Monday, June 13, 2011

Remedial Learning

For a moment, let's return to kindergarten and review one of the tenants of early childhood; sharing. Learn to Share.

Let's now fast forward to the current day and apply said tenant; Learn to Share the Road.

I had two incidents happen recently, one last last week and the other happened this morning. Last week's incident had parallels to this morning's incident; another motorist that seemed to think the the space I currently occupied was their's to take. I tend to take offense when you think my space is yours. Scenario; I am approaching the intersection of two four-lane undivided streets. There are  no turn lanes on either street. So, if you're turning left, traffic in your lane will be forced to stop until you can safely turn. I am in the left lane and have had my left turn signal on for the last sixty feet. I have another fifty to sixty feet to go before reaching the intersection. The traffic in the right lane has slowed for some reason and as I'm going past a large Mercedes-Benz (S Class, I believe), the driver decides to (classically) flip on the left turn signal AND change lanes without looking in his mirrors or checking over his left shoulder. At this point, I'm opposite his left rear passenger door. There's no time to apply the brakes to provide room for him. I hit the horn and veer to the far left side of my lane of traffic. He slows his advance into my lane but only enough to allow me to pass. He's now inches from my rear wheel and I'm beginning to apply the brakes so I can make the left turn. He zooms past me, still partially in my lane and manages to hit my right wrist with his rear view mirror. This knocks my hand off the grip and kind of into a "F You" arm gesture. I see him check his rear view mirror (to see if I was coming after him or to see if I'd been hurt/knocked over?) and continue on, not even applying the brakes to slow down (in other words, "full flight" mode). I wear gloves with some serious padding on the back of the hand and wrist. I completed the left turn, a little shaken, and continued on to the office.

This morning was similar; I was stopped at the intersection of two four lane non-divided streets. I was in the left lane about six vehicles back from the light (i.e. sixth in line). In the right lane are a couple of cars, a big semi full of hot blacktop, a silver Mercedes (not the same as above) and a white Honda CRV. The typical modus operandi, for vehicles like the Mercedes and the Honda, is to hope someone in the left lane is a little slow so they can cut in front and avoid being stuck behind the slow semi. The silver Mercedes pulled it off, jumping in front of the minivan in front of me. But, the speed of both lanes was reduced for some reason so there wasn't much spacing between vehicles. At about 40 mph, I'm nearly abreast of the Honda. Again, I'm watching for the glance in the mirrors or the look over the shoulder. Nothing. Older woman driver (lots of grey hair) yet not elderly. As I expected, here she comes, drifting into my lane. I honk the horn and she returns to her spot behind the semi. When she realizes what she's done she sucks in a large volume of air and releases it through her mouth. She's obviously perplexed and put-out by the fact that I am where I am. I shoot her a look over my right shoulder and give her the palms up gesture ("what are you doing?). She slows considerably as I maintain the speed limit (45 mph). As we approach the next light, she will not even come close to pulling up along side me, hanging back to avoid confrontation. Really? If you're that timid, then why drive like you own the road? Perhaps she'll a least check her mirrors for the rest of the day (but, I doubt it).

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