Some summer moves revisited
Visitors are frequent topics of conversation among Outer Banks locals, especially their driving. When we first moved here, I told the kids not to complain. They help with the bills.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that our guests are on vacation from driving, too. Many are from cities where aggressive driving is the norm, so it follows that while here, they prefer a more passive, absent-minded approach to motoring.
As we enter what is probably the busiest week of the year — the 4th of July — I thought it might be helpful to once again provide a glossary of some of the summer driving moves you might see.
They usually involve visitors, but don’t rule out locals.
Brake and break. Sudden braking in the far right lane and darting across traffic to the center left-turn lane after spotting a promising restaurant, gift shop or strip shopping center.
The cutback. Executing a brake and break, then opting against a left turn from the center lane and swerving back into the travel lane, usually without signaling.
Blue Angels. Six cars driving in formation in both travel lanes.
Center-lane straddle. Arrows indicate its purpose, but the center turning lane can be mystifying. This move entails making a partial commitment so that half the vehicle remains in the travel lane while attempting to make a left turn, usually without signaling.
Center-lane blockout. Not using the center lane at all and coming to a complete stop in the left travel lane and waiting to make a left turn.
Center-lane freestyle. Driving in the center lane with no intention of turning.
Left-lane parade marshal. A Saturday afternoon phenomenon, this is when a large, overloaded vehicle occupies the left lane from the Wright Memorial Bridge to Whalebone Junction, usually well below the speed limit.
Touch and go. Common in Kill Devil Hills’ french fry alley, this is marked by frequent tapping of brakes in anticipation of a sudden right turn, usually without signaling, or signaling only after the turn is almost completed.
Jockey’s Ridge gaper lock. Not limited to the tallest sand dune on the East Coast, this is when traffic slows significantly for drive-by photo ops.
Jockey’s Ridge shoulder straddle. Same as above, but requiring a full stop on the shoulder of the bypass with part of the vehicle still in the right travel lane.
Turn here! Dictated by a passenger startling the driver into making a sudden right turn into the parking lot of a gift shop, restaurant or strip shopping center, usually without signaling.
Trolling for food. A lunch- and dinner-time phenomenon marked by further reductions in speeds with frequent touch and goes, center-lane straddles, brake and breaks and turn heres!
There it is, not a complete list, but a helpful sampling, I hope. I have to confess to some of these moves myself while on vacation in unfamiliar places. And even here, I’m not as diligent with signaling as I should be.
So visitors, please be careful this week. Locals, be patient and keep an eye out for our guests. Remember, they’re on vacation — from driving, too.
This column first appeared in The Virginian-Pilot and The Outer Banks Voice in 2010.
Photo from the North Carolina Department of Transportation website.
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