Were someone to ask drivers to do rocket surgery or a Haiku involving the names of the last three Heisman Trophy winners at a traffic light I could understand why they might freeze up, or just plain not be able to perform the task at hand. If there was some complex engineering problem that involved a catapult that would toss Plutonium over a grade school I could understand why some drivers might just sit there and not do a thing. If, at a traffic light, a driver made a right turn on red, and a gang of rabid shaved apes wearing thongs and chanting old show tunes were to leap out, pull that driver from the car through the glove compartment and smear obscenities on his body with ink made from the vomit of Britney Spears’ latest trip into rehab, I could understand why someone might just sit there and stare into space.
But really, it is perfectly okay to make a right turn on red. Really, truly it is.
I can’t imagine what sort of device early vehicles used to power turn signals or blinkers but it must have delivered quite a jolt. People must have been maimed by the electrical current running through these things to the point even their kids, and their grandkids, were affected. I can imagine that in the early days of car travel, children watched in horror as their mother or father burst into flames after using their turn signal, or had their hand fried totally off when they activated the blinker. Ah, but there was a failsafe device built into the early blinkers because people did learn to use them after they began their turns. The danger primarily lay in activating the device before the turn was begun.
If there was anything in South Georgia that truly blew the collective minds of the drivers here, and those people who operate cars and trucks as well, it would be the four way stop. It’s an unfortunate name, four way stop, because there are people who believe no one should proceed through these locations unless there are four vehicles stopped there. The problem here stems primarily from the fact that before there were cars and trucks the most common mode of transportation was the mule. Everything happened at the speed of a mule, and we will refer to this rate of travel as Mule Factor One. Those people who grew up feeling the wind in their hair, and that is singular by now, whilst astride mule back traveling at Mule Factor One, think anything greater than this speed is to risk spontaneous combustion. I mean, you wouldn’t want to fall any faster than a mule could walk, would you? Same principle, really.
The real damage here is Mule People are going so slow to begin with it’s not like stopping completely is that big of a change. One will sit idle at a four way stop, politely waiting for the other three stoppers to arrive, and when by chance someone who knows how to operate a four way stop appears, the Mule Person with blissfully wave them through, after making them stop by just being there. If there are two Mule People arriving at a four way stop, they might actually get out and talk to one another, while waiting for the other two stoppers to appear. Worse, if you are behind one of these people and blow your horn, they assume that’s an invitation for conversation, and they’ll tell you about the fastest mule they ever saw.
Then there are the Coasters. These are the people who will allow their car to just drift along, heading towards the next traffic light, a mile ahead, because it’s red, and there is no reason to hurry. It doesn’t matter the light will change colors three times, be replaced twice, and the world will end by the time they actually get to the light. These are the Mule People’s spiritual kin.
There are the Switchers, who will change lanes seventeen times a block, desperately trying to squeeze each single car length out between lights. In the long run, because they change lanes so often, they are actually traveling hundreds more miles than the rest of us, who simply believe all lanes are the slowest.
All lanes are not created equal and the Right Lane Luddites will place their vehicle in the fast lane, the right lane, and poke along, feeling quite superior that they are going as fast as the law allows, so therefore they ought to be in the fast lane. Honestly, these people are murdered at a rate far greater than any other driver, and are killed in accidents more frequently than camouflaged armadillos. You may indeed be right that you are going as fast as the law allows, but you are not going as fast as the semi truck barreling down upon you at a speed that would cause a Mule Person to perform a self-colonoscopy trying to escape in the nearest hole. I’ve seen horrible things happen when these people block a lane, and it’s worse than blocking the bathroom line to the Ladies room on free beer night at a dance hall where Chippendale’s just performed.
Cell phone have added a new breed of idiot to the road, and text messaging has surpassed alcohol as the evolutionary device of choice among those who must be entertained or not drive, which they aren’t doing anyway. Talkers and Textans collide more frequently than the atoms in an atomic explosion and I am willing to bet the T and T’s have killed more people than nukes have. They have certainly maimed more people than were wounded in World War Two, and they have caused more damage than Hurricane Katrina on meth. Yet there they are, each and every day, swerving and cursing aloud, and talking and texting away, making Darwin more proud of them each and every moment.
Feel free to invent a category I might have missed. We are not running out of morons.