Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dear drivers of the world...

Dear drivers of the world (and especially those in the US),

Here in the US we have these things called traffic laws. They keep the roads more or less safe when they're obeyed. Are some of them annoying? Yes. Deal with it. Traffic accidents injure millions of people per year and kill tens of thousands. Today, I'm going to give you a little driving tip that not many people seem aware of.

This is a Yield sign. There are a few variations, but this is by far the most common. Yield signs, and their sneaky cousin "implied yield" are very important to your day-to-day driving. The applicable Merriam-Webster definition of yield is "to give place or precedence : acknowledge the superiority of someone else."

In layman's terms, when you happen upon a yield sign, it's telling you that everyone and everything else are more important than you and that you can wait your turn like a patient little boy or girl. Implied yields are a little trickier. Making a left turn? Implied yield, unless you have a green arrow. At a stop sign where the cross-traffic doesn't have one? Implied yield.

Violate the yield sign at your own peril. You jump out into someone else's right-of-way and risk injuring yourself, the other drivers and pedestrians. And to top it all off, you're going to get nailed with a fine for being an idiot.

So to the minivan driver I almost T-boned: you got lucky. Next time you might violate the right-of-way of someone who's distracted, doesn't have time to react or flat doesn't care and wants the insurance money.

Learn to drive or get off the road.