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4.3.17

An Open Letter to Ohio Drivers

Dear Ohio Drivers (or more specifically, Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky Drivers),

Since moving to the state of Ohio JC and I have had a steep learning curve due to the local cultural idiosyncrasies. (whoever said that all states in the US were made the same?) And while we've managed to adjust, there is one area that still concerns us. But I don't think that concern is unjustified. We commute on I75 everyday. There are accidents, everyday. It's March and there have already been over 200 accidents. Seriously, not cool guys. So, here is an incomplete list (in no particular order) of our grievances.

1. Speed Limits - while speed limits are generally accepted as "enforced" suggestions and not a hard rule there are still do's and don'ts.
Do: Go within ten mph of the speed limit if conditions permit (weather or traffic)
Don't: Go 75 in a 40 mph construction zone

2. Rain - water on the road can cause hydroplaning (loss of control)
Do: Be attentive (read: stay off of your phone), especially to the cars around you and to any spots on the road where water has collected. Keep your hands loose on the wheel and don't be heavy with the break.
Don't: Slow down to 20 mph on the interstate with your emergency lights on. If you insist on doing this, move over to the right lane and don't stay in the middle of the interstate. You are a hazard to other drivers that actually know how to drive in the rain.

3. Stop Lights - The engineers of Cincinnati lights understood the local driving culture. Here, After the light turns red, there is a long(ish) pause before the cross traffic light turns green. This prevents accidents as there is always someone running the red light.
Green light - go after checking that there is no cross traffic.
Yellow light - do NOT speed up. This is not a warning that you need to hurry up to make it through the light. This is why red lights are run (that, and lack of attention to speed). DO slow down and come to a stop. A YELLOW light mean SLOW DOWN and STOP.
Red light - You should have stopped by then (see yellow light).

4. Tail-gating - this does not mean attending a social gathering before a Bengals game, it means driving too close behind the car in front of you. What is too close? Well, that will depend on road/weather conditions and speed. When I am going 70 mph, I like to keep around 4 seconds between me and the car in front of me. I keep a mental track by selecting a point that the car in front of me passed and then counting how long it takes me to reach that same point. This does keep a gap in front of me for a car in another lane to enter, but at 70 mph one car length is not going to make difference in arrival time.

5. Zippering - this is a term used generally for interstate on ramps but can be applied to any road that converges from say two lanes to one lane. What zippering means is that cars take turns (remember in kindergarten when the teacher taught you how to take turns with that awesome toy? No. You don't. Or else you wouldn't be such a horrible person when it comes to taking turns during zippering). 
Do: If you're in the lane that is ending - turn on your blinker to indicate your desire to merge and be aware of the drivers that are in the lane next to you.
Don't: If you're in the lane that is being merged into - don't be a jerk. It helps the flow of traffic, really it does. Let a car in front of you. It doesn't have to be a whole row of cars (that doesn't help you) but one car. That's how zippering works. You take turns. A car from one lane goes, and then a car from the other lane, and back and forth.

6. Blinkers - Ever wished that there was a device to indicate to other cars what you intend to do? There is! It's called a blinker (or turn signal). EVERY car has one.
Do: Use your blinker to indicate intent to switch lanes (preferably in advance but don't take too long) and intent to turn into a street or parking area.
Don't: Keep your blinker on after it's intended use or not use it all.

7: Phones - are a distraction. Period.
Do: Keep your phone out of reach if it's a distraction. Or use a hands-free setting.
Don't: Text, talk, email, web browse, or otherwise use your phone.

While this list may be in no means complete, these are our major concerns. Personally, I really wish that everyone in Ohio had to retake the driving test every 5 years (or 10 if there were no traffic violations on their record) to be reminded of how to properly drive.

But in summary, Ohio Drivers: you are the worst.

EO and JC

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