Crossing the Great Divide

There is a joke I love to tell… “One of the worst things while driving is when some guy gets right up on your bumper, you know, right in your tail pipe, and he just stays there. You are driving over the speed limit already but this guy is right on your ass. Burns me up. Worse than that though are those people who drive so slow, I mean, you have to get right up on their bumper to get them to move!”

The funniest thing about that joke is that everyone laughs, and at the same time a good 75% or better of your audience is only laughing to cover up the fact that they know they are guilty.

Because of jokes like that, and my desire to avoid as much irony in my personal life as I can… hey, irony is great when you catch other people, but being caught in an ironic situation yourself just blows most of the time… I try to avoid tailgating people, people who tailgate and other like situations while driving.

One that I cannot avoid though are the people who block intersections. First off, when you take the driver’s exam, one of the rules you study and one of the questions you have to answer covers this. Don’t block intersections. Now, the main reason for this is if an ambulance, fire truck, or police car need to go through and you are blocking it… well, lets just say you wouldn’t like to get to heaven and find out that the reason you died was because some schmuck blocked an intersection and delayed EMS in reaching you in time… nor would you like to die and go to hell and find out that you are there because you causes the death of some very nice people because you needed to get to the mall 30 seconds sooner than if you had just waited through the next light.

And that’s the crux of what I don’t get… most traffic could be avoided if people just stopped thinking about themselves and thought about the bigger picture. Traffic sucks, but its a fact of driving. By blocking the intersection all you are doing is making it suck more because while you hang there all the cross traffic can’t go. You might think to yourself, “This traffic sucks so I need to take every advantage I can to get where I’m going.” But do you know why the traffic sucks? Its because other schmucks are blocking other intersections.

So, to rectify the situation… step 1, learn your car. Is your car 10 feet long? 20? step 2, learn to spot length from a distance. You know, you don’t have to be spot on, but if your car is 20 feet long and there is only 6 inches of space on the other side of the intersection, 20 feet clearly does not fit into 6 inches. step 3, don’t pull into the intersection until there is enough room or traffic movement to accommodate your car. It’s actually pretty simple, if the cars aren’t moving and there isn’t enough room, don’t go. If there is enough room, go. If the room is a bit short but you can clearly see cars moving and the light is green, go. And just because the car in front of you can make it doesn’t mean you can. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose… and sometimes you have to wait a whole minute for the next light. Turn up the radio and enjoy the wait.

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