#1210: The Mothership Has Landed

When do you need to use a turn signal?

Original Air Date: 03.10.2012

   Best Moment :30

This week on Car Talk, we revisit a caller's unexplained electrifying vehicular event. Was it an atmospheric abnormality? A UFO? Beam 'em up, Scotty! Then it's warp speed to Georgia where Caroline has another curious conundrum: has a car alarm mysteriously installed itself on her Saturn? Elsewhere, Libby is looking for the perfect car to run away in, and Bob is in dire need of marriage advice. Could the turn signal hold the answer to marital bliss? All that, plus a new tantalizing puzzler from our "Travel and Leisure" series, this week, on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 19 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

Why did the number of pickpocketing complaints go up after the signs warning of pickpockets were installed? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

Why were the front tires flat when the water pump was being repaired? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share mail from listeners regarding the now-fabled, "Incident at Waccabuc."

Login or Register to rate and post comments

Libby's Odyssey

by azimuth361

As a veteran of many, many cross-country trips - Sacramento to Fort Meade, Fort Meade to Fort Wainwright and the great circle around Fort Collins, Sacramento and Las Vegas countless times - it is with a fair amount of experience that I may suggest a car. I'm also in a profession in which I often rent cars. I highly recomend a Honda Element. Subarus are great. I own a 1996 SVX. But when they break, they're pricey to fix and Subaru mechanics may not be available in some back woods towns. The seats in pickups tend to not be able to recline. Being able to vary ones driving position helps make the long stretches less tiresome. Wagons aren't so great for sleeping because you spend all your time on your hands and knees. You can at least crouch in the back of an Element. With reference to writing a blog, a friend of mine did that once in her solo drive cross country. You can add a measure of safety by posting a day or two after you write it. That way, the riff raff don't know where you've been until the trail is quite cold. And, this will probably annoy a lot of people, but I would suggest learning to use a gun and bring it. Of course, I'm a lifer in the Army and a member of IPSC. I never drive cross country without my dog and my .45. They've both saved my bacon once each. Now, I don't leave home without it. 'Course the key is, have the knowledge and resolve to use it. A shaky gun is more dangerous than not having one at all.

Not the mothership

by Auspicious

Probably St Elmo's fire.

Turn Signal Compromise

by Bobhawk

The law says you have to signal when you are going to change directions, but why signal when you're sitting still? If it's going to take a couple of lights to get to turn, why bug your wife the whole time? Start the signal when you get the final green.

Left Turn Signal

by womandriver

According to my dad-retired police chief in IL, you MUST signal your intent. You cannot subrogate your responsibility to a marked road or a signal light (ie do the signaling for you). It's the law. Loved the "mook" review!!!

Turn signal advice

by mano

When I heard these two mooks from Boston/Cambridge giving driving etiquette to the guy asking about using the turn signal when in the left turn lane, I simultaneously passed gas and spit perfectly good coffee all over the windshield. I laughed so hard I almost puked. HAHAHA You HAHAHA GOTTA HAHAHAHA BE HAHAHA KIDDING! HAHAHAHAH!

Favorite Moment: Hey, I love you guys!

Segment 8

by JonathanMC

Guys, "New Cumberland" is named after "Cumberland" in England. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumberland

The Great Escape - Go Libby

by chromatica

I listened with interest to your call with Libby from Seattle. I think I have the answer for her cross-country trip. I have designed and built a small camping trailer and I am making plans to go into production. The deck is only 3'x4' - there is no living space - only cabinetry to hold tent, sleeping bag, and cookware. There is a fold-down counter complete with a propane stove. It only weighs about 700 pounds when it is fully loaded so there is not a car on the road that can't tow this tiny trailer. Maybe Libby can be my first customer!

I Love Libby

by felicity fidget

Libby, You doing what I dream of doing every day. I just want to get in my car or preferably a newer more reliable one, and take off. Through Montana, Wyoming down through Utah, New Mexico and make my way to the Keys as well. Please blog about it so I can continue to dream. I too have no children left at home and want to explore away. Very envious. Have a brilliant time

To Libby from Seattle

by d.finley33

You said you didn't want "a big RV." But you should get a small RV, one based on a minivan or mini-pickup chassis but with a real RV body added, one you can stand up in. The critical factor is to get everything you need to cook, eat & sleep already built into the thing. You get a small fridge, stove & oven & a comfortable bed, with curtains for privacy & to keep from being awakened too early. And a self-contained toilet, sink & shower. The gas mileage isn't great but acceptable, & the amount of money you save vs staying in motels & eating in restaurants is enormous. Campground fees can add up, but you can stop in national forests & many city parks for free.

Turn Signals

by d.finley33

Absolutely wrong about not using turn signals. The average driver is so oblivious to everything happening in plain sight in front of him that he needs all the help he can get to notice that your car is turning, or about to. Expecting him to notice that you're in a turn-only lane is beyond the pale. I've been nearly sideswiped at 50 by an idiot who didn't notice that HE was in a left-turn-only lane, & wanted to keep going straight in my lane. Also, today's increasingly incompetent drivers tend to make turns (left or right) from a middle lane, even when there's a turn-only lane. The basic question is, do you want to help prevent an idiot from running into you or not?


Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel