It is very easy to miss a road sign and suddenly realize the left turn lane you need is one lane to your left and that lane is full. The choice is relatively easy. Since you pay your taxes just like everyone else, you could simply stop in your lane and hold up the 9 or 10 cars behind you for as long as it takes for the lane you want to clear. Whoda ever thunk you could continue down the road and legally turn around?
I may have been naive in thinking that the “Right lane closed ahead” sign is meant to notify drivers they should immediately start the process of merging into the left lane? Based on the observed driving habits of many power drivers, the sign must suggest they wait to merge until the last second so they can force their way into the left lane. By doing this, the ne’er-do-well can cause other drivers to slam on their brakes, trigger traffic to bottleneck, and increase everyone’s travel time.
Do drivers in the lanes ahead of you ever drive side-by-side at the same speed and reduce your progress? On city streets, one might think the driver lingering in the left lane is looking for a left hand turn. On the interstate highway, however, you have to wonder if the left lane lingerer is day-dreaming, talking on a cellphone or perhaps intentionally driving slowly to show everyone else who is boss.
Every state has a set of laws that govern rules of the road. They tell us how fast we can drive, when to turn, when to stop and when to yield. The rules are developed by traffic experts and adopted by legislators as a guide. It has been said “Without rules, there is no order. With no order, there is no structure. Without structure, there are no limits. Without limits there is chaos.” Because most drivers have their own set of rules of the road, chaos is a common byproduct, and annual traffic related human deaths are counted by the tens of thousands.
Are we too quick to judge people as imbeciles because of their driving habits? Reality will tell us that we too have likely performed a stupid driving maneuver at least once. Some people, however, just seem to be lousy drivers.
We wait our turn at the drive-thru, theater, teller line, checkout counter and pedestrian crosswalk. Why should we expect it to be different when we are in traffic? Waiting is a fact of life, so get over it.
My hope is that we have the composure to tolerate foolish people the way they are, the nerve to control ourselves, and the insight to recognize that if we follow through with our true desire, our next bedroom might be a 6’ by 8’ cell.
Driving is indeed a game, and you will be the biggest loser if you insist on following your own unwritten rules. Everyone sees things through different colored glasses, and we all have our own driving peeves. Examine your driving habits to see if you are “DWI.” If you recognize your ignorance, it can be fixed.
Charlie Sewell is the Powder Springs chief of police. His column runs monthly in the Marietta Daily Journal.