EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

Bobbing and Weaving: A Plea For Help.

Ever since moving to South Florida three years ago I began to refer to driving as dodgeball.  Ben Stiller be damned – this isn't about comedy, it's about principle and the longer you drive down here the more you begin to feel that people are actually trying to hit you!

Now, I've got to be careful with broad, blanket statements like that because there are millions of drivers down here and they don't all suck.  But there's so many bad drivers doing so many bad things that I was literally afraid to drive for the first six months that I was down here!  The thing that really got to me was the unpredictability of it all; the best way I can explain it is with a quote from a two truck driver I met the other day: "Turn signals are optional equipment down here."

Now for the backstory.  Back in 2000, me and the boys were making the run from D.C. back to north Jersey and a friend of mine got all riled up watching a driver on I-95 change lanes without signaling first.  Previously I'd thought it was just bad manners but I really hadn't committed enough brain cells to the concept to take it any further than that.  He said it was a pet peeve of his and, with him being a pretty reasonable guy, that got me to thinking 'why would a minor inconvenience, and a seemingly harmless one at that, get an otherwise rational person so pissed off'? 

In spite of the abundance of regulations regarding how a motor vehicle should be operated we are largely left ot govern ourselves out there.  In any kind of thing that has multiple moving parts, some degree of coordination is required to ensure proper execution of task.  Think about the engine in your vehicle – regardless of the fuel, that engine is being coordinated in some sort of way.  Think about your favorite sports team – it doesn't matter what sport they play, they're all trying to work in some sort of cohesive rhythm.  Think about any kind of military unit anywhere in the world.  Coordinated.  Think about what happens when that coordination breaks down in any of those examples.  Blown engines…  busted plays…  wounded soldiers…  badness, basically. 

Put simply, using turn signals gives pedestrians and other drivers the ability to accurately anticipate where you intend to be.  They, then, can make sure that they're not there when you're there, get it?  The faster things happen the less time we have to react to those happenings and the more important it becomes to have this power of anticipation available to us. 

Ok, so on a conceptual level this makes sense but what about applying it to real world situations?  How many times have you waited at an intersection because of the presence of an oncoming vehicle only to find that vehicle turning at the same intersection and you waited because they did not indicate that intention to turn?  What about being on the highway and having to REACT SUDDENLY because someone just up ahead decided that they wanted to be where you were about to go and didn't warn you they were coming?

Here's the part I need help with.  I know that the law says we're supposed to do this and that there are rational, safety-oriented concerns that validate these laws but I also know that a great many drivers only signal turns and lane changes:

  1. when there's a cop right on their ass – except for South Floridians, where the cops will Bob & Weave too!
  2. when they're going to cut you off at such short range that they're concerned you not hit your brakes in time to avoid a collision.

What I'd like to understand, if at all possible, is the other side of this argument.  Is it simply unreasonable to expect someone to use their blinkers when one hand is on the wheel and the other holding their cell phone?  Is it just more fun when the thrill of injury is part of your everyday commute?  Since moving down here I've found what was once a rare occurance is now commonplace; an average of 3.5 in 10 drivers will not warn you of an impending lane change on the highway and that number rises to 5 in 10 on the street!  I don't understand crackheads either but at least they can hide behind their addiction.  Can someone please tell me how to rationalize this behavior? 

-E

April 17, 2006 - Posted by | Driving

2 Comments »

  1. I can easily rationalize this behavior IN ONE SITUATION: The offender is ‘cutting off’ another car. I am very guilty of this – here the scenario:
    I am driving in the left (fast) lane.
    Idiot is driving in front of me, doing 25mph.
    Due to sheer road rage, I (using my turn signal) move into the middle lane, then quickly (no signal) move in front of Idiot.
    So basically, I do it to purposely piss off another drive who has pissed me off.
    I know it’s not right….but that’s MY rationale :p

    Comment by Poca | April 18, 2006 | Reply

  2. Well that’s understandable. When you do something to piss somebody off you’ve got to expect some payback in return so, I can see that and in fact I’ve done worse! It’s the ones that have some sort of perceived opposition to this whole ‘coordination of moving parts’ thing is what I don’t get.

    Comment by barber | April 18, 2006 | Reply


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