This will be the last of my traffic rants. I promise. At least for a little while. Unless, of course a new kind of jackass evolves. I’ve written about special people and special people on the highway before. Today, I’m going to focus on the special people on the neighborhood streets where we begin and end our journeys.
If you’re wondering about the title, frequently, when I encounter these people, despite the fact that they are in the wrong, I get the puzzled look, or the gesture or the horn-honk.
Note: The drawings are linked pair. Click anywhere to view them as a mini-slide-show.
The Corner Cutter – Remember Driver’s Ed? They taught us to ALWAYS stay in our lane. They drew diagrams to help us form a mental 90° curved corner. Although they cautioned us against doing it, they reminded us that: “people turning left onto a side street and people turning right, from that same street, should be able to travel together.”
Not no more they can’t.
Corner cutters want to reduce that 90° to two 45°s, and they want to do it through the space I’m in. The number of times a car turning left onto the street I’m on, crosses through the crosswalk in front of me is scary. The number of times I get the look is absurd.
The Inverse Corner Cutter – My wife often criticizes me for not signaling. I do signal, a least when there are people around to see my signal. One place where I am tempted to stop signaling is when I’m approaching an intersection where I am planning to turn right and a person is stopped in the side street, planning to turn left.
This is the nicest place to signal. My signal means that that person can go. Except, they very often go through my lane so that I have to stop. And then I get the look.
Just Go Folks – My afternoon commute brings me to an odd intersection where the side street I’m on merges with the main 4-lane road at about 60°. There’s a crosswalk and a left-turn-lane on my street. Stopped behind the crosswalk, I can’t see the cross traffic that’s approaching. If I crank my head around like Linda Blair, I can see the traffic, but I can no longer see the crosswalk. If a minivan, SUV or a truck pulls up on my left, I can’t see the traffic. You see a pattern? I sit at this light until it turns green.
Most people seem to understand why I’m waiting. I get honked at, from time to time, but I ignore the honkers. The best time this happened was when I ignored a honker because there was a truck next to me. A School Bus passed on the cross street. Our light turned green. I pulled out. The honker pulled out, sped up and tried to pass me, only to find the School Bus waiting to turn left off the main road. Karma :)
I Can Beat You Folks – Also known as The School Bus Disaster Waiting to Happen – I often follow a School Bus through a neighborhood on my way home. At one point, the driver stops beyond the intersection with a side street. One day, a car coming toward bus wanted to turn left onto that side street. A kid getting off bus proceeded to cross the side street. I was stopped behind bus. As soon as the bus pulled out, the car in the other lane tried to turn left ahead of me. The bus was blocking his view of the child, whom he almost ran over.
I Know Where the Light is Part-A – There’s an intersection in our town where most of us locals know to stop waaaaay behind the crosswalk. That’s because it’s a tight corner and it gets a lot of truck traffic. There is No Turn On Red at this corner, but I often get honked at by a guy behind me with his right turn-signal on. “Sorry dude. Yeah, you can give me the look, I’m used to it.”
I Know Where the Light is Part-B – I know that if I pull though the crosswalk and block the intersection, that I (and the guy behind me) will probably be able to scoot through the light after it turns red. Unfortunately, I flunked my driver’s test in Washington because I didn’t stop behind “the implied crosswalk” and I once racked-up two tickets in two days for going through a red light. I’m gonna stop, and I’m gonna stop behind the crosswalk.