Recently, they put in a roundabout a few blocks from our house. It’s the most direct route to the nearest highway, so I drive it daily, and you better believe I see my fair share of interesting interpretations of traffic laws. There is always the person who is too nice for their own good, stopping in the middle of the traffic circle to let others in. Amazingly, I’ve actually seen people turn left into this particular roundabout more than once.
I’m not going to say I'm the most amazing driver out there (I still sweat a little when I have to parallel park), but I didn’t realize there were so many people on the road only pretending to know what they’re doing. Apparently, driving isn’t the only thing people are faking knowledge about, either.
Keep reading for the facts on some of the most commonly misunderstand rules of life.
When in a roundabout…
First things first—let’s clear up this roundabout business right away.
If you haven’t entered the roundabout yet, you need to yield to the other cars in the circle already, according my local Department of Transportation website. Watching for cars coming from your left, only make your way into the roundabout if you have plenty of space to do so.
"The most important thing is to yield to cars that are already in the round about. If you're leaving the roundabout you need to use your signal, since people are waiting for you to pass to get into the round about. Knowing those two things can keep traffic flowing smoothly and avoid accidents,” explains a New England police officer. He also stresses that drivers should never stop while they’re in the roundabout to let another driver in. It may seem nice at the time, but it is an easy way to cause an accident.
Another Common Driving Mistake
It isn’t just the roundabout that seems to give drivers trouble; according to this New England-based police officer, people get really confused about four-way stops as well.
Unlike roundabouts, all cars approaching a four-way stop have to come to a complete stop. After that, who goes first all depends on who stopped first and your place in the intersection.
"People are always confused at four-ways. Technically the car to the right is the one that goes first, but a good rule of thumb is that if you stop first you should go first. That avoids the start and stop you go, 'no you go' type [of] indecision that can lead to accidents,” he explains.
Grade School Grammar
Basic grammar is a part of every grade-school education, but not everyone leaves with a great understanding of sentence structure and punctuation. Most commonly, I see people confusing homophones like they’re, their, and there.
So, what’s the right way to use each of these words? There is a place, their is a possessive adjective, and they’re is the same as saying “they are,” according to the grammar rules and usages resource by Your Dictionary.
If you’re going to be using your and you’re, you should also understand the difference between the two. Similar to the example above, you’re is the contraction for “you are” and your is used before nouns and pronouns as a possessive adjective.
Lastly, Kristen Blackton, middle school teacher at St. Peter's School in Kansas City, Missouri, said there is one more grammar mistake she believes most people are making—the comma splice.
“People know they have a sentence with two independent clauses and that something should be between them, so they throw a comma in there. In reality, two independent clauses require either a semicolon or a comma with a conjunction to be grammatically correct,” explains Blackton.
Still not certain you’ve grasped the rule? Here is an explain straight from the teacher herself to clear things up:
Mistake: I went to the park with my family, it was great.
Correction: I went to the park with my family; it was great. OR I went to the park with my family, and it was great.
One Last Grammar Clarification
This last common grammar mistake may not have been something you learned in grade school, but it is definitely one you should understand before you send your next work email. I.e and e.g. are two abbreviations that are frequently misused and misunderstood, according to the Grammar Girl blog.
She says a good rule of thumb for using these two abbreviations is to remember that i.e. basically means “in other words” while e.g. means “for example.”
So, if you need to provide a reader with a few examples of what you are discussing, go ahead and use e.g.. If you’re just trying to provide further clarification, i.e. is the better choice. Here’s an example:
I love coffee (e.g., pour overs and cappuccinos).
I love coffee (i.e., the delicious, hot beverage containing caffeine).
This common social media misunderstanding is #annoying.
There are endless ways to embarrass yourself online, but misusing hashtags doesn’t need be one of them. Hashtags have become so common in everyday life that the word was actually added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2010. Still, it doesn’t seem that everyone has a grasp of how they’re meant to be used.
The pound sign was originally adopted as the hashtag by Twitter as a means of categorizing content. It was meant as a way to find topics that were trending or participate in ongoing conversations, according to The New York Times. So, if you need to talk about how you’re still not over the ending of Orphan Black, using the hashtag #OrphanBlack is the best way to find your people.
These days, the hashtag seems to be used most frequently as humor or wordplay. Users throw an entire sentence behind a hashtag because it’s cute or funny before sharing and call it a day. I suppose this is appropriate in certain situations, like if it is actually funny or witty use of the hashtag, but doing this excessively is #annoying. Let’s all revisit the hashtag’s intended purpose—to categorize content on social media.
The Very Worst Reason to Turn Down a Promotion
Recently, I read a blog post about a woman who was considering turning down a promotion. Her reason wasn’t because the promotion didn’t align with her goals or because she didn’t feel like it was a good fit for her lifestyle. She was considering turning down the promotion because it would put her in a new tax bracket.
According to Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting, he often finds his clients have a misunderstanding of how tax brackets influence their income. He says that, in 2017, there are seven tax brackets ranging from 10 to 39.6 percent, and what you make each year determines which bracket you fall into.
“For example a single person earning $100,000 would fall into the 28 percent tax bracket," Zimmelmann says. "However, that does not mean that they are paying 28 percent of their income in Federal taxes. This individual would be subject to Federal taxes of $18,714 on their income and 28 percent on any amounts that are over $91,600.”
So, many people assume they will pay 28 percent on their entire income if they are making $100,000, which would be $28,000, but that’s a mistake. The truth is, you only pay 28 percent on what you make that is more than $91,600. According to Zimmelman, this means a single person making $100,000 should expect to pay $21,066 in taxes each year.
Additionally, he feels it is important that individuals understand that they pay on a percentage of their taxable income, which is usually less than what they actually make.
“Taxable income takes into account adjustments to income such as student loan interest and IRA deductions," Zimmelmann explains. "It also takes into account itemized or standard deductions plus exemptions. It's even possible that one's salary could put themselves in one bracket but having various deductions that could actually push them into a lower tax bracket.”
Ultimately, Zimmelman doesn’t advise turning down a promotion if your only hesitation is your tax bracket. Even if you will be paying more in taxes, you are still going to take home a lot of that raise.
Remember this the next time you have a cold.
Although this might seem like a technicality, this common mistake is actually a matter of public health. Most people cover their coughs and sneezes incorrectly, which actually increases the spread of germs.
For many, the default move is to sneeze or cough into their hands. As a result, they end up with their cold germs all over their hands—and the next thing they touch. Instead, anytime you cough or sneeze you should use the inside of your elbow to cover your face, according to Science Daily.
Of course, if you are lucky enough have a box of Kleenex handy, that is the most sanitary way to deal with a sneeze. However, the second best approach is the inside of your elbow. Additionally, never—never—reuse a tissue. After each cough or sneeze, toss the tissue and wash your hands as soon as possible.