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Turn signal: Toothy badgers, bridges and lane switching

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This coming week could be eventful for all things transportation. Maybe.

It appears the state House of Representatives will again look at transportation funding reform. Or at the very least, Senate Bill 1 — the bill that failed to pass prior to the budget deadline over the summer — is on the schedule for further consideration in the House.

I'm not going into depth on that one. Gov. Tom Corbett has badgered them. Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch has badgered them. Editorial pages have badgered them. Chambers of commerce, trade associations and unions have badgered them. It's a badger clan in here, and they're getting mean.

PennDOT recently sent out an update on the Route 22/322 bridges over Interstate 81 in Harrisburg. Looks like the main span of Route 22 going into the city will be finished on time before Thanksgiving. I've been steadily watching the crews finish off concrete work on the deck and walls during my drives into the office. Now they're cleaning things up.

However, the exit ramp bridge from I-81 north onto westbound 22/322 is going to take a little longer, PennDOT said. But it will be finished before the end of the year, the department said on Tuesday. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and let's try not to break our new toys in the first couple months of 2014, huh?

Finally, I cannot ignore it anymore. The driving habits of people in Central Pennsylvania are deplorable. Specifically, the inability of many drivers to use turn signals.

Commercial trucks have nearly run me off the road because they failed to use turn signals and, barring any way for me to read their minds, I put my signals on and passed them on the highway. But judging from their horn-blaring, apparently I was in the wrong. No. No, I was not. Use your turn signals.

Commuters, grocery shoppers, soccer moms: I know we're all rushed with the to and fro of our modern lives, but that's precisely why we have turn signals on our cars. So that our rushing doesn't translate into accidents through misunderstandings on the road. Turn signals aren't there to validate you. They're there to tell me what you're about to do. Use your turn signals.

Retirees in Mercedes-Benzes and 20-somethings in Hondas: Guess what!? I finally found something you have in common! Despite your different social and economic stations in life, neither one of you uses turn signals. A little consideration for everyone else around you, please? I'd like my sons to live long enough to buy their first clunkers and retire from their lucrative jobs. Use your turn signals.

The coup de gras! Today, while returning to the office from an event about studying transportation, I had a Harrisburg police officer cut me off on Walnut Street. Yes, even Johnny Law failed to use his turn signal to change lanes. But apparently he was conscious enough to use it to make a left turn. Those two actions, merging and turning, are essentially the same thing: dangerous maneuvers necessitating communication with other drivers. Use your turn signals.

Here's the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual as a refresher to everyone.

Well, until next collision — I mean, time — have a wonderful week.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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