On Being Courteous

November 2, 2007

This is an intersection I travel through every evening on my way home from work, heading North. Its pretty busy since the East/West road is US30 leading into one of the most congested areas in our town. We are always prepared to sit through at least one light, and maybe two depending on the time of day. Between 4:00 and 5:30 p.m. is awful. In this picture I am in the center lane which goes straight through the light. The left and right lanes are turning lanes. There are two Southbound lanes on the left of this picture. The building on the right side of the street is a Wendy’s restaurant and behind it is a strip mall. The only way out is where the black SUV is sitting, and there is always a line of cars waiting for an opening. They have a choice of either making a hard right into the turn lane, sliding into the center lane, or making a break across traffic. Are you confused yet?


Inevitably there is a courteous driver in the center lane who stops to let people pass through. Earlier this week I sat behind a van whose driver I am sure intended to be helpful and did just that. Within just a few minutes there were two near misses, one on the left of me and one on the right. Followed by a wreck involving a Fed Ex truck and someone barreling along in the left lane trying to make the light.


Years ago my son and I were on the receiving end of this courtesy when a car, just like the white one in this picture, pulled across three lanes and broadsided us. The driver was an older gentleman and I don’t think he even realized there was another lane there. He saw someone being courteous and gunned it to get across.


So. Although I try to be courteous most other times, I am never the courteous driver in this instance. I pull up as close to the car in front of me as I can get. I never leave an opening for people to drive through. So if you happen to be at this intersection waiting to get out, go ahead and flip me off, as some have. I can take it. It’s much better than the alternative.


9 Responses to “On Being Courteous”

  1. mjd Says:

    My driving instructor encouraged me not to be courteous in this way. Our son was in an accident that involved another young driver being motioned across three lanes of traffic on US 30. Also, a wrecker driver told us that many of his accident calls are to the area in front of K-Mart on US 30. Furthermore, a majority of the accidents is from people taking chances and from responding to “courteous” drivers.

    I agree your way is a better alternative.

  2. coffeypot Says:

    I am never courteous in a situation like that. Once a woman flipped me off and I started grinning and shaking my head yes and mouthing “Your place or mine?” She just laughed and I pull off. I’m glad it wasn’t a man.

  3. gawilli Says:

    MJD! That is where Josh and I got hit, right in front of K-Mart.

    Coffeypot – So funny! You’re probably lucky it wasn’t a man!

  4. daddy d Says:

    You are so right. The flow of cars and trucks is to keep on moving in the traffic lane. The flow should not stop for others out of the flow. They can wait or go to where ther is a stop light.

  5. Susan Says:

    Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind! (how cliche is that?)

  6. crookedeyebrow Says:

    I hate taking this way home, just for this reason. My mother actually was in a fatal car accident in 1972(?) at this intersection on us 30. The driver of the car she was in was killed instantly…

    I’m liking coffeypot’s response!

  7. gawilli Says:

    Daddy D – When I pull out of there I make a hard right. It takes me a little out of my way, but at least I make it there.

    Susan – That’s what my conclusion was – it’s more courteous not to do the favor in this case.

    Crookedeyebrow – How very sad. I probably could use the alternate route, but the congestion at Broadway truthfully doesn’t seem much better.

  8. crookedeyebrow Says:

    Even worse for me? 93rd & Broadway.

    Another pet peeve of mine, West 93rd where it goes down to one lane and no one pays attention to merge to the right. Just sayin’ that gets my undies in a bunch daily….


  9. gawilli Says:

    Crookedeyebrow – Ooooh. Me too. And what’s up with that miniature double lane anyway? It’s not like it goes anywhere.

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