October 20


Duh Driving Tip of the Week, Presented by Felix the Cat

Dear Driver in front of/beside/behind me,

Allow me to introduce you to a marvelous invention of which you may have heard rumors: the turn signal. This nifty little device allows you to indicate, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE AROUND YOU, your directional intentions. For example, say you are driving slowly in the fast lane, and my presence behind you has inspired you to move to the middle lane (good plan). Ohmygosh! You can let me know that you are moving over! Holy cow! This is indeed revolutionary. See, if I don’t know what you are going to do – and how the hell would I?? I don’t live in your head; I’m not in your car with you! – I might start to change lanes myself. If you do it, too, without using your turn signal, we could end up right back where we started. OR, because I am faster than you, you might change lanes right into me. That would suck. So how ’bout you let me know what you’re going to do BEFORE YOU DO IT, k? Gee, thanks!

And you there, driving through town and randomly slowing down for no discernible reason. You haven’t told me that you intend to turn. I have no idea why you are braking, and it’s starting to annoy me. Or, even better, you’re NOT braking until the verylastminutewhenyoudecidetoturnRIGHTHERE. Oh, that’s kind of unfortunate. I really had to slam on my brakes to not hit you. A little FRUSTRATED.

And you, sir, across the intersection from me. Yes, there is no traffic light, and here we are at opposite ends of this cross street waiting for traffic on the busy main street. Are you turning left or going straight through? You kind of look like you’re turning left, and I’d kind of like to know because I am going straight, and I really don’t want your pickup tires on the Red MINI’s roof. Plus, I don’t know whether to wait for you or just go. Because it doesn’t matter if we’re both going straight. But I’m not sure, so I’m just going to sit here and pass up multiple opportunities to dart across this street and wait for YOU in your cumbersome-mobile to make the first move so that I don’t die.

But don’t worry; I’m not mad. I like surprises.

Did you know that the turn signal is not an OPTION on any vehicle? It is REQUIRED. You are REQUIRED to have turn signals and you are REQUIRED to operate them. Oh, I know. There the government goes, being a nanny state again. You can’t make me use my turn signals; it’s not my fault that the weaklings around me don’t know what I’m going to do. Darwinism!

Actually, what I usually say – out loud – in all of these instances is, “No, it’s ok [FILL IN VEHICLE MAKE]. You don’t need to use your turn signal. I can read your mind.”

Stay safe out there, race fans.