Traffic is chaos, safety is your responsibility. Assume Superman has the day off. It is up to you to ensure you make it home in one piece. If you become complacent or take unnecessary risks, no one will come swoop down and save you. While traffic laws and customs vary depending on the state or country where you reside, I hope the following article will shed a light on some helpful basics.
Expect the Unexpected
Consider the following routine scenario and think about all of the times you have been in this situation. You are stopped at a stop sign at a “T” intersection. The vehicles passing by in front of you do not have a stop sign. You look both ways and there is only one vehicle approaching. As this vehicle approaches, it has its turn signal activated. Maybe the vehicle is going to slow down in anticipation for its turn giving you a chance to enter the roadway. Perhaps the vehicle is going to turn before it arrives at your location. But consider the chance the vehicle doesn’t turn at all. They left their signal on from the last time they turned and did not realize it was still activated. Just maybe they activated their signal too soon and are actually planning on turning at a point past your location instead of the many options beforehand. Many of these scenarios could end badly and they are all equally possible. What you should expect on the road is for other people to make mistakes and to be unpredictable.
You are invisible
You may wear the brightest yellow and the most flamboyant green and orange. Maybe you have some tricked-out lighting system visible from the International Space Station. Do not assume because you are paying attention and because you see a person or a vehicle that they in return are paying attention and see you. Assume everyone is on their cell phone and you are invisible. If you want to be safe, keep great distances from people and do not give them the space, time, or opportunity to meet you.
Choose Life over Right
There exists a state of being alive and there is also being right. These two values do not always intersect and it is vitally important to remember which one is more important. Make staying alive your number one priority above all else. The easiest example that currently comes to my mind involves approaching a four way stop sign. You stop as you are required and expected to do so. You look each way and determine there to be to no other vehicles currently stopped at that location. You conclude that you are fully within your right to then proceed into the intersection and then on through. With this being the case, it would be incumbent on all other vehicles not only to stop at the intersection, but to await your complete and safe exit from that area. However, before you continue, in the corner of your eye you notice a rusty old brown pickup truck with a broken passenger side headlight. You can hear the sound of the roaring diesel engine as the truck appears to be accelerating, and not slowing down as you might otherwise expect. As the classic truck approaches your location, the distance between the truck and the intersection decreases along with the possibility that the decades old braking system would ever hope to bring the vehicle to a halt before crossing your path. How are you feeling now about your right of way?
Stay alert and take time to stay safe.