Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway every Saturday."

So I'm reading some other weblogs and come across one where the blogger writes about attempting to change lanes in traffic and a driver, already in the lane into which the blogger would like to merge, speeds up instead of allowing the blogger over in front of him. The blogger then criticizes the other driver, and in the process calls him both a "buttlick" and "jackass", claiming that he endangered the life of her, the blogger's, family.


Let me read that again.

Yes. I'll repeat it here, in quotes, to be sure I get it right.

On her blog, the author says that she was "trying to merge into traffic so (she) wouldn't be forced to get on the interstate and this buttlick saw (her) trying to change lanes WITH (her) signal on and sped up so (she) couldn’t get over, almost causing an accident. That was not only rude but also really dangerous."

Yep. Pretty much what I read the first time.

But Wait! It gets better.

Further on down the post, the writer tells that she "did what any good blogger with a camera would do… (she) got behind him and took his picture at the red light."

Let me summarize this for my deaf readers.

This mom is offended by someone's driving. Claiming he "endangered her family" she drives up behind him.


While behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle of which she is in command, and in which are her dear and darling family, she digs out her camera and snaps a picture.

Wait. What did she say? Who exactly is dangerous? The other driver? Is that what she is saying?

Y'all with me so far?

Then, quite a few commenters wrote in support of (surprise, surprise)(sarcasm - my emphasis) the blogger. Many congratulated her for taking a photo of the so-called (my words) offending car. They called the other driver names such as "jerk" and "asshat".

And apparently someone (my emphasis - again) commented, anonymously, siding with the, and I quote (directly so as to avoid a misquote), "jackass even though he almost caused an accident."

No it wasn't me commenting anonymously. I thought about it though. But I have way too much to say on the subject. Hence, I'm writing my own post on MY blog. Besides the blogger really thought she was in the right. Mistakenly I know. But I doubt sincerely that she would be open to any criticism at this point. As evidenced by:

The blogger's closing remark - "Save it for the next time someone endangers your family with their self-centered inconsideration."

Wow. Big BIG Sigh.

I've thought about this all day.

So here's what I have to say about it, with all due respect to the blogger/driver:

1. Fact. Generally speaking, the motor vehicle which is ALREADY travelling in a traffic lane has ALREADY established the right of way. If you are NOT already in that lane you DO NOT have the right of way in that lane. Generally speaking.

2. Fact. A blinker, turn signal or indicator is just that. An Indicator. A Signal. It lets the other drivers and/or pedestriations have an indication of what your intentions are. Left blinker = merge/turn left. Right blinker = merge/turn right.

3. Fact. A blinker, turn SIGNAL or INDICATOR is NOT a red-carpet invitation. It is NOT a transfer of the "Right of Way". It is NOT a free pass to move on over. Just because you signal does not mean you have permission, or the RIGHT, to go.

For example, pretend you are in a car and are at an intersection and want to turn left/right. You have your turn signal on. At this point, you do not have the right of way to just turn and drive on merrily down the road. Other vehicles and pedestrians have the right of way (you know what I mean) and it must be clear, and safe, before you may LEGALLY turn. Same goes for merging.

4. Fact. The person with the right of way is under NO OBLIGATION to let you merge into his lane. This does not make him selfish, inconsiderate or responsible for anything that may occur to you/your vehicle as a direct/indirect result of you not merging at the exact moment you want to. HE HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY. You HAVE TO YIELD the right of way to him. It is a courtesy for him to yield the right of way to you. To EXPECT or DEMAND otherwise is selfish and inconsiderate on your part.

This is what you should have learned in driver's education classes. This is how it is. These are the proper driving practices you should be performing. You can look it up.

Having said that, let me add my own personal philosophy here:

"I do not reward poor driving habits."

"What exactly does this mean?" you say?

This means that I'm NOT going to let a poor driver in front of me. Please don't confuse this with never letting people merge in front of me. I often let good drivers over. Very frequently. (And truck drivers. And cab drivers. They drive to make a living. But I digress.) Not allowing a poor driver in front of me does NOT mean that I am rude or inconsiderate.

But it does mean that (please read the word "you" in the general sense, not in the specific sense, unless of course the "you" fits):

1. While a person may think they are an excellent driver, most people are not.

2. I can tell by the way you drive you are NOT an excellent driver and this includes waiting until the last minute to attempt to merge because
(a) maybe you are in a hurry and can't wait in line or
(b) maybe you don't feel you have to wait in line like everyone else and want to jump in at the end or
(c) maybe you just weren't paying attention and didn't realize that you have to merge and
in all of these cases I don't want you driving in front of me.

3. You are an accident waiting to happen and I would prefer the accident occur in an area that I've already left/passed than have it occur ahead of me in an area I'm about to enter and possibly affect/delay me.

In any event, let me pass on this piece of advice to people who complain about being behind me and wish they were ahead of me:
Next time, leave earlier.


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