01 May, 2007

Observations from the Street

I would like to take a moment to... discuss a few things.
Let me start by saying that I am a pedestrian. Yes, in my part of Virginia, this is a rarely seen occurrence as not many are as daring (or as stupid) as am I. As a pedestrian who values life, mine and that of others, I take the traffic laws very seriously (apparently more seriously than do many drivers), thus, I cross on corners, with lights, in crosswalks (though they are just as rare as pedestrians in this area), etc. I take my responsibility to follow the laws seriously as it could be my life that is on the line.

It is in this light that I would like to provide the following observations:

Bad drivers do not come from any specific state. Despite popular belief, Maryland drivers are about the same as any other drivers in the country... there are good and bad drivers everywhere. That said, if a Virginia drivers sees someone doing something "stupid" they will jump to the conclusion that said driver is from Maryland.

The little red sign which appears on a corner on the right side of the road says "stop." This does not mean yield, speed up, reduce your speed by .25 and continue with caution. This means, foot off the gas, foot on brake, and stop.

While we are discussing "stop", if the car in front of you comes to a full stop, you can not use his "stop" as your "stop." You must (Virginians are BAD about this) follow his example and stop at the corner. This applies to the guy five cars back as well!

One more sign I would like to call to your attention... "Yield for Pedestrians."
Yes, I know that you are in a hurry. I realize that you are turning right; can turn right on red; and that there is a line of cars behind you waiting to turn as well. That said, when the little sign tells me that I can walk, and I step out into the street, you are supposed to yield rather than try and run me over or beat me to the inside lane of the road. Hitting me is not going to get you to work that much faster.

One last observation, which doesn't concern pedestrians, when you are the tenth car back at a stop light... why honk a second after the light turns green? I have never figured this out. I just don't get it. Similarly, I don't get the driver who honks when the car in front has stopped due to something blocking his path... like a group of pedestrians.

Driving pet peeves have been on one of our radio stations. The conclusion seems to be that people have lost touch with what it is to be in the world beyond the confines of their car. Enclosed in a car, one is focused solely on oneself, destination, purpose... and whatever else is going on at the time. We have lost touch with basic traffic laws, driving etiquette, and with the reality that we are in a hurry charging through life at the wheel of a monster that weighs a few tons.

I have heard it said that the same mentality is invading our grocery stores! Watch out for speeding, non yielding, and entirely too rude behavior executed by the drivers of those carts!


Martian said...

Hi, Exception.

The conclusion seems to be that people have lost touch with what it is to be in the world beyond the confines of their car. Enclosed in a car, one is focused solely on oneself, destination, purpose...

Uh, huh. Those people aren't alive. Exactly. This world gives us what we really need, if we're only willing to accept the gift........

JustRun said...

I think these drivers are the same people that let their kids wear those "wheelie" shoes all over the place. I don't want to harm a kid but if they fly out on wheels in front of my grocery cart one more time, there's no telling what's going to happen!


Norma Haacke said...

It's the modernization of the self. We don't live in a community anymore, where a village raises a child.

We live in our silos and that causes too many people to only look out for themselves, and not the greater good of all.

The Exception said...

Those shoes drive me crazy.

People need to leave their cars and remember what it is to enjoy walking, riding, running...nature.

Today someone turned left, form the outside lane... across three lanes of cars. I was stunned.

And whit, I lost your comment but... I grew up thinking that the worst drivers were in Tucson, where running red lights is a way of life. PHX is worse. New Mexico is like CA... no one knows what stop means. Then I moved to SF... and wow... talk about great driving! I loved it there.

And here, everyone just blames their poor driving on the people who live across the river...sigh!