Right of Way, Right Away

Earlier this Summer, I was driving down my street and saw a car parked in the opposite lane a few hundred feet down the road. As I neared the parked vehicle, I thought I saw another car coming from behind it in the opposite direction. Typically, when one encounters a parked car in their lane, they proceed with caution before maneuvering around it. That was not the case with this particular person.

Rather, instead of looking to see how close oncoming traffic was, the elderly driver came out from behind the parked vehicle at the exact same time as I approached in the same lane from the opposite direction. It’s bad enough when drivers are too impatient to wait for the other car to pass, but in this case the person left no room at all for me — the driver with the right of way — to get through on my side. I slammed to a halt and put up my hands and made a face as if to say “what are you doing?” Having no choice, I began to back my car up, only to hear an off-hand comment from a neighbor on the street: “Hey buddy, you’ve got to slow down.”

I don’t know who I was more perturbed with: the actual perpetrator of the fault or the ignorant on-looker. Firstly, I was going 30 on a 25 MPH street; a speed that was reasonable for the area. However, what my speed was was mostly a moot point. It amazes how people seem to think that they have the right of way when they are coming from behind some obstruction in their lane. How could it possibly be the case that the driver with the clear lane should yield for the person stopped behind a parked car? As the driver with the free lane, I give you a courtesy by moving all the way over in my lane to allow you to get out from behind the car in yours and enter mine, and that’s after you’ve used enough foresight to make sure that their was any buffer of time for you at all to get out before another car passes.

The other part of the problem is simply that elderly people are completely disrespectful on the road. I don’t know if it’s a sense of entitlement, their own dementia and lack of observation, or what, but the older generation have-to-no regard for traffic courtesy. It’s rare that I’ll see an older person use his turn signal, and common that I will see them drive in multiple lanes simultaneously for an extended amount of time.

Remember kids (and geriatrics, as it were): if your lane is blocked by something, it’s not the responsibility of the guy with the normal, clear lane to look out for you — it’s your’s to accommodate for them and hope they are kind enough to share their space with you.


~ by Dux on September 9, 2010.

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