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Sign of the times: Right turn lane

So I was driving around town today with my window down taking in the 70F degree summer reprieve and stopped at the red light. As I was I listening to some tunes from The Corrs, I noticed ahead of me on the right turn lane adjacent to mine that the lane was clearing up of cars going through the right of way protocol for red light turns, yet to my rear I noticed a long queue of cars patiently waiting their turn (pun intended). The problem as I discovered was that the kid in the car next to mine was preoccupied with his electronic device/phone and was caught blissfully unawares that 100 yards of right turn runway was silently beckoning him to proceed and turn.

At this point I thought to myself that I could just sit back and wait and see how long it would take for him to notice that it was now his turn for action. Then it dawned on me that the person directly behind him waiting to turn was no doubt also preoccupied (or possibly dreading reaching their destination and therefore not in any hurry). In any case, a good five or six other drivers in my proximity also saw the curious development yet they were content to see what would happen. After what seemed like a long five seconds or so, I gave the driver a toot from my car horn which brought the young blockhead to attention and soon the natural flow of traffic was restored.

Of course being a Daily Paul consumer, I took the opportunity to take a seemingly uneventful incident and analyze it and considered the (perhaps) far-reaching implications to society. Take for instance the right turn lane in this case. In our little analogy, this right lane can be the right decision process that every American with their rational faculties intact would naturally proceed from in a free society. The tenets for this uniquely American decision process is of course life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The turn signal in our example is representative of the State where the right of free movement is curtailed by mandate of the light statutes. (One might argue in this over simplified example that here is an instance where the State does a great job at increasing the flow of traffic. Informed by the times I've sat idle at red lights with no cross traffic, I say it can be done better. But I digress.) The ability to complete a right turn at a red light can be likened to the Tenth Amendment of traffic laws; that is, the power to stop and detain traffic is explicitly granted to the State and her red lights, but the right to turn right after stopping (and where it is not explicitly prohibited) is retained by the people.

Now the drivers that moved ahead in the right turn lane were each affirming their right to turn safely after stopping in accord with the delegated red light power. Of course some of these drivers may have simply followed along blissfully unaware of their retained rights but that is outside the scope of this example. I would like to bring attention back to the distracted driver alongside me. Naturally we could agree that this driver wanted to make the right turn by virtue of maneuvering into the right turn lane and that this was his foremost priority. His reaction to my honk confirms this. But what would cause this driver to lose sight of his pursuit of happiness (completing the turn)? In this case it was an ephemeral stimulus, distraction by handheld device, but it could have easily been a giant billboard distraction or Superman twirling a furniture liquidation sign (true story). In any case, as this driver relinquished his pursuit of happiness, he deprived the drivers behind him of life and liberty if we take wasted time as a loss of life and blocking movement as an impediment to the later. Now we could say that it was the responsibility of those behind that could see the situation to speak up, talk the talk and toot the toot, especially the driver directly behind the distracted one. One could probably surmise that this driver too was distracted. The drivers way in the back of the queue could not arbitrarily honk and without the vantage point I had so they depended on the vigilance of their fellow drivers to speak up.

This episode speaks to the current state of affairs in America. With the broken education system indoctrinating students with empty history glorifying the State and failing to transmit even the most foundational of American rights, I would not begrudge anyone of their pessimism. But perhaps the underlying issue here is the frequency of distractions. As humans, we sometimes fall prey to our own curiosity and what follows are distractions that can sometimes impede us on our life's journey. But in our information age with its 24 hour news cycle and tabloids of every measure and taste, it takes gritty determination (or a spotty internet connection) to filter out the white noise and focus on what is important.

In the final analysis, I could have just waited and see just how long it took the kid to jerk his head back to the horizontal or if one of the arrested drivers intervened for their own sake. But I honked because I would have wanted a courtesy honk if I was similarly distracted. Driving or otherwise.

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Garan's picture

I just go around.

I see traffic behavior as a microcosm of peoples behavior as well.

However, driving etiquette differs regionally.

Some think central american drivers are crazy, when in fact (at least in Costa Rica) they pay more attention to each other; e.g. not letting you pass if they see a dangerous blind curve ahead.

I think people's disregard for each other on the road is sometimes atrocious. Also, often people who think they are being kind to an individual (e.g. yielding to someone out-of-turn) are actually negatively effecting even more people.

It's all probably a problem of partial accounting; not taking the entire situation into consideration, and not paying attention to signage (which we were all taught in drivers training).

From what I can see, most people break common traffic laws all day long (probably) without even realizing it. When someone like me comes along, asserts correct driving behavior (asserting my right-of-way), people actually get disturbed. Ironic.

So, when a car doesn't take their right-of-way, I consider them to be an obstruction to traffic, and I simple go around. I'm still baffled that people would get upset for me going on my way, while they continue to sit at the intersection (their choice).

The USA is the greatest nation. ;p (Maybe. If you don't judge it's drivers)

A lot of truth from

your epiphany at the right-on-red intersection. I particularly liked your giving 'a little toot' to the driver stuck in his own little world which re-started the flow of traffic. Made me realize that that's one thing I like most about coming to DP — all the little 'toots' that help me to keep moving forward after I've stopped for whatever reason.

Catherine Austin Fitts had a similar wonderful epiphany during a speech she was giving to 100 people. She calls it The Red Button: Figuring out how to turn all those red buttons green.

I really enjoyed that, Joseph.Ngo. Lot of truth, like I said.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

Glad you liked it

I also thought the car distraction was in a way similar to the phenomenon of the soft MSM control that keeps the country in a daily stupor. Of course ever since Dr Paul came tooting along, most of us have never seen the world in the same blue and red shades again.

That link was great

I gave a copy of Freedom To Fascism to my Mayor to try and get him out of his Obama stupor and the next day I asked him if he liked it and he said he watched 5 minutes of it and shut it off. I asked him why and he said because if people stop paying their income tax I'll lose my Social Security.

He's still as dumb as the day I met him. We definitely need to discover how to turn red buttons green

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Ron Paul, I thought, turned the red button green with

his budget proposal---green in 3 years---but the true crooks that be,TCTB (ha), prevailed.

Thanks, Ira.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

That link is some heady stuff JPS

I've got some night time reading to do, thanks

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

That's World Bank whistle blower, Karen Hudes' stuff,

Ira. "The biggest whistle blower no one has ever heard of". It is positively the only answerto all WTF!? questions anyone could come up does the media so blatantly promote lies?????

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

I think you have a good analogy

though I also think that the driver's happiness could be that electronic device and driving was interfering with his persuit of happiness..

I don't know why this

was downvoted..."driving was interfering with his true object of happiness". Apparently, that's a fact, Jack, lol. The little 'toot' brought him back to reality and the traffic started to flow again.

It's OK to pursue your own happiness, right?, so long as it doesn't prevent others from doing the same. I agree with The Granger here. It's an important distinction when talking about the pursuit of happiness, sometimes intentional, sometimes not...that little 'toot' proved the latter.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

Racists on the DP automatically downvote Granger...

Because they hate Italians.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Patience makes all the difference

I've learned to not let traffic lights, lines, or waiting in general cause me any greif. I used to get upset when people would not "go" at lights or in traffic, but why? I realized that there is rarely if ever any place I'm going that 5 or even 10 minutes makes a damn bit of difference. Being relaxed and having flexibility in everything I do provides me with a great feeling of freedom.

Sitting in an air conditioned car, listening to music...or an audiobook, or talking with my friend/ enjoyable if you relax and just chill out.

it is a virtue

Right now, where I live, tourists have quadrupled traffic. Where it usually takes me 10 minutes to get to town, no one being on the road, it now takes a half hour. Many tourists drive 15 mph under the speed limit, in bliss, taking in the redwoods and the ocean, and everything is so beautiful. Since tourists are a part of our economy, I have learned to give them their space.. give them plenty of room to FEEL where they are and enjoy the ride.

I see locals who cop attitudes.. "I live here and I KNOW this area so move over." I have even seen letters to the editor where locals complain about the traffic. But I think more locals are like myself, we KNOW people come here and don't KNOW the place, and the big trees and crashing waves on the rocks are breath taking.. so let them breathe, after all, it is beautiful and gives me the opportunity to enjoy it too.

To the poster - The Corrs rule. They're on my short list.

along with Nickel Creek

Second - as a bicycler I am often treated like I'm a tourist or a minority. People stop traffic for me and interrupt everyone's flow including my own. It's annoying. Tying this to the analogy, it makes me feel like a minority that others tip-toe around in order not to offend while simultaneously offending me and everyone else around us involuntarily involved in our exchange.

To these minivan-driving people I would say you are doing more harm than good by your overreaction to my presence. Just drive your dang car and let me worry about whether or not I end up underneath your wheels.

Awesome post - see you on the front page.

Lousy drivers, you're forgiven AND not forgotten.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Thanks for the introduction-

Good group. I liked.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

I never drove a car until I was 30

All I had was my beloved bike, and so I know what you are saying.

When I see a bike, I drive to the divider, because there's this idea, as wrong as it may be, "It's just my luck this guy will fall in from of me".

Another thing that is weird.. I notice that if there is a boke or a pedestrian, there will be a car from the other direction.. so we line up.. horizontal to the road, and so if the boke is on the other car's right.. I'll drive to my right to give them room to swerve.. or if the boke is on my side, I'll try to speed up or lower my speed to avoid the line up. It's not the boke I worry so much about as the other driver.

I do wish there were more and wider bike lanes where I live.