Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beware of The Courteous Driver

The title of this post may sound a bit negative.  There is nothing wrong with being a courteous and defensive driver.  However there are times when courtesy has superseded the rules of the road, resulting in the disruption of the rhythmic flow of traffic for which laws were designed to regulate. 

How many times have you been driving down the road following a vehicle in front of yours?  The road appears clear ahead.  The traffic is not heavy, it is flowing in all directions without major issues.  There is a road or lane off to the left ahead.  A car is waiting at the intersection to make a left turn.  All of a sudden the car in front of you hits the brakes, slows or comes to a stop and motions to the other driver to pull out and make a left turn.  The car in front of you then proceeds to go forward again.  If you were driving along and if you had not been paying attention to the flow of traffic you may have ended up crashing into he rear end of the vehicle in front of you because there was no noticeable reason for him to stop. 

I have seen this all to often.  I have been at an intersection waiting to make a left turn, and the driver of the vehicle that was turning left into the street I was pulling out of is motioning for me to make the left turn before he makes his.  This could be a courteous act or it could lead to catastrophe.  If you are not watching traffic and take his waving you out as a signal that it is safe to make the turn, you could very well be pulling out into the path of a vehicle that you did not see. 

The bottom line is that the traffic laws were made to ensure safe movement of traffic.  For some reason drivers seem to think it is good thing to disrupt the normal flow of traffic to be courteous.  I often have drivers try to flag me out, or let me pull out in front of them when they have the right of way.  I always motion for them to move on or make their turn.  I would rather wait and make sure that my turn is done safely and within the law.  That way I reduce the chance of an accident resulting from an act of kindness.

If you have had a similar experience, please write and let me know how you handled it.

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