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Survivor’s guide to the streets of Manteca

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POSTED September 2, 2013 12:45 a.m.

Turn signal? In Manteca? You don’t need to use no stinkin’ turn signal to drive in Manteca.

Turn signals are made for wimps — or they’re at least optional equipment for vehicles operating on Manteca streets.

It’s just one of the many quaint habits of hard-core Manteca drivers that might catch the unprepared off guard. That’s why this guide to traveling Manteca streets for the first time is essential if you’re not in a Hummer.

VISITING THE COLONEL: Can’t wait to get your KFC fix? Driving eastbound on East Yosemite? Then by all means squeeze your car into the left turn lane that has traffic backed up waiting to turn onto Spreckels Avenue. Better yet, make sure you maneuver your vehicle so half of it sticks out in the travel lane so you can back traffic up as well as check reflexes. Only in Manteca would a major street be designed so you can turn across a busy left turn pocket into a fast food joint right on top of a major intersection.

THE MANTECA STO(M)P: No, this isn’t a misprint. It is “Manteca Sto(m)p’ as in stomp on the gas instead of the brakes when you see one of those funny red octagon signs in residential neighborhoods.

SEE NO SIREN, HEAR NO SIREN: A small but persistent number of Manteca drivers appear to fail to hear the shrill sound of a siren on a fire engine or ambulance tailgating them with red lights flashing.  These people aren’t arrogant. They’re just dedicated listeners to thumper music that vibrates the windows on every car and building in a two-block radius. They can’t hear the mellow shrill of sirens as their music is cranked up to the decibel level of a gaggle of 747 jets taking off while a Gas-Powered Chain Saw Drill Team performs in the background.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: This is the term a seasoned Manteca driver gives to pedestrians, dogs, cats or bicyclists that happen to get in the way of their bid to slice a second or two off a cross-town trip.

STARSKY & HUTCH WANNABEES: Manteca drivers are proof the art of whipping around corners at high rate of speeds and driving through parking lots at slightly under 65 mph isn’t limited to those who are auditioning for a part as a stunt driver in the revival of the “Dukes of Hazard” TV series. Ever since Adam West made whipping the Batmobile around corners seem as Awmerican as owing your soul to Mastercard, people have been trying to get four bangers to take corners on two wheels.

ISN’T THAT WHAT WE HAVE STREET SWEEPERS FOR? In Manteca, tossing a candy wrapper or flicking a smoldering cigarette out of the window of a moving car is child’s play. The following items have been seen tossed out of the windows of moving vehicles on Manteca streets: French fries, a magazine, a half eaten slice of pizza, and a used diaper.

THE GAS STATION/CONVENIENCE STORE TURN LANE: Stopped traffic ahead of you? Want to make a right hand turn? Is there a gas station or convenience store on the right corner? Then why be a chump like everyone else and sit in line? Cut through the parking lot. Of course, one just can’t simply sneak through the parking lot. You must race through it. Who cares about customers, kids on bicycles or people backing up? It is your inalienable right to continue your journey at 45 mph even through the gas station or the convenience store parking lot. Make sure you get a little bounce action going back on to the street by not even slowing down for the driveway. If you’re really lucky you can cut off a vehicle or two on the cross street.

PARKING LOT SPEED DEMONS: These are fun-loving drivers who have an urge to prove that there is no parking lot in Manteca that they need to go under 30 mph driving through. These folks are a laugh a minute especially if you are parked next to a large SUV or van and can’t see a thing as you slowly back up.

SPEED LIMITS ARE OPTIONAL: If you haven’t noticed by now, the 25 mph speed limit on residential streets apparently are observed only by fire and ambulance vehicles responding to an emergency. Everyone else seems to have dyslexia as they appear to read 25 mpg as 52 mph and 35 mph as 53 mph.

CROTCH ROCKETS EXEMPT FROM ALL LAWS: It is an unwritten rule that anyone who has male testosterone problems — (i.e., I’m invincible because I’m under 25) — can hop on their motorcycle that has the ability to rapidly accelerate to zip through Manteca at twice the posted speed limit, ignore stop signs and demonstrate their prowess at doing wheelies occasionally as they travel down residential streets. In short, they have the right to terrorize others because they were brilliant enough to buy a vehicle that they  don’t respect.

SCHOOL LOADING ZONE CHALLENGE: You’re a parent. You fret about your child’s safety so you drive your child to school. So naturally this means you aren’t worried about the safety of other parents’ children so therefore you have a need to move through parking lots and streets near schools a tad too fast for conditions. And, if you’re a real pro, you’ll park in a loading  zone instead of hunting for a parking space so those other parents can have the privilege of waiting for you to come back and move your vehicle.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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