Friday Firesmith – Traffic

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When in doubt human beings will do nothing. They will sit and they will stare. They will not move or think or even so much as offer a clue as to what might be done next. Mostly, this happens in traffic. And where it happens is a fairly predictable thing. All that needs to be done is to change something, anything at all, or worse, have something new or different, and you can paralyze a human being to the point not even the sound of a horn will move them.

Yesterday a woman who was talking on a cell phone went into a state of shock when she realized she couldn’t make a right turn onto a one way street, that is, if the traffic on that one way street was coming at her once she did make that turn. Okay, when you realize if you make a turn you’ll be facing traffic there are various options. First, assume everyone else is wrong and plough ahead; Occupy one way. Two, you could realize your conversation is affecting your ability to drive so you could hang up, make a left or go straight, because really, the right turn thing isn’t happening. But no, this chick Charlie outs and picks “C” which is to sit there and wonder when those sneaky sign people changed the street. The answer to that question is “some point in the 80’s” but don’t let that stop you.

I’ve never met anyone from any state or any country where there is a large rural population and have that person tell me, “Yes, where I am from people understand the concept of the four way stop with great acumen!” Because as simple as the concept is people totally get locked down at a four way stop. It mystifies them. It befuddles them. We will one day unearth a symbol of great vexation to the human mind spawned by some ancient culture and it will look exactly like a four way stop sign. You can put a four way stop in the middle of some vast plain where anyone at the intersection can see for a thousand miles yet someone will pull up to the sign and wait for another vehicle to stop before they pull through, or they’ll wait until the other vehicle has sat there for a full minute and try to wave them through.

Then there are those people who will stop and turn on their blinker in the left lane, but there’s a turn lane right next to them. Not only do they block traffic behind then, but no one else is going to enter the turn lane while these morons are sitting there acting like they’re going to turn. And while we’re on the subject, I could draw a pie chart with two equal parts spilt right down the middle. The first is “those people who never use their blinkers” and the second would be “those people who leave their blinkers on for miles and miles and miles”.

And then there are those people who rush to pass you so they can get one car length ahead you right before a traffic light, or worse, cut you off in traffic just to make a turn one hundred feet after they pass you. There are the ever popular drivers who will let someone into their lane from some liquor store parking lot and meanwhile, there are a hundred people backed up a miles who have been waiting a lot longer than the geezer buying some cheap gin. Of course,
when it’s me coming out of the liquor store parking lot, these people are saints, I tell you.

There are a few of my favorite drivers. Do you have any I missed?

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

25 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Traffic”

  1. Please include the old geeezers who drive in the passing lane on the interstate at 45 mph with the left turn signal on. They can be easily spotted by their car, usually an older Cadillac that they are driving while looking from underneath the rim of the steering wheel. The police in south Florida refer to them as Q-Tips.

    • Damn, Richard, how did I miss that one????? My father will get into the fast lane and drive the speed limit and drive people nuts. His theory is the speed limit is as fast as you can go..lawfully, so no one else ought to be going faster.

      It’s a religious experience to ride with this man on the open road.

  2. the idiot who pulls out in front of me when there is nothing behind me as far back as I can see and then the POS does 10 miles under the speed limit ,why where they in soo much of a hurry and then drive slow

  3. and the ones that run the red light at intersections when the POS can see there is no way they can get through and then the light changes and the other people cant go nowhere because the POS has the intersection blocked ,God I could write on here all day

    • Drivers who drive up to pedestrians and continue to inch forward as the pedestrians cross the street in the cross walk.

      I also agree with Infi, people who turn when the light has turned red only to block traffic drive me nuts!

      Or those who change lanes to get away from a slow driver and go slow themselves and leave you stuck behind two slow drivers, and they are not even going the speed limit.

      Okay, I think I’ll stop.

  4. the driver that is turning at a light in the merge lane but instead of traveling down the lane and merging into traffic they wait at the light with blinker on for a gap to appear so they can then gun it and try to swoop into the spot. (which they usually miss because they weren’t up to speed)

    ps i love riding a motorcycle that has instant acceleration and i don’t need to worry about getting up to speed, as it goes 0-60 in what feels like 2 seconds

  5. And then there are those who cannot seem to grasp the concept behind MERGE. It’s just like a zipper, stupid.

  6. The right lane ends and the merge left sign is posted for several hundred feet,
    yet there’s always the few idiots that insist on riding the lane all the way to the end. They either force their way in between cars (sometimes with inches to spare!), or get mad when other drivers won’t let them in. The lane ending has been there for years, yet they play this game every single day.

  7. I leave plenty of space between me and the car in front of me its not there for some POS to whip in front of me trying to pass everybody on the road because they are in a HURRY HURRY HURRY,ok Ill stop now before I write a Bella style rant,and I love you Bella

  8. How about the dolts that no longer remember that the YIELD!!!!! sign on the on ramps applies to them.
    Or those that stop in 55 mph traffic to let those dolts in.

  9. The ones I hate are those who don’t realize that highway on ramps are called acceleration lanes for a reason. It’s so you have a safe place to accelerate to highway speeds before you enter said highway! Not to 35 and then get pissed why you can’t marge into traffic.

    I also hate those that approach highway work zones and insist on staying in the lane that will close until the last second. Thinking that they can save a few more minutes if they can get a few cars ahead. While it may be true, what they don’t realize is that of everybody just merged as soon as possible, traffic will flow much better.

    The last one that I see quite frequently being a locomotive engineer are the ones who risk their lives driving around lowered gates at a railroad crossing. Sure, the train will be there maybe a minute or two, but is the length of time worth risking death if you misjudged the trains speed and distance from the crossing and get hit by said train traveling at 50 mph?

  10. In my hometown one of the freeway onramps has a very short merge area. And it is uphill. So you really have to floor it to get over 45-50 mph by the time you hit the top of the ramp and can match the speed of the other cars in the right lane.

    This onramp is downtown. So it can get rather busy when people leave work.

    When a a truck, or a very slow vehicle, uses that onramp, they don’t have a chance of reaching freeway speed by the time they have to merge. That causes the cars on the freeway to have to slow way day to let him in, causing a chain reaction of congestion in the right lane. And the merging truck has no choice but to force their way in.

    So, when I find myself behind one of these trucks, I pause a few seconds at the bottom and give myself a lot space. I use that space to rapidly accelerate so that by the time I hit the top and have to merge. the stupid truck has already merged and the mess he created by merging at 25mph is cleared up. Usually I don’t have to wait more than 10 seconds.

    However, when I do this, the cars behind flip out and start going crazy. They start leaning on their horns and flipping me off.

    But these idiots behind me don’t understand is that if I tailgated that truck up the ramp, and they tailgated me, then we would have 8 cars all trying to merge at 20 mph, causing an ever bigger clusterf**k at the top. By giving him a little breathing room, everything works fine.

    I guess people just can’t plan ahead.

  11. When it comes to a 4-way stop, lots of them here, any hesitation, I quickly count to 3, then go. You snooze, you lose. It’s not lack of courtesy, it’s efficiency.

    Remember, that all those idiots texting or on cell phones applies to you too… Yeah, I know, you only do it responsibly….just like everyone else.

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