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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Right of Way

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As far as I’m concerned, we should get rid of all stop signs.  Every corner everywhere should have a stop light, complete with left turn arrows and lanes, and perhaps even right turn arrows and lanes.  I say this because not long ago I was almost in a triple car accident.

I had just dropped off one of my grandsons at his home after picking him up from school.  I pulled up to the stop sign at a main road.  Across from me was a white sedan at that stop sign.  While I sat there waiting for the main traffic to clear, a blue truck pulled in behind the sedan.  During a minor lull in the school rush-hour, the sedan nearly peeled rubber racing across, and the blue truck pulled up to the sign.  A few minutes later (probably just seconds) both cross lanes were momentarily clear, so I turned left.  I was at my stop sign first, so I had the right of way.

Well, the blue truck thought it was his turn, and he slammed on his breaks as I turned in front of him, and I veered into the wrong lane to avoid a collision, and suddenly a gray SUV was right in front of me, and he slammed on his breaks as I swerved back into the proper lane.  I had narrowly escaped both a T-bone and head-on crash, because blue truck didn’t remember the rules.  Naturally I feel that such people need extensive retraining.  Is there a jail-like institute for vehicular rehabilitation?  There should be.  

I have gone out of my way to never use that intersection again, and the experience has prompted me to wonder about this future.  We’re over one-fifth into the twenty-first century.  When I was a kid, this year was science fiction.  Why are so many things still horse and buggy?  Wooden poles holding electrical wires, and two-way streets!  Like characters in old comics, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, I exclaim: Grief!

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And who in their right mind built entire neighborhoods, thousands of square miles of them, without sidewalks and curbs?  In all the places I grew up in the military, and then some, every road had a curb to keep drivers in line, and a sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclers.  Sure, the pedestrians seldom liked the bicyclers, but there you go.

I suspect that a lot of very smart people, starting in the nineteenth century, understood such necessities of a growing population and advancing technology, but it was more profitable for manufactures to take the easy way.  I understand the circumstances, for I am a stanch capitalist.  But now as an old guy, I’m pissed that we don’t have flying cars.  And I mean anti-gravity, not wings.

I used to envision cities with multi-levels of transportation: subterranean, surface, and raised roads, for products, hikers, and cars.  Now I’d like mile-long trains, anti-grav of course, that transports everything and everyone everywhere all day long.  And it shouldn’t cost more than a tenth a of a quatloo for commuters.

Until then, I reaffirm my philosophy about the rules of driving, which I’ve told my kids and grandkids, that it doesn’t matter who has the right of way, just stay out of everyone else’s way.  And now I must add, “but sometimes you can be caught off guard”.

P.S.  Yesterday, after dropping off one grandson at his house, I had to wait for seven cars to pass behind me before I could back out of the driveway.  I proclaimed with proper Papa grumpiness, “All driveways should have stoplights!”  My grandson, sitting in the backseat, said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”  Well, he doesn’t have his license, yet, so what does he know.


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