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Happy new year! Here’s a New Year’s resolution from the Road Warrior to help us all on the road:

–Be smart with cellphones. People must go hands-free while using their cellphones while driving. Almost always the driver I encounter who’s having trouble maintaining speed or staying in his/her lane is driving with one hand while holding a cellphone in the other. Even going hands-free can be distracting to a driver, so you might consider waiting to make or take that call.

–Change carpool-lane hours. The current hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Highway 101 in Sonoma County often leave the carpool lane wide open and the other two lanes jammed, especially south of Highway 12 in Santa Rosa. We know the government wants to encourage us to carpool and reduce air pollution, but  it seems more pollution is created with cars idling than getting to their destination. Caltrans says its data support the need for the carpool hours now in force, but ending the morning segment at 8:30 and starting the afternoon hours at 3:30 would help move traffic.

–Let the other driver in. Some drivers just won’t make it easy for others to merge onto 101. They won’t slow to create an opening or speed up to highway speed so that the other driver has less time and space to merge. Some even speed up, pass the merging car and then take the exit in a risky, high-speed maneuver. Why not just slow, let the other driver merge on and then exit?

–Use your turn signals. The frequency that drivers don’t use their turn signals makes one wonder if the drivers even know about them. Signal and let others know what you’re going to do. Don’t just suddenly move over into my lane or suddenly brake and turn into a driveway or onto a side street. Give other drivers some warning.

I’m sure you have other suggestions to improve driving in Sonoma County. These are just my big four. Feel free to leave additional ideas in the comment field below.

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Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter via @PDRoadWarrior

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