5/14/08

San Francisco drivers--an off-topic rant.

Dear San Francisco drivers,

When you have the right-of-way at an intersection, I urge you to take it. Use it. Exercise your right to go. By going. Go.

Or "GO!" as I screamed at the umpteenth person I lately encountered who, instead of going, lingered.

Why linger? You got there first. It's your right to go. You should go. I entreat you to go. Your lingering disrupts the rhythm of things. You're not helping. In fact, you're harming. You slow things down. You make driving worse than it already is.

Are you not aware that it's your right to go first when you stop first? It is! And when you stop at the same time, right-of-way passes to person on the right. Yes, that's you! It's your turn! So go.

Has this knowledge lately fallen out of human awareness--like the One Ring lost in the Misty Mountains until stumbled upon by Bilbo Baggins? No, I don't think that's it...

I think people just aren't paying attention. They experience genuine surprise to find another person at the intersection. It's, like, "Oh my gosh! There's another person in the world driving right now! And he's at my intersection--what are the odds of that? (Is that why the stop sign is there in the first place?) Geez, I wonder who should go."

This happens when people are not paying attention. Because if you're paying attention to the world outside of your vehicular enclosure it's easy to notice who's stopping when and where. I know because I do it all the time and I'm nothin' special. It can be easy for you too. Just try paying attention. You'll see.

Yours truly,

chuck b., my back 40 (feet)

7 comments:

seeded said...

Hmm. I've been assuming that people who don't go when they should at intersections are assuming that I am one of the all-too-common lousy drivers nowadays who will not yield to their rightful right-of-way and will, in fact, lean out my window and scream obscenities at them as I'm driving past if they dare to try to go before me, whether it's their right or not.

But I live in the Midwest, not San Francisco, and maybe our respective fellow drivers are different. I think I like your interpretation better.

Frances, said...

Hmmm, you seem a little overwrought at one of life's little bumps. Do you really scream, even inside the car, at driver's who aren't 100 % on top of things all the time? But I like the hobbit explanation best, so let's go with that one. The awareness that others exist in cars besides one's own has been lost. Where is Gollum when we need him?

chuck b. said...

This is not an isolated even that happens once in awhile. It happens 95% of the time. If the rule is now to stop for several seconds, stare at each other until someone decides to go, I would like to get the memo.

Christopher C. NC said...

Indecision at a four way stop sign sounds better than the breakdown of traffic rules that was happening on Maui before I left. I missed the memo that was put out that said left hand turns had the right of way over a right hand turn at an intersection. My warning to visiting company if they drove was the right of way has broken down on Maui and to be careful.

Anonymous said...

It was always my impression when I lived in San Francisco that four-way stops must have been only recently introduced to the city, because nobody seemed to know what to do when they arrived at one. However, after nine years there I did discover the one rule that consistently applied -- in Pacific Heights and similar neighborhoods -- was that the larger and/or more expensive vehicle was considered to have the right of way. Thus, a BMW X5 takes precedence over an Audi Quattro, which in turn gets to go before a VW Golf. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Annie in Austin said...

Could a possible reason be all the darkly tinted windshields? It's hard to know if the other person sees you or is law abiding when he/she's invisible. And it's even harder to guess if he/she is talking on a cellphone.

Gee, that makes me sound like Emily Litela, but so be it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

People are just frustrating...I love when I'm the last to arrive at a 4-way, yet nobody else will go...I mean...come on..