July 18th, 2001

JOY

Innocent by Association

I got a ride to the company picnic yesterday with three other co-workers who live near me in an SUV – a Nissan Exterra, to be exact. Less than a mile from our starting point, we were at this difficult intersection (to those of you who know it, the sharp left onto Courthouse Road from Rte. 50 in Arlington; or the turn we took to get to Film Club) where if you are traveling in the left lane, you will get stuck in the line of people trying to make this sharp left. The driver of our SUV had been merrily clipping along in the left lane and then slammed on the brakes when the turning traffic ahead of him stopped, turned his head and waited for a gap in the lane to his right so he could pass this backup and continue on Rte. 50. The people behind him in the same situation kept taking the gaps in traffic just seconds before he had a chance to, as if they had no idea that he was trying to get over in the first place. A few false starts and a few near-misses later, I realized what the problem was, and suggested, “you know, if you put your turn signal on, other people might know that you’re trying to change lanes.”

He shook this idea off as absurd, and made the lane switch without the signal, cutting off the little Honda behind him and again nearly causing an accident. I was furious, but in the interest of social nicety and the fact that I was getting a ride from him, I kept my mouth shut.

But three un-signaled turns later I couldn’t contain myself any longer, and finally asked him, “Since you’re one of those bastard SUV drivers that never uses your turn signal, does it make you as angry as it makes the rest of us when a fellow SUV makes turns without their signals?” He said that no, it didn’t bother him, and that he never even thought about it.

Could this be the problem that is plaguing today’s overcrowded roads? That those who make such egregious infringements of safety and courtesy fail to see the fault in their action and therefore are blind to these errors when made by others? Will this cycle of disrespect and disregard bring the ultimate demise of the species?

I heard Fox 5 say something about SUV’s being a key contributor as to why our roads are in horrible condition and why our public transportation is overcrowded, but since http://www.fox5dc.com is the WORST WEBSITE EVER, I can’t find a search to read the article about this. Assholes.
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