Common Courtesy

Extensive driving is a by-product of my employment.  An average night at work means I put more kilometers on my work vehicle in one day than I do on my personal vehicle in a week.

And one of the observations I’ve made is this – we are becoming far less courteous to one another on the road.

Perhaps the go-go-go life style is catching up with everyone and placing everyone under more stress than they are used to, but come on, people!  What has happened to common courtesy?

Case in point:

One night I was driving Eastbound on Pacific Avenue on the approach to the Burrard St Bridge.  The far left hand lane continues East on Pacific Ave, and the right hand lanes turn onto the bridge.  Vehicles trying to merge onto the bridge from Pacific St first have to navigate a pedestrian crosswalk, and then have to give the right of way for vehicles already southbound on Burrard St. **check out the very cool link provided by DC in the comments section to see the roadway from a driver’s perspective**

Anyways, back to the story…

I was on the approach to the bridge when I stopped for a pedestrian waiting at the crosswalk.  The pedestrian gave me a “Thank you’ wave and started across the road.

The car behind me gave me a “What the hell are you stopping for” honk, and decided to really drive the point home by laying on the horn.

I just shook my head, and when the pedestrian made it safely to the other side, I merged onto the bridge as did the horn blatter from behind me.  You would have thought stopping for a pedestrian was the absolute worst thing a person could have done, as Mr. Horn Blatter carried on with his road rage episode as he drove with mere inches between our bumpers. 

Hey buddy, are you trying to hitch a ride?

Mr. HB then zoomed out from behind me and moved in for the pass.  I closed the screen on my computer and made sure to lean back in my seat so the shoulder flash on my uniform wasn’t visible from the side, and I waited to see what he would do.

Mr Horn Blatter drove up beside me, shook his fist at me, and if my ability to read lips is accurate, Mr. HB told me to fornicate with an inanimate object. 

Classy guy.

Mr. HB then raced down the bridge deck at, oh, 30 kms over the speed limit.

Too bad he didn’t take the time to look closer at the unmarked vehicle he had passed.  If he had, he may have noticed the tinted windows, the tell-tale hockey puck style antennas on the roof and the blacked out wheels.   

I waited until we were almost off the bridge before I hit the lights.  When I did, there was a noticeable slump in Mr. HB’s posture in response to the red and blue flashing through the interior of his car.

To give him credit, Mr. HB was very humble and was full of yes-officer and no-officer and I’m-sorry-officer comments when I asked for his driver’s licence.  He couldn’t quite manage to look me in the eye.

When asked why he had honked, Mr. HB said he had been impatient when I stalled at the crosswalk.  I asked him if he had seen the pedestrian, and he said he had not. 

If nothing else, Mr. HB was honest. 

After checking his driver’s licence and driving history, I returned his papers to him.   What I really wanted to do was give Mr. HB a lecture on common courtesy and how he had none, but that would have been counter productive. 

*Sigh*

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