The Emperor’s New Car

You should all know the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, supposedly invisible to the unworthy, until a little child proved that they didn’t exist.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here, every day, when I go out, I see the Emperor’s new car.  In fact I often see part of what must be a huge fleet of his vehicles, everything from a little SmartCar to a big semi.  Better to say I don’t see them.  I must be very unworthy.

They are just in front of other cars sitting at red lights.  I don’t know what it is about people pulling up to the white line at a light.  That’s where the Highway Traffic Act insists you must be, but I’ve seen cars a few feet back from the line.  Okay, the driver just doesn’t know where the front of the car is in relation to the white line.  If that was all I saw, I wouldn’t be ranting.  That’s the best-case scenario.  It progresses to enough space to put a SmartCar, to enough space to put a full-sized sedan, to enough space for a car and trailer, to enough for two cars.  A couple of times I’ve seen enough space to put a full-size transport truck.

Are these drivers afraid that someone will come around the corner, and run into them?  Highly unlikely, especially at the big intersections, with the concrete dividers.  Of course, it’s not just the cars at the front of the parade.  As I leave my subdivision, and roll down the hill to the main cross-street, I see, a half a car-length empty, then a car, then an empty car-length, then another car, then two car-lengths of empty space, then a pick-up, etc. etc. etc.  I just don’t understand the reason for all the empty space.  I thought one time that maybe these people were somehow afraid that the person in front of them might back into them.  All that space just gives them enough room to really build up speed.

I don’t think of myself as an aggressive driver, although my wife has so defined me at times.  I’m just ADHD enough that I’m a precise driver.  All that open space offends my sense of order.  The getting there isn’t half the fun, being there is.

Why am I ranting about this, I hear you asking.  This goes back to my last comment about knowing and caring for others around you.  As I approach my neighbourhood corner, and many others like them, I, and the guys behind me want to get over into the left-turn lane, and take advantage of the advanced green.  In this keg-party parking lot, six cars take up ten spots, and I can’t get past them to turn left.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  That’s the problem!  We can’t get them to cross it  Woe  betide you if you manage to make the left lane, but get behind one of these automotive marshmallows.  I’ve sat for an entire advanced green behind some wimp who doesn’t notice the little green arrow, or doesn’t know that it’s for him, or is just too cautious(?) to pull out.  Even once the big solid green comes up, they sit behind the line, perhaps inching forward just far enough that they can complete the turn on the orange, but I get to sit behind the line and wait for the next light.  If you make your turn from there, you’ll wind up on the wrong side of the road.  You’re going to have to move forward sometime, do it now so that two or three others behind you can get though also.

In my town, several of the main roads have demand lights at some cross-streets.  Magnetic wires are embedded in the pavement on the cross-streets.  If there’s no traffic on them, the light never changes on the main road.  I was going to work one day at a non-peak time.  As I approached the main road I would have to turn onto, I noticed, two blocks ahead, at the red light, a car already sitting there.  “Good,” I thought, “they’ll have the light green by the time I get there.”  Pulled up behind them, but no green yet.  Grandpa and grandma in a land-yacht slightly smaller than the Titanic.  Hmmm, still no green.  Then I realized why.  They were so far back from the intersection that they hadn’t tripped the mag-strip.  I don’t know how long they had waited for a non-existent green light.  I backed up a bit, pulled around them and back into the lane, to cycle the light.

Anybody know why so many drivers leave so much unnecessary empty space, please enlighten me.  Is it excess caution?  Is it lack of driving/stopping skills.  Is it lack of attention and consideration for those who have to follow you?