Denver7 | TrafficDriving You Crazy


Driving You Crazy: Drivers who do not "commit" to a lane for the self-service car wash

Should you wait several car lengths behind all the current vehicles or stop behind one specific bay?
Car wash
Posted at 7:00 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 10:30:40-04

Nanette from Central City writes, “What's driving you crazy? Drivers who do not "commit" to a lane for the carwash. I pulled into a carwash and there was a vehicle stopped several car lengths behind the current vehicles. I slowed, drove around the stopped vehicle to a bay. The driver of the waiting vehicle claimed I cut him off then proceeded to honk at me, verbally assaulted me, and then physically assaulted me, spitting and throwing snow at me. There was no sign saying "wait here for next available bay", etc. You don't get to just hold the lanes to see which moves first. Commit and pick a line. What do others think?”

That is an unsettling story Nanette. I too have been in that situation where all the bays are full and you don’t know who will finish washing their car first so you wait a bit — maybe 25 feet back from any one particular bay so you can go to the next open one. One time I was in that situation, and someone did what you did and pulled up — not behind me to wait — but right up to one of the bays ahead of me. So I drove forward and picked one bay to wait for that guy to finish the wash. I chose poorly because another bay away from both of us opened up and, by chance, some other driver pulled up and right into that bay. Such is life.

It seems like the right thing to me to have all car washers wait in one line like you would at the grocery store for the multiple self-checkout machines. When you go to the grocery store, you don’t wait behind one individual self-checkout machine, right? You wait in one line of shoppers down the pasta aisle and when you get to the front you then go to the self-checkout machine that opens up. That way, the first one waiting gets to use the first bay available. However, if you need full service, you have to pick one of the individual regular check-out lines and hope that the one you picked moves the quickest. Typically it doesn't.

MORE: Read more traffic issues driving people crazy

I asked around the station, and one person in the newsroom said maybe the owner of the car wash should make it clear how people are supposed to deal with this scenario with signs or paint. That sounds reasonable. I have to think that this is an issue that doesn’t happen all too often and for the most part, reasonable people can work it out between them. That driver who was upset with you obviously wasn’t acting reasonably.

Maybe it is better practice to come back if the wash is busy, so this conflict doesn’t happen again. But that isn’t always convenient, especially in a small town like Central City. We put this question out to our viewers in our on-air poll. 60% of the votes were for team bay, 40% were in team wait in one line. This story has also been posted to the Denver7 Facebook page. You can post and share your comments there about how you think people should handle that situation in the future, but please be civil.

Why don't drivers commit to a specific bay while waiting at the self car wash?

Denver7 Traffic Expert Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his award winning Driving You Crazy podcast named by Westword as best podcast in Denver on any podcast app including iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Podbean.