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No, I felt this way before the accident. - Life and All That Pertains to It; Philosophized

Dec. 16th, 2007

09:15 am - No, I felt this way before the accident.

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I think now I understand why so few people use their turn signals; especially when driving on the freeway. I used to attribute it to Drivers Training being removed from public education; however, that logic did not hold, for people of all ages seemed reticent to use their blinkers.

When someone on the freeway wants to change lanes, I have noticed four main behaviors (other than the actual use of the turn signal before lane change has begun):

1. You have the individual who, without warning and no apparent awareness that you exist, suddenly comes into your lane; at a 45 degree angle. They usually appear as though they are about to annihilate the trunk of the vehicle in front of them. It is difficult to predict if they are going to continue to zag across 4 lanes of traffic or if they will straiten their course and remain in the lane you also occupy.

2. You have the individual who gives the car a little warning wiggle from side to side; much like a cat wiggles its rear before pouncing on its prey, before quickly sliding into the new lane; often with a final wiggle for emphasis.

3. You have the individual who, surely thinks they are driving safely and responsibly, slows down in their lane to allow plenty of front room before they explode forward with a burst reminiscent of a rocket booster firing and move over into the desired space they were stalking the past half mile.

4. Finally you have the individual who knows that if they slowly move over, at a snail's pace, everyone will get out of their way. This is especially popular with drivers of large SUVs. They simply gently disperse the mass as they leisurely move over into their desired lane.

So, other than the first individual listed above, if you are an attentive driver you can generally tell when someone is going to change lanes. The reasoning behind these 'new' signals is that they are learned survival techniques. You see, when a person uses their turn signal, one would presume that other drivers would acknowledge a lane change is about to take place and therefore one would think the observing driver would make an allowance of space and wait for the signaling driver to move over; like any courteous and aware driver.

But no, we all know this is not the case and what happens in reality. The moment that red light starts flashing, all other drivers who observe it have an internal switch hit that converts their actions to a much baser animalistic behavior. Much like the bull who is being taunted with a cape; the observing drivers make their charge and speed up before the signaling driver can make their lane change. In fact, even when there is ample space available to change lanes; the observing driver in their animalistic mode charges so as to always be first, never let anyone get ahead; they must save that micron amount of time!

So, like any surviving creature, humans adapt. Those techniques that are successful prevail. Hence, most consider turn signals to be out of date as they are no longer a successful means of changing lanes. They adopt their new preferred technique: ZigZagger, Wiggler, SlingShot or Drifter; all of which have become recognized methods of lane change signaling and have evidently proven more effective in traversing the freeway.

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