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# 173840 8-Jun-2015 14:32
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I recently came back from a US trip where I spent a fair bit of time on the LA freeway system. I will add I have driven in the US for over 6 years continously and I hold a CA driver's licence but the LA freeways, especially around the downtown area, still cause me some angst!

Anyway it occurred me that some of this is due to signage.

For example let's say you are approaching an off ramp and one of the lanes (right most) is for getting off only while in the second from the right you can go through or get off. Then typically the signs looks like this



So for the 7th Street Exit, the right most lane is Exit Only means if you're in this lane you must exit, whereas if you're the second outer lane, you can exit or not.  Actually when I first encountered signs like this I thought Exit Only meant, this is the only lane you can exit the freeway, not that this lane has no options but to exit. It's a subtle difference but caused me some early confusion.

Now here's a more confusing one.



Reading from left to right the first 3 are clear - this way to remain on the 405 North since this is the Freeway you're currently on,

What does the fourth and fifth arrows mean?  Presumably these lanes only allow you go go to the 101 North?  Then lane 6 means you can only go to the 101 South and lane 7 you get off at Ventura Blvd.  Clear enough when you have time but even with GPS, and travelling at speed, some confusion can creep in, especially when (unlike this photo) the lanes are jammed with traffic hurtling along. As an aside I was using Google Navigation and when these intersections appeared, it showed all the lane markers with arrows and tried to guide you which is admirable but still you need to focus on both the phone and the road which can be challenging. There is nothing more helpful than having a navigator, especially at night when vision is not so clear but traffic is just as heavy.

Now in NZ it was a bit harder to find examples but I found this.



This is a bit clearer. The left most lane is clearly marked Exit Only and also an arrow to reinforce this. The second lane shows in the arrow you can get off or go straight ahead.

The others are pretty clear.

Just wondering for those who have braved the LA freeway system, especially around the downtown area, your thoughts.










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  # 1319446 8-Jun-2015 14:51
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All pretty clear, I still dont understand how people can be in the left lane and decide to pull out at 70k when they get to the exit only offramp. Usually without indicating.

But it happens so often, particually with people in the left lane at onewa offramp and the next one where they actually have to cut across another lane to stay on the motorway.




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  # 1319453 8-Jun-2015 15:01
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When I was visiting Melbourne, I found some of the road signs hard to be clear about.

Take this one in Docklands (image courtesy of Google Maps):



I want to go right, but only slightly right, but not sure if I go right at these lights, or the one after these ones. Arrows on road don't match either. So confusing...

 
 
 
 




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  # 1319462 8-Jun-2015 15:14
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Well it's been a while since I drove on the UK motorway system but these signs are less than clear



I think the arrow should indicate where the lanes go, not point down.  And relying on different size signs for each destination is not clear at all IMHO.




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  # 1319469 8-Jun-2015 15:17
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I have no idea what that one to the left of M4 means...




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  # 1319473 8-Jun-2015 15:25
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As a non-Aucklander and rare motorway user, the bottom line of the Auckland example is unclear.

Obviously "EXIT ONLY" applies to Fanshawe St. And the "600m" means that the intersection is 600m away. But lane 2 isn't immediately clear to  me at all. It takes some working out that it also applies to the same Fanshawe St intersection.

And what does "600m / ONLY" mean? Something is going to change in 600m, got that. But does it mean that the lane 3 will only be for Helensville traffic? Or lane 2 will only be for Cook St/Port? Bizarrely, it appears that going straight ahead will take you both East and West in SH16.

I still dont understand how people can be in the left lane and decide to pull out at 70k when they get to the exit only offramp. Usually without indicating.


Let me try to explain... my wife is frightened of driving on motorways. She avoids them where possible. She is particularly scared when driving in the middle lane and having a truck on either side of her, and she sure as hell isn't going into the fast lane! So, she drives in the left-hand lane, where it is (relatively) slow and she feels safe. She will only leave that safe area for the wilds of the middle lane when she is forced to, or when it's obvious that the middle lane is about to become the "safe" left-hand lane. Hence switching at the very last minute, which probably also is why she's down to 70k because the traffic in the left lane has been slowing for the exit turn. This is all reinforced by the idea that slower is safer... she doesn't believe that 100+ is safer and easier than 80. And she is so stressed out by all the cars and trucks continually whizzing past that she is totally overloaded, hence forgetting to indicate. All of which she remembers, thus reinforcing her fear of motorways.


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  # 1319474 8-Jun-2015 15:25
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richms: I have no idea what that one to the left of M4 means...


2 cubic meters of space on the shoulder?




Hmmmm


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  # 1319479 8-Jun-2015 15:30
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richms: I have no idea what that one to the left of M4 means...

I would assume that the exit (#15) is two-thirds of a mile ahead.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1319481 8-Jun-2015 15:33
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frankv:
And what does "600m / ONLY" mean? Something is going to change in 600m, got that. But does it mean that the lane 3 will only be for Helensville traffic? Or lane 2 will only be for Cook St/Port? Bizarrely, it appears that going straight ahead will take you both East and West in SH16.


I must admit, I can understand this, I'm used to it as I go past this sign most days. - This is a hangover from when the Victoria Park Tunnel was built.
The SH16 lanes used to be the SH1 South lanes and the SH1 South lanes used to be SH1 North.
The reason for the "Only" is that there are 2 Viaducts next to each other going over Victoria Park.




Hmmmm


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  # 1319488 8-Jun-2015 15:41
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lchiu7:
Just wondering for those who have braved the LA freeway system, especially around the downtown area, your thoughts.


I found signs in the US to be clear enough. 

You do need to keep your wits about you if the traffic is actually moving at reasonable speed. 

I enjoy driving on the freeways (as it is something different to here), except when there is congestion which is most of the time if you are going a bit of a distance. 


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  # 1319495 8-Jun-2015 15:47
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And people wonder why I hate driving in Auckland 

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  # 1319497 8-Jun-2015 15:52
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Having driven in NZ, Australia, France, Italy, Rarotonga and South Africa I'd say that NZ's signs are the clearest.

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  # 1319500 8-Jun-2015 16:00
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cisconz: The reason for the "Only" is that there are 2 Viaducts next to each other going over Victoria Park.


and you can ONLY go to those destinations in those lanes, ie if you are in the manakau/south lane there is no way you can change into the cook street or port lanes because they are on separate overpasses.

I find on some suburban streets they have a need for motorway type signs, for example heading west on church street where it meets neilson street on Penrose/onehunga. soooo many people are in the left lane and are wanting to go straight aheard, when that lane goes off to the left only. But there is no way to know that because you have to go up and over the hill so cant see the intersection.

i drove in the US for 4 months but i extensively relied on a GPS to help with navigation. it made things a lot lot easier. I find our signs to be better than other countries but they could still be better.

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  # 1319502 8-Jun-2015 16:05
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Here is my least favorite road sign in Christchurch. You are driving around central ChCh and you want head north via SH1. You need to turn left at this intersection. How do you know this if you are not a local? Well, there is a sign... after the intersection, behind the traffic light.
Here it is on Street View https://goo.gl/maps/VxzOU


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  # 1319504 8-Jun-2015 16:07
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The only AKL motorway sign that is not clear is city bound around Symonds Street that shows the Nelson St exit as the wrong lane  (shows center lane rather than the left one) and every time I come off there  I see folks changing to the exit lane at the last minute when the see the correct exit lane sign.    It caught me out a few times when i first used  it..




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  # 1319508 8-Jun-2015 16:10
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surfisup1000:
lchiu7:
Just wondering for those who have braved the LA freeway system, especially around the downtown area, your thoughts.


I found signs in the US to be clear enough. 

You do need to keep your wits about you if the traffic is actually moving at reasonable speed. 

I enjoy driving on the freeways (as it is something different to here), except when there is congestion which is most of the time if you are going a bit of a distance. 



Well on my last stint in the US I was there for 2 years, albeit in Northern California where the freeways are less frenetic. I drove an average of 190K each day to and from work on 4 freeways.  It wasn't that bad and traffic usually flowed okay.

In SoCAL I usually had more than one person in the car and could avail myself of the HOV (carpool) lanes to go faster. But they were always at the left most side of the lanes and often hard up against a concrete barrier with not much space between the car and barrier. That in itself was a little nervous but when you wanted to get off you usually had to negotiate up to 6 lanes to get to the off ramps so you would try to make your move a few km (well miles over there of course) before your exit. Because of that I would normally not bother with those lanes.

But I also drove on my last trip from LA to the Bay Area and back (some 300 miles each way) on i10 which was enjoyable and certainly easier than Auckland/Wellington. The hardest part was keeping awake on all those long straight stretches.




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