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 email@example.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: A wop bop a loo bop a wop sham boom! The Jammer would like to thank the smart Claycordians who responded to last week’s quiz in the twinkling of an eye and two shakes of a lamb’s tail (but without breaking the speed limit). Seven readers correctly identified June 30, 1953 as the date the first Corvette was completed.
Rick Calicura (via email) and JWB (via the comments section) tied for first place! Congratulations, beloved Claycordians.
Kristi, MotorCop, Margie Rideout, Lyle Burks and Stacy Chamness all got the answer right, adding such interesting details as the fact that that first Corvette was built at a General Motors facility in Flint, Michigan (thanks, Stacy). Good job, all of you!
Stay tuned for the next quiz. Claycordians should start taking their vitamins right now to prepare, because it’s going to be a doozy. Not to scare you or anything, bwahahahahaha….
COMMUTER: I finally caved and got a FasTrak thingy, but I do not want to put it on my windshield because it is ugly, plus I am mechanically impaired and can’t figure out how to get it on with the Velcro strips. Can’t I just keep it on my dashboard? Will it still work?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Here’s what I recommend, BC: Take off the backing on the Velcro strips and press the strips against the inside of your windshield behind the rear-view mirror. Bam! Done! Not so hard, eh? Now you never have to worry about it again.
To answer your question about keeping it on the dashboard: It does happen to be true that the FasTrak tag will work on the dashboard. Why not just leave it there? Because every time you take a fast turn, the tag will slide across the dash, distracting you, and quite possibly fall on the floor, which is inconvenient.
So, can you keep it in the glove compartment and whip it out as you approach the toll plaza? Well, actually, yes on that one too. If you must, keep it in the glove box and take it out three or four car lengths before you get to the toll plaza and hold it up in front of you above your head and next to the windshield as you approach. You’ll probably get so tired of doing this that you’ll soon attach it to the windshield anyway.
BTW, whenever anybody writes in about FasTrak, the Jammer’s heart soars like a Studebaker Hawk. This is because one of the funniest videos on record was made when the transponders first came out. Some of the information is outdated, so it should be enjoyed solely for fun.
COMMUTER: My neighbor is getting up in years and his driving is becoming erratic. He has complained to me about getting tickets, and I’ve seen him run up on curbs when parking and make other mistakes. I’m worried, not just about him, but about others on the road with him.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Good on you for wanting to help your neighbor, CN. It sounds as though you have been neighbors for a long time and he trusts you. Maybe he mentioned those tickets as an indirect way of asking for help.
There are many options available for senior drivers who want to stay on the road but are having difficulties. AAA has classes specifically for older drivers, and a trip to the doctor’s office is not a bad idea either. He might need a stronger glasses prescription. Perhaps the first and best line of defense is the Department of Motor Vehicles Senior Ombudsman Program.
The entire purpose of the program is to help older drivers retain driving privileges as long as they can do so safely. Why not give them a call, CN? The number for Sacramento/Northern California is (916) 657-6464. They will have good suggestions for you.
More information about senior driving issues is available on the Department of Motor Vehicles senior page.
COMMUTER: When is it OK to make a U-turn?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Confused, we’ve talked about U-turns before and you are wise to ask your question. This is one area that seems simple at first but then turns out to be more complicated.
In general, in California it is legal to make a U-turn unless there are signs prohibiting it. Or, to quote the Vehicle Code, “A driver facing a circular green signal shall proceed straight through or turn right or left or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn.”
And now, here come the exceptions! Hey, hey, we’re the exceptions … people say we’re funky and strange; but we can get you busted, so obey us until we change. (Sung to the tune of “The Monkees,” with my apologies to Gen X, Y and Zers who are staring at the screen even more confused than when they started reading.)
Ahem. Anyway, beloved Claycordians, let’s start out with the most confusing part and get this out of the way. If you are in a business district, you can only make a U-turn at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided. No U-turns across double yellow lines in a business district.
That’s the first exception. Here’s the second: No matter where you are, if there is a two-way left-turn lane, you have to make your U-turn from that lane and no other. (Vehicle Code 21460.5).
The Jammer ran this answer by her ever-helpful police officer and he gave it the green light (so to speak), adding the excerpt below from the California Driver’s Handbook. Special thanks to our Claycordian officer, who was up late working the Fourth of July shift but stayed up even later to help with this question.
Never make a U-turn:
- At or on a railroad crossing.
- On a divided highway by crossing a dividing section, curb, strip of land, or two sets of double yellow lines.
- Where you cannot see clearly 200 feet in each direction.
- Where a “No U-Turn” sign is posted.
- When other vehicles may hit you.
- On a one-way street.
- In front of a fire station. Never use a fire station driveway to turn your vehicle around.
- In business districts. Areas with churches, apartments, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings (except schools) are also considered to be business districts.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.