Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm not looking out for you.

I may have found a future career for myself once my working days are over. I could open a driving school. But not your ordinary driving school - oh no. This would be a driving school that would spend all of its time teaching one particular aspect of driving.

The Yield Sign.

The yield sign is the most misunderstood appliance on the highway. My driving school would spend a day or two on it, and students would not graduate (or be allowed to drive at all) until they possessed a total understanding of the sign and what it means to drivers who approach it on the road.
Certainly, drivers understand "Stop" signs and what the colored lights mean. They know that railroad crossings are for trains. They know that speed limit signs signify the "limit of speed" -- OK, so maybe they don't understand everything they see on the road, but let's take it one sign at a time.

Let's say that the yield sign is applied to your everyday life. You're standing in line at the supermarket (my favorite place) and while you're standing there, another shopper walks into your line and just places himself in front of you. That's not right. If life had a yield sign, it would keep people from moving into your line while you're waiting or taking your movie theater seat while you're walking down the aisle in front of them. It means "yield the right of way."

Sadly, drivers who attempt to merge into traffic from a highway on-ramp do not fully understand the meaning of "yield the right of way." It means that you do not have the right of way, and that drivers on the highway do not have to move over to accommodate you or otherwise inconvenience themselves for your benefit. You do not have the right of way.
Understanding what that simple concept means on the road goes a long way toward promoting highway comfort and keeps drivers on the highway from awkwardly moving over into another lane while interlopers plow themselves into traffic from an on-ramp.

Drivers on the highway do not need, nor should they move over into an adjacent lane to make room for other drivers merging - who do not have the right of way - and further inconvenience themselves and the drivers around them. Being on the highway is a particular God given right, and those who are entering need to realize that they are not entitled.
It seems so simple.


junior alien said...

Hey, Anthony, come on over and gain the "German experience".
The principle that you describe is the same over here but the drivers on the highway DO move over to the adjacent lane to make room for the drivers merging - if possible, that is. It's for courtesy reasons really.
As you probably know, there is no general speed limit on German autobahns. While you're merging into highway traffic you have to accelerate to an average speed of let's say 80 mph, so if the drivers on the highway didn't react in some way, the merging lane wouldn't be long enough for you to merge in sometimes.
If ALL drivers are attentive, the whole system works, right? Well, ...

Anthony said...

Speed limits are 55 and 65mph around here. The only places you can get away with 85 is in Arizona and Montana. Maybe others, but those I know.

I wonder if driving in Germany would send me to a mental hospital. I had a nice, 65mph ride to work today, while my fellow drivers kept one eye out for the police. They were camped out on the side, and it was funny to watch them slow down as they sw them and speed up once they passed.
It's all too distracting for me.

junior alien said...

The phenomenon you describe happens just the same over here when there is a speed limit.

You know, driving in Germany drives ME nuts sometimes. I'm all for a speed limit for ecological reasons and to stop this survival of the fittest, ehm, fastest on autobahns.
But who am I? A voice crying in the wilderness. Metal wilderness.

Anthony said...

That's how I feel most (all) of the time. The pull of society's gravity is stronger than any individual trying to affect change.

I'd like to posess the ability to let it roll off my shoulders, but sadly that isn't happening.

I think the biggest issue is that others' actions have an effect on us, and that's where the problem lies. If their problems didn't become our problems, none of it would matter.