Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Driving Mentality

I was walking home yesterday after work, through residential streets. I approached an intersection. There was a car coming from the side street, but it was a ways back and not going too fast so I continued walking across the intersection.

The car slowed down for me (it didn't even need to stop) but at the same time it blasted its horn repeatedly at me. I assume for having the nerve to impede its progress. The driver raised her hands at me as if to say "what do you think you're doing". Uhhh ... I'm crossing the road, legally and properly, at an intersection. I didn't step out into traffic or anything silly. It was broad daylight.

What happened to pedestrians having right of way? It's obviously a thing of the past. Interestingly, a woman with two small children was waiting on the other side of the intersection to cross. She obviously knew that pedestrians no longer had rights and didn't even attempt to cross when there was a car anywhere in the vicinity.

I realize this is not the normal case. That's when you stand by the side of the road and watch the cars zoom by without them even considering slowing or stopping to let you cross. After all, we're walking, and therefore second class citizens, and must have all the time in the world to wait. Whereas they are driving, and all drivers are on urgent missions and have to get wherever they're going as fast as possible. Heaven forbid you should get in their way.


  1. It is one of Bound's Laws: People in Motion are more important than people at rest".

    In this crowded country we have traffic management: "Fast traffic brought to your very door".

    We do though have some snesible measures - humps in city streets and uch disliked they are too.

    In our village when our turn comes round - the devices are expensive, indeed probably cost as much as it does to pay a team to move one from site to site, a "your speed is n mph" is flashed up. it is said to be effective.

    We do habe pedestrian crossings which are respected even by Lodon cab drivers who bo doubt consider the delay is at the expense of their customers rather than themselves.

    Once I am a driver of course I see it all differently.

    Car drivers have no collective intelligence. I have seen situations of gross congestion where some simple self-regulstion would have sorted out the problem rapidly but no individual is willing to make a sacrifice to benefit others.

    Individual courtesy in our narrow one car wide lanes is a contrary example although even there from time to time car drivers confront one another obstinately while people behind wait and curse. One day seeing others in such a situation I shall offer to spin a coin to enable one to reverse without losing face. Faced with a large combine harvester there is of course no choice.

    In the country slowing down to pass horses is only disregarded by the social misfit in the early twenties. Passing horses with care is anyway often rewarded with a smile from a charming young woman rider.

    Paying to use busy roads is abhorred. The ability of an individual willing to endure delay him or her self and thereby inflict additional delay on thousands of others others is an essential human right. Paying for a quick and smooth journey would be rational but road pricing is detested. One reason is that it is rightly suspected to be yet another form of taxation.

    As you can see use of the highway arouses emotions in even the mildest breast.

  2. Thank you! Pedestrians shouldn't be treated as obstacles that get in the way of drivers. We should have rights too!