Readers have a lot on their minds this week, perhaps because summer vacation is in full swing and those of us working rather than vacationing are feeling the worse for wear. Here’s what three commuters have on their minds.

Stop clogging my Highway 37

I just recently started commuting to Sonoma and let me tell you that all of you folks using Hwy 37 as a bypass are making my life a living hell. I can’t tell you how infuriating it is to read these comments. Between the toll evaders commuting from SF and the Petaluma residents using 37 to avoid 101, no wonder traffic is so unbearable!! Yesterday the 511 sign in Novato said 90 minutes to Sears Point thanks to all of you. 90 minutes!

If it was used by those who should be actually using it there wouldn’t be such a mess. I cannot wait for the lane widening in the Novato narrows so you folks going to P-Town or further north will get back on the 101 and stay off of the 37. As for the toll evaders I unfortunately see no end in sight but please stay out of the dang left hand turn only lane!! — Andrea Gensheimer

Where’s all this stopped traffic?

Recently there was a question from a reader on the “Stopped Traffic Ahead” sign on the southbound 101 Cotati Grade.  This Electronic sign is very far from the N Petaluma Blvd. off ramp (as the Caltrans answer stated the reason for it being there).  I think someone placed it miles away from where it should be.  And to add to that, during the evening commute there is never a back up there.

Perhaps morning only?  But it hardly constitutes a sign that uses electricity to warn people about some backup that is extremely infrequent. — John, Road Observationist

Just drive on by, please

I’ve said it before, and now I must say it again: people who break right-of-way rules out of a perceived sense of courtesy are a public danger. Just today I encountered a driver on 116 who brought his lane to a full stop to wave me, in the turn lane, in front of him into a parking lot. I was safely in the turn lane waiting for an opening in traffic to cross over, but this driver’s actions put both myself and the people behind him in danger.

Drivers behind this person were not expecting him to stop in the middle of the road for no reason, and were at risk for rear-end collisions. Had I followed his misguided lead, I would have been at risk of entering the path of frustrated drivers who may have tried to pass the unexpectedly stopped vehicle. I refused out of concern for my own safety.

Think about it like this. Traffic flows like a stream. What happens when you put a rock in a flowing stream? The water doesn’t stop flowing–it simply flows around the rock. The same happens in traffic, which is why we have right-of-way rules so there is a common agreement about how and when particular streams of traffic will flow and when they will stop. When you ignore right-of-way rules by stopping traffic to wave a pedestrian or other vehicle in front of you, you endanger not only that person, but everyone around you.

Should the pedestrian or the other vehicle have the right-of-way (such as a crosswalk), then by all means let them pass, and do your best to communicate the hazard to other drivers behind and beside you (such as flashing your brake lights or your hazard lights). But please don’t decide to create your own rules and stop traffic that has the right of way. — Elizabeth


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