Put your foot down!

One of the most infuriating things about America, aside from the accent; the fact sales tax isn’t included in the price; the superior attitude and; the endless political bickering, is the road system.

It’s like a child was employed as a civil engineer. For instance, several exits are also entrances. It’s difficult to describe, but bare with me:

So, you’re driving along a highway at 55 MPh and you need to take an exit. Your slip lane is on the far right, as you might expect. You prepare to pull into this slip lane only to notice that behind you is the entrance onto this highway. That’s right. Within a few yards there is the exit AND the entrance to the highway. Simply inspiring. Not only must you navigate pulling off to the right, you must also try not to hit cars who are using the same few yards of road space to enter the highway.

Some of the greatest civil engineering I’ve ever seen.

That short rant however is not the point of this blog post. No, that I can get used to.

There is one thing I cannot abide. One thing I hate.

Intersections.

When four directions of traffic meet.

In a civilised land, like merry old England, a roundabout would suffice to control these flows of traffic, possibly with traffic lights assisting at peak times. That is logical.

What is not logical is bringing four lanes of high speed traffic to a halt to let a slip lane out. That is efficient for rush hour traffic, at most. The rest of the time it’s just a massive inconvenience.

But even that I could learn to put up with. I could learn to put up with it if people would actually go when the light is green.

I don’t know what your experience of east-coast culture is, but it has a reputation for being fast-paced and business like. People are always busy accomplishing something. It almost becomes a fault when accomplishment indicates a person’s worth. Thats a topic for another blog. Anyway, people are always in a hurry.

Except when the light goes green.

Back in merry old England, when a light goes green you do NOT stick around. You are in first gear and you are GONE. I dare you to dawdle for more then five seconds and see if someone doesn’t honk at you.

Such dawdling is, frustratingly, the norm here. Many times I have been just a few cars back from the light, seen it go green and then been frustrated that I had to wait more than ten seconds to move.

That probably speaks of my own impatience and sense of importance, but this is a rant and I do not have time for introspection.

So, here comes the meat of the issue:

What keeps people at traffic lights?

Here is my proposed list. Feel free to add to it.

  1. Texting or emailing
  2. Reading a book
  3. Applying makeup
  4. Having a romantic moment with their significant other
  5. Devising the cure for the common cold
  6. Waiting for the moment to be ‘just right’
  7. Praying the rosary
  8. Existentially questioning why they obey traffic lights
  9. Forgetting where the gas pedal is
  10. Experiencing an astral projection

There are the possibilities. Some of those I have even witnessed.

Add your own experiences to the comments.

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12 Comments

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  1. I’d be curious to know which you’ve seen with your own eyes. Personally I find a green light the perfect time to play a game of Worms 2.

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    • I’ve seen people talking and texting on the phone, writing in their planners, reading things and applying make-up.

      To be fair I’m not sure I could tell if someone was in the midst of an existential crisis.

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  2. *Astral Projection 😛

    And hey, to be fair. I’ve been in a car with you. When lights go green, you’re usually trying to write a power ballad.

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  3. LOL! Love it. Like how you broke from the seriousness.

    How about, falling asleep at a stop light/sign? Could mix in with the astral projection theory?

    In all honesty, I think that round-a-bouts would be way worse than 4 way stops… my theory is that I look at current bouts in the south and people pause and are confused as to what to do. Do i look at all 4 entrances to the bout to see if anyone is going? Why is this one person going continually around the bout? Did he forget which street he was supposed to exit on or is he dizzy? Honestly, I don’t know how the Brits do it, but with a heavy flow of traffic, I think us Americans would continue to dawdle and ponder whose turn is it to go? The one to the right, left or in front? Or to go further… are the bouts two way?

    Haha, cheers mate.

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    • So, I literally encountered this on the way home. I was waiting at the roundabout near my house, but the car I was waiting for literally stopped and tried to wait for me. I was like… what the heck? Really?

      You just have to look to your left and see if anyone is coming. If no one is coming, just go!

      Some roundabout are two way.

      This is where I live. It’s MAGICAL

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  4. LOL!!!! Having lived on the East Coast my whole life, I feel your pain! I complain about driving here all the time! People in the US (at least this part of it), can NOT drive in roundabouts, or traffic circles. They can’t figure out that you don’t stop in the middle of it to let some other car out! What happens if it is more than one lane? How do I exit off of it if I’m in the inside lane??? (Clearly I know the answers to these questions…I’m just sayin’ that others don’t!)

    Oh, and the thing with the exits/entrances…why do people drive in the right hand lane if they are not exiting off??? How are the people that have to enter the highway supposed to do so if people are blocking them???

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  5. Ah the Magic Roundabout… let me count the ways I loath thee.

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