Lately I have being spending a lot of time driving. My daily accumulative hours behind the wheel has steadily increase from a paltry 40 minutes per day, all the way up to 5 hours, as the trips into Vancouver are becoming more frequent. With the added time now spent on the road, this means getting myself up earlier to deal with the rush hour traffic and taking more time to get home is my new reality of daily life. With more time spent on the road, means the more likely that I am going to see situations of stupidity among the motoring public. Sure, I have blogged about this before many times, but the commute is all part of the daily experience for just about everyone around the world, whether you ride a bike, walk, take transit, or drive a vehicle, you got to get from home to work somehow. Witnessing acts of “dumbness” is what really causes me to set off on a diatribe, and I have to blog about it.
The four-way procedure is commonly referred to when all drivers entering a controlled intersection that has its traffic lights not functioning properly must stop and then go in a first come order. The protocol is that all drivers must treat the intersection as if it were controlled by stop signs at all four boundaries just before entering the zone. You stop, as you enter the threshold of the intersection, and you observe who, in the order of appearance, was ahead of you, and you yield to the right-of-way before you proceed to cross through, or make your turn. The caveat of the four-way intersection rule is that only one vehicle is in the intersection at one time—not two or three vehicles, or gun it right through because you feel the next person is too slow for your liking.
The crowd that I commute with in Langley Township seems to differ from the rest of the motoring public I deal with. We do the four-way-stop procedure much differently in these parts. First, no one stops. We have what are called “rolling stops” that mean you keep the momentum of the vehicle moving in the direction that you are travelling at all times. There are many reasons for this; saving fuel, as starting form a complete stop costs more gas; saving time, as it takes more time to accelerate the vehicle from a state of rest up to maximum velocity, sometimes referred to as Newton’s three laws of motion; also, it looks cool and shows how experienced you are among the other drivers who are waiting for their turn to go through. Second, if there is no on coming traffic, or a slight gap between the flow of on coming traffic, no matter how small, and you think you can squeeze in through, then having two, three, even four vehicles in the intersection at one time is normal. Heck, having so many vehicles in the intersection at one time means efficiency, and then one starts to question why we even have traffic lights in the first place. Lastly, the courtesy honk of the horn, or the flick of the high-beams serve as a gentle reminder that the offending driver is a idiot and the aggressor has just deemed him or her as either slow, intoxicated, asleep, or unfit to drive. The aggressor driver then has the right to either travel through the intersection with either the horn steadily blasting for the entire distance, or can leave his or her head lights on in the high-beam position for the remainder of the day as a badge of honour for letting the rest of the world know that they saved us all from a bad driver they encountered.
The power outage this morning was a stark reminder of just how “interesting” it can get out on our roads during the commute. With the combination of a road that was just paved and did not have any painted markings on it yet, along with fog and rain, the recipe for disaster was just a matter of time. Although I did not see any accidents, I did see a very close call along my drive at one of the intersection in the blacked out area. My stress levels are super high when I drive in these conditions because you never know who you will encounter as you see a set of headlights coming towards you. I would say that most drivers are good and practise safe driving, but there is always that one.