rules of the road…

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Surely I’m not the only one who schools other drivers out loud in my car, speaking as if they can hear me though I might not be yelling or offering up hand gestures to punctuate my point.

I admit that I can be a terrible driver. I am already driving like a little old lady most days- afraid of bikes that might not be obeying traffic laws, inching around the narrow Chicago side streets while construction goes on around us all. I drive too slow more often than too fast. I always, every single time, have to remind myself about the “no turn on red” laws in the various states I find my self occupying at the moment. I’m the unintentional asshole driver, the one who lets people in when everyone else scuttles by, the one who actually waits in line for the turn instead of making some crazy attempt to just “get through” the intersection, the one who pulls over to the side of the road when emergency vehicles are present. I do that. It’s all legal but it does piss people off from time to time. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

Ok, so here’s the thing. I was thinking about this the other day. Traffic happens for a reason. It’s not a great cosmic reason. It’s a people reason. And though I like the bumper sticker I spotted once that said, “Traffic happens because cars like to be together” the truth is that traffic happens because: people.

So, while driving today to drop off my sons at school I compiled a little mental list in my head, rules of the road, a kind of rant-y motivational talk. But I forgot what it was after I got home and spent too long cleaning the bedding of the boys’ turtle cage and lost the train of thought. Since I will more than likely be ushering in 4 new drivers to the road in the next few years I thought it might be important to write down a short 3 point list anyway so I was able to resurrect some of the more pressing issues, namely those concerning intersections.

For your consideration today:

Rules of the Road- Intersections

(or how not to be an intentional asshole driver)

Rule #1. If the intersection isn’t clear, don’t enter it.

No matter how much you wish for it, entering an already full intersection is NOT going to get you where you need to go any faster than just waiting at the freaking light. All it is going to do is block the intersection and in doing so, you will draw the ire of all the people who now have the green light and no damn place to go. So, let’s say it together, if the intersection isn’t clear, don’t enter it.

Rule #2. If you’re stuck waiting at a stop sign (because you can’t get through the intersection) then wait there til it clears up enough for you to proceed on your merry way. Once again, blocking the intersection just because it’s “your turn” is a stupid thing to do. It makes you an asshole driver so quit it. Let the guy to your right go straight across and proceed on his or her merry way because his or her way is clear. It’s not a competition. You don’t “win” for blocking the four-way stop. Nobody wins.

Rule #3. While heading straight on a road and waiting in backed up traffic at a light or stop sign where another street crosses (even without a stop sign facing you) don’t block the entrance or exit to that street. Just because there’s no light or stop sign facing YOU at the side street doesn’t mean you get to park your stupid car there until you get through. It’s not your “right” to just get that extra 10 feet closer to the goal, it’s just dumb and causes backups for those of us who need to turn left onto that side street. See how that works?

I do apologize for the swear-y nature of this post and I promise I will bring it up to my priest when I get to confession next time. As a penance I’ll spare you the next installment of Rules of the Road for now. This one is all about parking and just thinking about it raises my blood pressure. Nice, huh?

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