People travel by the millions each and every day through that wonderful invention known as the automobile. And did you know that you're exponentially more likely to die in an automobile crash than to ever suffer a mishap when traveling by air?
That's a cheerful thought, isn't it? But many automobile crashes - both fatal and less serious - are caused by stupidity and failing to have the situational awareness of what is going on around you.
To that end, my biggest pet peeve is the YIELD SIGN. Here in Texas, we have lots of those. I bet we got a large lot discount from Sam's, because with all of our access roads, we've got them by the boatloads.
But people invariably ignore these nice little red and white signs, and place themselves and their fellow drivers in peril. So I thought I'd take today's edition of Tuesday Travel to explain the use of the yield sign, as some of the less smart among us may be having trouble grasping the concept.
When there is a yield sign, it means that more than one stream of traffic will be vying for a limited amount of space. If the yield sign is facing YOUR stream of traffic, it means that you absolutely, positively do NOT have the right-of-way unless the other stream of traffic is clear.
Here's what a yield sign does NOT mean you should do:
- Speed up to get in front of cars who do have the right-of-way.
- Slam on your brakes. Especially if there is no oncoming traffic. You feel that probing up your rear end? That's me, getting whiplash, because you stopped for no reason.
- Blithely ignore the sign and cause the people who DO have the right-of-way to have to slam on their brakes.
- Graciously motion those WITH the right-of-way out of your way - where do you get off, buddy? It's already my turn. I don't need your permission!
- Apply your own vehicle to the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you and continue moving forward so as to form a wall of blockage to those vehicles who would love to slam on their gas and plow through your stupid self but refrain from doing so because they know that stooping to your level of humanity will not solve anything.
- When one is coming up, begin to decrease your speed, glancing at the other stream of traffic to check on it's flow.
- If there are no vehicles in that other stream, remain at a decrease speed until you pass the sign and then accelerate back to the speed limit - there is no need to stop if there is no opposing traffic.
- If there ARE vehicles in the opposing stream of traffic, gauge whether it will be necessary to slow down further or stop entirely to allow those who have the right-of-way to proceed unimpeded.
BE ALERT. BE PREPARED. BE SMART!
Until next time...