Double drive-thru creates new etiquette woes

News-DemocratJuly 10, 2014 

Drive-thru window


I'm not sure if etiquette books cover such situations as posed for drivers by new double-lane drive-thrus at fast food restaurants.

But how to act in these lines, much more than what fork to use with what food, are the kind of things that concern people today.

For example, the other day I pulled into the outside lane of a double drive-thru because it looked like the shortest.

I was so close to getting to the speaker. If only the guy in front of me would move forward just a bit, just inches, I would be able to order.

I couldn't tap the horn for a short beep. When I hit the horn, it sticks and what should be a happy beep becomes an angry blare which lasts until I can pound on the horn long enough for it to un-stick. So the horn is for emergencies only.

But I was just inches away. I tried to communicate silently, concentrating on sending positive vibes to the driver in front of me. No dice.

I understood his dilemma as well. He didn't want to pull forward enough to tap the bumper of the vehicle in front of him.

These double ordering lines can create some interesting situations.

You can't always see the car in the other lane, so it is hard to tell who inched forward first and earned the right-of-way. And then there are the people who always assume the right-of-way.

But you want to get out of the way of the person behind you so he or she can order at the speaker. But sometimes that means inching forward until you are almost touching the driver's side door of the car in the other line.

At best it is an awkward situation. The other driver tries to be cool and ignore you but it's difficult when you are watching someone come within a couple of inches of your door.

So it is best just to wait until everyone moves. Besides, whichever line you choose, it probably will be wrong and more than likely, the person in front of you is ordering breakfast for the entire office and someone got the order wrong.

About the time I was getting really impatient, I realized the guy in front of me was our newspaper publisher, the guy who signs my checks.

Take your time, I thought, magnanimously.

Patience, evidently, is the answer.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

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