Rolling Stop

It happened again.

On my way home from dropping off the kids at school, a silver-haired driver on my left decided he didn’t need to stop at the four-way stop. It’s 8:35 and he’s heading east through the neighborhood, towards the freeway. I suppose he could be in a terrible hurry (though driving a Buick doesn’t exactly scream getouttamyway!). There’s other cars around, like mine. Why not come to a stop and then proceed, like the rest of us? Is that seven seconds really that important?

It’s the intersection of convenience, ego, self-importance and proper behavior. Generally, only one gets through.

Now maybe, I wondered, this guy’s got a management job where he’s learned that certain pauses in the process actually cause more backup than the risk of blowing through. It’s possible that keeping the gears/wheels/efforts moving forward is less costly than stopping to ensure you don’t have a mishap. Acceptable risk. I know some people who think that way, a sort of risk-management gestalt. Everything in the (my) world will be fine if we do it my way. That’s served Humankind well for the past ten millennia. Why not keep it up?

The real question is, what happens when someone (like me) is crossing the street. Pedestrians have right-of-way here. Even though we’re supposed to be smart about it and look (glance away from the iPhone for sec, people) it’s still up to the driver to make sure they don’t strike someone on the street. Last week, I nearly got flattened by a white work van coming out of his work site. The prick didn’t even look my way. Awesome.

Maybe Mr. Buick isn’t a prick. Maybe he’s a normal dad like me, with too much on his plate and too many things to do. Maybe he’s actually a nice guy who leans left and gives a rodent’s posterior about the environment and such. Fine.

Either way, I hope one of the city’s finest nailed at the next intersection. Maybe a $150 fine will remind him that, no, his job/life/crap isn’t any more important than any of ours.

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