I don’t know what it is about driving that brings out the stupid in people. People seem to lose all perspective and do some of the stupidest things. I imagine if they saw themselves doing it they’d even recognize it as stupid. On the flip side a lot of what people do seems to be selfish. They either do things to get themselves ahead, or they try to make themselves feel better.
Let me give an example of the latter. Near my house there is a very large shopping center. There is a light at an overpass, and then a light about 500 feet away. The light 500 feet away is for the shopping center, to let people out so they can go either direction. In between these two lights is an exit from the shopping center with a stop sign. Every day on the way home I see people going to the stop sign to get out instead of the light. These people often just want to get into traffic to go right. About a quarter of the time they want to go across to the turn lane that goes to the shopping center light so they can do a U-turn. No why didn’t they just go use the shopping center light instead of doing a U-turn that invariably ends up resulting in them having to put their car in reverse and realign since they couldn’t make the turn. And why didn’t the people turning right go to the light where they could easily get out without someone letting them out? The problem I have with them is traffic from the overpass light is almost always backed up. Traffic exits the freeway to go to this light. Its the only way to go, so it backs up a lot for the right hand turn. The way the lights are about 10 to 15 cars make it through the right turn every light. This means often waiting 2 or three times through the light. What makes this frustrating is invariably someone pulls up to the stop sign from the shopping center and someone lets them out. I’m sure they tell themselves they are being nice, after all they just helped someone out. Of course perhaps its the analytical cynic in me, but I can’t help but think in the time they took to let that person out they stopped at least two other people who have probably been waiting through two light cycles from getting out. So you’ve helped one person, but you’ve hurt at least two who have been waiting longer. To me that’s not helping, that’s hurting.
The other time this is a problem is when someone stops to let someone out and the light is green coming over the bridge. This is a 50 mph road. When someone comes over the bridge going 50 they now have to slow down a lot, hoping the people behind them do the same because someone wanted to be “nice”. If this was the only way out for these people then maybe this would be nice, but they have their own light. There is no need to let them out, they only came to the stop sign for one of two reasons. Either they didn’t think about it, or they knew someone would be gullible enough to let them out.
So do me a favor in the future. When you’re driving along, at least in my neighborhood, and you see someone waiting at a stop sign to get out of a shopping center, when they could have used a stop light. Don’t let them out, don’t be that person!