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Dennis Eric Stout
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Perspective One:
As I got into my car this morning, I noted that there was a truck parked along the street right across from my driveway. Not really an issue, but it does reduce the roadway to a single lane so I'll have to be careful backing out. I get into my car, and as I am backing up past the trees that line my driveway, the intersection not far from my house comes into view. Three cars turn the corner, and I stop to wait for them to pass. Then the lead car stops and the driver waves me into the street! A million things go through my mind, including their motive. Are they being nice? They're holding back two others for my one car, so I don't think so. If I do pull out and they decide to hit me, I'll automatically be at fault for all kinds of things! I choose to sit and wait, they give up and continue on.

Perspective Two:
I wasn't in too much of a rush, the post office didn't close for another hour and a half yet. On my way to the post office, I was in the right-most lane of a 4 lane street and stopped behind a decent line of cars at a traffic light. The light turned green, and cars started moving forward, but then the truck in front of me just sat there! I tried to look around him to see if there was a problem of some sort, then I realized he was waving to a guy in a parking lot. The guy in the parking lot was trying to look around the truck, to no avail, and the guy in the truck was waving at him more emphatically to go. The guy finally went, crossing our lane and moving to the next lane over to get into a turn lane going left at the intersection. When he made it into the lane to my left, a car went past me and hit him. I spent the next few hours waiting for the police to arrive, ask questions, get a tow truck to remove the vehicles and re-open the roadway, etc.. The driver from the parking lot couldn't see around the truck and was cited as at fault since he failed to yield for oncoming traffic. The cop advised him not to enter a roadway if he can't see through any sort of obstruction. I went home, the post office was closed by the time I could leave. Perhaps tomorrow. Luckily nobody was hurt.

Perspective Three:
I picked up my dry cleaning after a long day at work and just want to go home, eat something and get some sleep. I drove around the parking lot, got to the street, and traffic was backed up from the intersection past the driveway I was in. The light turned green, and I patiently waited for everyone to go before I went. Some kind soul stopped to give me time to turn onto the road so I could go home. As I pulled out, they suddenly lurched forward and t-boned me! He told me he was distracted, reading a txt on his phone, then realized the light was green and he hadn't moved yet so he excitedly moved on. But when the police officer arrived, he told a different story: he was moving along like he was supposed to be and I pulled out in front of him without looking! The liar! And the police officer believed him too, cited me with failure to yield for oncoming traffic and now I'm going to need my car repaired and my insurance rates are going to climb... and the insurance adjuster says I'll owe the other guy 6,000$ to fix HIS truck! It was barely scratched! What a stupid day.

Perspective Four:
I was leaving school, heading home to do some homework. The trip home isn't particularly long, but it's punctuated by a lot of stop lights and stop signs. At some point, this little blue car turned in front of me. Shortly after, he stopped in the middle of the street for no reason! Then I saw him waving at someone in their driveway, and they backed out into the road and went about their day. Another few intersections and stop signs later, he stopped again and let another person onto the road. A few cars had joined in line behind me. Continuing on, we stopped a third time to let someone onto the road, this time from a side street. More cars fell into line behind us, and the one behind me lightly honked their horn. A few minutes later, we stopped again and I could hear three different distinct horns behind me honking as we let yet another car onto the road before us. Luckly, the little blue car turned off and I was able to complete my drive home, but that half of the trip behind the little blue car took me longer than the entire trip takes on a normal day!


Driving laws are written to be equally fair to everyone; people on the roadway and people entering the roadway. They're also written with insurance law and collision statistics kept in mind. Deviating from the standard driving pattern presented in drivers manuals presents a danger to those you're trying to be polite to, opens up doors for insurance abuse, and often results in pissing off more people than you actually help.

Don't deviate from the prescribed driving pattern.
Guh! Some days I feel like there's something in the air and all the drivers are out to kill me :) Those days, I actually will give up and just go home - it's not worth it.

I remember my friend's grandfather telling her that he *will not* stop (outside of a marked pedestrian crossing) for a pedestrian to cross the street - because he's seen it happen where one car stops for the pedestrian, who crosses confidently in front of that car, and gets hit by the car flying up in the next lane who doesn't realize why that car is stopped in the middle of the road....

When I was learning to drive, my mom taught me the basics, then paid for 10 hours of "official" training - she said that way they could nip any bad habits in the bud that I picked up from her :) Also, the training included a practice exam. The one thing I still remember from the training is the instructor saying "think of the road as a stream - you DO NOT want to be the rock sticking up out of the stream, forcing the water to move around it - you want to be the leaf floating on the stream, being *one* with the traffic flow" - he said this means sometimes you're going slower than the speed limit, and sometimes you might be going slightly faster than the speed limit - he actually said that it's safer to drive a bit faster, and keep up with traffic, than to be the slower car, that everyone has to go around.

you DO NOT want to be the rock sticking up out of the stream, forcing the water to move around it

...

he actually said that it's safer to drive a bit faster, and keep up with traffic, than to be the slower car, that everyone has to go around.

Lots of truth in that. That's what I preach to everyone else, and what I hope I captured when distilling the concepts into the ADD safe "Don't deviate from established traffic patterns" phrase.

State of Alaska puts it into print. The speed limit on a road is whatever 85% of the people are doing, regardless of what is posted. This works in both directions: impeding or speeding. Further, they have posted "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs posted. Take these two concepts together, and you end up with "Left lane is the fast lane, and the speed limit is what everyone agrees to".

Put simply, "If you see nothing but miles of empty road ahead of you and miles of headlights behind you, move right."