Personal Log: Rules Of The Road – How To Drive The #SVLife Way On 280

Published on September 28, 2014 by R "Ray" Wang

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Bad (Slow) Driving On 280 Is Just Not Acceptable Anymore

For those outside the San Francisco Bay Area, Interstate 280 is also known as the Junipero Serra Freeway.  Completed in 1955 as part of the Eisenshower Interstate Highway system, the 57 mile four to five lane freeway connects San Francisco and San Jose.  To residents, the freeway is often affectionately known as “The Autobahn” mainly because of the higher speeds and less congested travel when compared to other freeways in the Bay Area.  In non-rush hour times, vehicles often zip by easily at speeds of 85 miles per hour or more.

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Start With These Five Simple Rules To Keep 280 Moving For Everyone

With the influx of transplants (like me 20 years ago) into the Bay Area, conditions have gotten a bit more congested and driving norms have not been passed on to the newly arrived.  Travel from Silicon Valley to San Francisco can take up to 90 minutes in peak traffic.  Some of it is due to increased volume, but a good deal is due to poor driving.

Hence, fear not, here’s a quick guide to the basic rules.  Feel free to add your own in the comments suggestion:

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  1. Pass or speed on the left lane or get off it.  Stay off the left lane if you plan to go the speed limit.  That’s just rude as we’re all in a hurry and we don’t need you causing accidents as people try to pass on the right lanes.  Especially, you in the Prius or minivan, you’re often holding up massive traffic and seem oblivious.
  2. Let others lead if you are moving slower.  If someone is crazy enough to break the speed limit, then move out of the way or follow them. It’s a win-win. Why?  If you are in a hurry, it’s good to have a pace car ahead of you.  They are willing to take one for the team and why not encourage them to lead so you can also quickly follow.  Stop trying to block faster cars because you feel jealous.  Get over it!
  3. Keep your fellow drivers informed of speed traps and dangers ahead. Take advantage of Waze or other crowd sourced tools to report hazards.   A classic and helpful trip is to tap the breaks a few times as you pass a speed trap.  The effect of cascading breaking will warn others to slow down and avoid a speed trap.  Another option is to flash opposing traffic with your high beams to warn them of the oncoming hazard or speed trap. Don’t believe in the urban legend that this will set off a car jacking.  It’s not true and if it was, it’s so 80’s.
  4. Call in emergencies to 911 ASAP.  Be a Good Samaritan.  If you see a car pulled to the side of the road, see a hazard on the road, or face a reckless driver, call 911 ASAP.  The quicker you deploy someone to the emergency, the quicker you take one less law enforcement officer off the road so you can speed along.  Think of it as a win-win where you help the public good and get to speed while the cops are out addressing an emergency.
  5. Stay alert and safe.  With folks often crossing triple digit speeds, one small slip can cost you your life.  Use a headset if you are on the mobile device, and certainly don’t try to text or tweet.   You are moving way too fast to safely do all this at once.

The Bottom Line: Keep The #SVLife Tradition Alive And Well

280 is the icon of the SF Bay Area.  It’s meant to be the Autobahn. Please pass on these rules so we can keep 280 moving along and safe and speedy for everyone.  Otherwise, we’ll be filled with folks who drive like they do on 880 and 680, leaving huge spaces in the left lane because they don’t want anyone to pass but are too lazy to keep a closer distance behind the next car. That’s just so un-SVLife!  Stay speedy and safe!

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