Monday, May 5, 2014

Destroying Social Order is Not Polite

I've gathered you all here today to talk about a very important issue.

You're all so friendly.  You're so nice.  You all do such nice things for each other.  Which is why we need to have an intervention.

There's something that some of you are doing that needs to be addressed.  You're doing it because you think it's a nice, polite thing to do.  Unfortunately, you're tearing at the very fabric of our society.

To help you understand what I'm talking about, let me paint a picture for you.  This scenario happens to me 3 or 4 times a month.  So here's the scenario:

You're driving along, singing to your favorite song on the radio.  You approach a four way stop where you can see that another car has arrived, on your right, several seconds before you.  You stop at the stop sign and glance down at something else while you wait for the other car to proceed.  You look up a few seconds later only to notice that the car hasn't moved, even though there are now 2 cars behind them.  But the driver is waving you on to go first.

"How very polite of them."  You think to yourself as you proceed through the intersection.


That person is not polite.

First of all, they didn't save you any time.  The five seconds it took you to realize you were being waved on is greater than the three seconds it would have taken for them to take their turn properly.

Second, did the person sitting behind them think it was polite to volunteer that they wait longer to go?

The worst offense I've ever seen was when we were in Hawaii a few years ago.  We were sitting at a light waiting to turn left.  We were waiting for a few oncoming cars to pass so that we could go.  We waited a full minute before realizing that a car had stopped, even though he had a green light, and was waving us through.  There were no cars behind him, it would have been so much faster to just go and let us turn afterward.

I know people in Hawaii are polite, but that doesn't mean they have to destroy the fabric of our society.

I submit that it's actually more polite to obey the rules of the road.  If we all know what we can expect from each other, than we can all get where we want to be in a more efficient manner.

The rules are simple, you learned them in Drivers Ed.  The first person arriving at a four way stop goes first.  If you both arrived at the same time, the person to the right goes first.  Left turn always yields to oncoming traffic.

Another example is how you treat pedestrians.  Here are some dos and don'ts.

Do: remember that pedestrians have the right of way.
Do: stop for pedestrians if there is a cross walk.
Don't:  stop for pedestrians and wave them to jay walk.  Encouraging a pedestrian to break the law is a good way to get them killed.

Little known fact:  just because you stopped doesn't mean the other lanes of traffic know that you have now invited a pedestrian to walk into the street.  These individuals may unknowingly run over and kill the pedestrian.

Even lesser known fact: getting pedestrians killed is not polite.

I'm glad we all had this talk.  Next time you think you're being polite by disrupting traffic to wave someone through, perhaps you should just obey the traffic laws that we all understand so that traffic can run smoothly and logically.

Thanks for your time.


  1. Totally! This is such a problem here! Being polite is not the same as upholding the driving laws. We all took the tests...

  2. Remember that if you choose to wave to some one to let them go, you are directing traffic and accept the responsibility. I have personally been at the site of a non-fatal accident where neither driver was cited but the driver who motioned them to go ahead was cited.


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