10 Rules For Driving On Ambassador Caffery
When you hear people in Acadiana complaining about traffic, if it's not I-10 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge or the brain-shaking vibrator known as the Evangeline Thruway, it's probably about Ambassador Caffery.
Traffic on Ambassador Caffery would be a whole lot easier to navigate if people would just follow a few simple "rules" when driving that road. (Except during the holiday season: in that case, there is nothing that will help. N. O. T. H. I. N. G.)
So, with that being said, if everyone would follow these few simple rules, life in the Hub City will be much easier!
We won't have to deal with this much longer, but it still needs to be said. Look, I get it: Chick-fil-A sammiches are like crack rock cocaine. I understand. That juicy, perfectly-seasoned chicken breast, fried golden, nestled between slices of an innocent bun with the slight yellow-greenish stain of a lone pickle slice is really hard to resist. But the bottom line is this: if there's not enough room for your ENTIRE vehicle to leave Ambassador Caffery, don't turn in! Go to the next driveway to turn, and then drive around the back side of the tire store to get into the C-F-A parking lot to get your weight on. They will still have sammiches by the time you get in line. (And pick up some of those nuggets with some Chic-Fil-A Sauce and bring them to me, please.)
So you just left Scott after stopping at Don's for boudin and Cajun Harley-Davidson to drool over their newest chrome-and-leather chick-magnet and you are headed back to Lafayette. You exit I-10 at Ambassador Caffery and, when you get to the end of the off-ramp, you stop abruptly because there's a big scary 18-wheeler coming over the overpass and you don't want to get crushed. Well, sunshine, what if I tell you that you have the right-of-way at that intersection with YOUR OWN LANE! You are not "merging" onto Ambassador Caffery: you are turning on to Ambassador Caffery, in a protected lane. The traffic coming from the overpass can only be in the left lane! The big brains at the Louisiana Department of Transportation put their pencil to paper, and then worked hard with shovels and big trucks to design and build a special intersection that protects your right turn on to Ambassador. There's even a raised ridge to keep other vehicles out of your lane! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO STOP! GO, YOU IDIOT! GOOOOO!!! THERE'S NO STOP SIGN! GO!
Much like exiting I-10 E/B at Ambassador Caffery, the lane leaving Sam's on Ambassador is protected; it's your lane. You have over 500 feet to merge into the lane of Ambassador that goes past Ridge Road.
I took a friend almost all the way down Ambassador Caffery and snapped photos of every speed limit sign we could find. Do you know what most of them said? 50. Most of Ambassador Caffery (between Verot School Road and I-10) is 50mph. Not 35. Not 42. It's 50.
From Verot to Kaliste Saloom it's 50. From Kaliste Saloom to Johnston Street, it's 45. From Johnston to Ridge Road, it's 40. From Ridge Road to I-10, guess what? It's 50. Please act like you can read those signs.
This one is for both the Ambassador Caffery motorists and the Johnston Street Motorists: don't enter an intersection if the intersection isn't clear (or clearing). What do I mean? Well, when you are coming from I-10 and get to Ambassador Caffery, if the traffic is slow or stopped (probably because cars are waiting to get into Chic-Fil-A!), don't enter the intersection until you are certain that your vehicle will be out of the intersection by the time the light changes to red.
Wait, what? "But I had a green light, so I just got into the middle of the intersection so that I will be able to get through once it turns red." No, that's not how this works. If there are cars that are blocking the intersection, and you get a green light, you can't enter that intersection until the other cars are out of that intersection.
"But if I don't go, then that other car will go in front of me." Yes, that other car might go in front of you, but 2 wrongs don't make a right.
Just don't, okay?
I know that it can be VERY tempting at times, but it's best practice to not pass in the turning lane. Even if there is no oncoming traffic, you'll never know when someone will merge into that lane to take an official left turn, and using that lane to pass is not only dangerous, it is illegal and stupid. There, I said it.
Earlier I talked about not stopping as you are entering Ambassador from I-10 and from Sam's parking lot. #7 is the other side of that coin: if you see someone trying to merge, LET THEM IN! Not just in the places I've already mentioned, but headed towards I-10 at Guilbeau is a prime example. There's a merge lane (which is a lane to use to get up to speed so you can merge properly), but that merge lane is useless if the people already on Ambassador don't give you a little wiggle room to get in safely. Same goes for exiting I-10 West to get on to Ambassador. There are 2 lanes at the light, but only one lane over the bridge. If you are on that inside lane, be a considerate driver and let the car next to you get ahead so that we can ALL make it through the light. (By the way, did you notice the truck in the photo? IT'T TRAVELING IN THE WRONG LANE!)
I frequently ride with a guy who does this. Picture the scene: scooting down Ambassador Caffery at 50 mph (the speed limit) approaching Congress. As he gets closer to the intersection (with a light that can't get any greener), he lets his foot off of the accelerator and allows the vehicle to slow to 40 as he goes through the intersection. Once through the intersection, he resumes speed.
When asked why he did that, he replied "Well, I'm not certain. I always slow down at intersections." (At first, I thought maybe he had some kind of PTSD associated with a traffic signal. "Did your parents beat you at a green light? Did you get in a crash at a green light? Did you get shot at by a green light? Were you a bug in a former life and you "went to the light"? All these questions were met with a "nope", and then a blank stare.)
Why slow down at an intersection? I asked him. Here's how that conversation went:
Him: "Maybe the light will change!".
Me: Maybe it will, but it doesn't go from green to red. It'll rest for a few seconds on yellow to give you a heads-up.
Him: "What if someone runs the red light?"
Me: Well, if someone runs the red light, by going slow, you'll be giving him an easier target. It's physics: be a fast target, giving him less of an opportunity to hit you.
Him: "This intersection has a camera!".
Me: So it does. Were you doing anything illegal? The limit is 50, you can go 50 without getting a ticket, you do realize that right?
Him: "Well, better to be safe than sorry!"
Me: Did you know that there are studies that show that it's more dangerous to drive slow? (Here's the Daily Mail article on the subject)
Him: "Oh. I'm not sure I believe that".
Me: Let me guess: Fake News, right?
And that was the end of that conversation. Next time, I'll drive, please.
Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not telling you to NOT drive defensively, but you'll hamper the flow of traffic and cause more problems by slowing down for intersections. Maintain the legal limit while approaching and navigating through intersections, as it will help with the overall flow of traffic.
It'll only take a few minutes for you to look up your destination (if you aren't certain of the location). Slowing for each exit from Ambassador, saying "is this it?" isn't conducive to good driving, nor to the good health of my vocal cords.
These are self-explanatory:
- put your phone down
- use your blinker
- get out of my way (if you refuse to follow the afore-mentioned suggestions for driving on Ambassador Caffery!)
- secure your pets
- secure your load
- be nice
Simple rules to drive by, no?