’t work either so I couldn’t call her and ask for directions. Next time I visit, I’ll print out Mapquest directions in advance, but I’m worried that I’ll get a ticket if I hold the paper in my hand when I drive.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Don’t worry, Dis, you can legally read printed directions or a map as you drive, just as long as you keep your attention on the road. If you get lost, though, do get off the freeway to study the directions or map.
Incidentally, the Jammer was surprised that you would choose Mapquest, because she has long assumed Google Maps are best. However, Dis, your post led me to check Mapquest out and it actually does seem to give superior directions in some ways – “Take the first right,” for example, and the like.
COMMUTER: They’re repairing the highway between my house and my job right now, though the work seems to only be going on at night. The posted signs say, “Construction zone. Fines doubled for speeding,” or some such. Does this mean I have to drive 55 even during the daytime when the construction isn’t going on?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: In a word, Puzzled: Yes. The speed limit in posted construction zones is always in place, regardless of whether work is actively being done or not. As you know all too well, K-rail (those weird-looking long concrete blocks) is often in place, narrowing the roadway; lane changes can get funky; and this all means you need to slow down, even if there aren’t any workers on the job.
COMMUTER: I waited way too long to deal with a screw-up on my registration and I’m dreading calling the Department of Motor Vehicles and being kept on hold for, like, 15 hours. Any advice?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Be of good cheer, Claycord Mom. First of all, you deserve a pat on the back for being proactive and taking steps to remedy the problem. Sounds like you haven’t dealt with the DMV in quite a while; these days when you call, there’s a callback option. A recording comes on and gives callers the option to leave their name and number for a return call.
If you do this, usually they actually do call back pretty fast, at least in my experience. (Technically, the DMV promises between 20 and 90 minutes.)
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.