WILLY BRANTS DIARY — There I was, waiting for a break in traffic so I could pull out of Husky and turn left on the highway. Coffee group that morning, and the subject had been too many lousy drivers, and road rage.
Quite a bit of traffic, have you noticed that traffic seems to go in waves, especially where there are traffic lights to bunch them up. Then I see a break coming. I waited for a car quite a ways off which seemed to be going quite fast, better safe than sorry, don’t want him to be mad at me for jumping across in front of him, I am retired after all. Wouldn’t you know it? At the last split second he leaps on the brakes and wheels into the driveway beside me. But now there is a platoon coming the other way, so I am waiting again because he did not signal his turn. I think I understand what the truckers are talking about when they say road rage, I might be getting some myself.
Talked this over with my neighbour and buddy Joe, the well-educated hermit down the road. Joe said “you see that a lot, guys turn on their signal light a split second before they start their turn or lane change. So, what useful purpose does that serve? Well, let me see, none! The purpose of signalling is to alert the drivers around you that you are about to do something. If you do it right, you create a good feeling, no signal or too-late signal and its road rage.”
I observed that signalling would only do any good if the other drivers are actually paying attention to what is going on around them, between fiddling with the radio, talking on the cellphone, playing with the Onstar or GPS, eating lunch from the drivethrough, all through a haze of cigarette smoke.
Joe agreed, saying “Remember when the government used to talk incessantly about Defensive Driving, with the usual government over-the-top hype which would turn any sensible person off. But still a useful concept, the notion that drivers ought to be aware of all the traffic around them all the time, and be on guard for whatever stupid thing other drivers might actually do.”
I chipped in “The flip side of defensive driving would be to do all you can so other drivers are not surprised by whatever you do, so they don’t crash into you. Signalling in advance sure is part of that.”
Joe added, “You know, I think we were better at this 10 or 20 years ago than we are now, maybe that silly government Defensive Driving hype had something to do with it. Or maybe we think the guy in the sports car is really cool when he cuts across three lanes of traffic on the freeway without a signal. So we will be cool too if we are just as casual about signalling as he is. Anyway, we could make a contribution to reducing road rage and make our own ride safer just by signalling before we actually start our turn”.
I finished with “it also wouldn’t hurt you to help the guy waiting for a break in traffic by signalling your turn well in advance, just a kind and Christian thing to do.” “Amen”, from Joe.