Debunking some common driving myths

I have always been amazed that people who have, supposedly, read the driver's handbook, taken and passed a written and driving exam, and been issued a license to operate a motor vehicle are still, nevertheless, inclined to believe the "Common Myths." As such, I write to set the record straight and enlighten those people.

Common Myth #1: The speed I can drive is directly proportional to the width of the roadway and/or the number of lanes in each direction. Truth: Uh, nope. The speed limit is equivalent to the numbers posted in black on the white signs entitled "Speed Limit." Always has been, always will be.

Common Myth #2: The octagonal red sign with the word "stop" is the equivalent of the triangular yellow sign with the word "yield." Truth: Now, just ask yourself ... would the state have bothered to create two different signs for the same purpose? If you did not answer "NO," go back to traffic school.

Common Myth #3: All drivers have telepathic capabilities to know where I'm heading so why should I signal? Truth: 99.999 percent of drivers have absolutely zero telepathic ability so you should signal " but more importantly, Nevada law requires that you signal.

Common Myth #4: If I travel at just 10 mph over the speed limit I'll make it to work on time. Truth: OK, so let's say that you work five miles from home and the speed limit is 35 mph all the way. Going 45 mph will save you less than two minutes but, really, not even that because the average traffic stop for speeding lasts 13.5 minutes so you'll actually arrive 11.5 minutes late to work.

Common Myth #5: Cutting off, blocking and/or running motorcycles off the road is worth 15 points. Truth: Sure, some motorcycle riders are total jerks who rarely, if ever, stay within the speed limit (why should they be any different from you?), but you are still supposed to pay attention to them as other vehicles on the road. This is especially important at this time of year. Look out for motorcycle riders " you can't afford the wrongful death lawsuit his/her survivors will file against you.

Common Myth #6: Signs indicating that slower traffic should keep right mean that everyone going slower than me should move over. Truth: Those signs are for vehicles that are traveling more slowly than the POSTED speed limit. You do not have the right to tailgate, honk, blink lights or blast around closely on the right just because you are exceeding the posted speed limit.

Common Myth #7: Many areas have "speed traps" especially set up to generate revenue. Truth: There is no such thing as a "speed trap," only lawfully posted speed limits that you, as a licensed driver, are expected to obey. (See #1 above). If you have a beef with the posted limit talk with someone who can do something about it, don't blame the other driver who is obeying the limit or the law enforcement officer who is enforcing it.

Common Myth #8: Cuz-i-wanna. Truth: Just because you want to act like you are the only vehicle on the road just doesn't make it so. Put your damned cell phone away or get a bluetooth. Put the makeup back in your purse and pay attention. Quit reading the newspaper on the seat next to you and look at the traffic. In other words, DRIVE, I'm very tired of you putting my life in jeopardy!

- Laura Grant is a Carson City resident.


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