I am still stewing pointlessly about a dumb incident from yesterday, where YET AGAIN someone honked at me when I was right and they were wrong. This happens so often, I am concluding that people who honk are (1) overconfident and (2) REALLY OFTEN WRONG ABOUT HONKING and (3) NOT LEARNING THAT THIS IS THE CASE.
In yesterday’s example, I was at a T-shaped intersection where I was on the stem of the T and had the only stop sign. There was someone behind me. First we had to stay stopped because three cars were coming from the right. When the third car passed, the guy behind me HONKED and then revved and tried to DRIVE AROUND ME—that is, he started pulling into the lane going the opposite direction. And it’s lucky for him he wasn’t faster, because otherwise he would have CRASHED INTO THE PERSON COMING FROM THE LEFT. He couldn’t see that car, because of a snowbank—but I COULD see that car, WHICH IS WHY I DID NOT GO. But did the driver of the car behind me think to himself, “She’s still stopped, so there must be a good reason, perhaps something I can’t see, oh I wonder if that snowbank is obstructing my vision”? NO. He thought, “This IDIOT must be stopped for NO REASON, so I will HONK MY DISPLEASURE and then BREAK A LAW BY DRIVING FIRST ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD AND THEN DIRECTLY INTO AN INTERSECTION WITHOUT STOPPING, LIKE A NON-IDIOT WOULD.” I was RIGHT and he was SO EXTREMELY AND EXTENSIVELY WRONG, but I was the one who got honked at.
On another occasion that could have had even more severe consequences, I stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The person behind me came up fast, then HONKED, then swerved around me—then had to slam on the brakes hard to avoid hitting the pedestrian. AGAIN: I was RIGHT and the honker was WRONG. I am sure there are cases in the history of time when a driver has stopped in the middle of the road for literally no reason other than being an idiot, but it is EXCEEDINGLY RARE. (If you are considering arguing with me about this, I think you might benefit from having a Honk Assessment Specialist ride along with you for a few weeks to help scan these situations for reasons. There are a LOT of Wrong Honkers out there, and you may be one without realizing it. There is no shame in reaching out for the help you need.)
There’s an intersection near our town where there is a right-turn lane and also a large sign on the traffic light saying “NO RIGHT TURN ON RED.” I cannot count how many times I have been honked at for stopping in that right-turn lane on red. The person behind me will honk, then throw their hands up in the air like “Who is this idiot?” I AM THE IDIOT WHO CAN READ SIGNS. But that person behind me goes on with their day thinking some idiot was stopped for no reason. NO LEARNING OCCURS, AND THE HONKING SYSTEM ENDURES.
OH! Here’s another one, now that I’m on a roll. There is an intersection that has a tendency to get clogged, so that the light turns green but the intersection is full of people who got partway through and can’t get the rest of the way through. It finally clears just in time for the light to be yellow, and then those people are so frustrated they scoot into the intersection anyway, clogging it in the other direction. It’s such a problem, the town has put up a big sign: “DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION.” Even WITHOUT a sign like that, the law is that you don’t start going through an intersection unless you can get all the way through, but the sign lets drivers know that this particular intersection has a particular problem with that. I have to go through this intersection twice on days I have pottery class, and so many times I’ve “stopped at a green light” (i.e., stopped before going into the intersection even though the light is green, because there isn’t room to get through and in fact there is already a car halfway in the intersection) and the person behind me has LEANED ON THE HORN. Listen, I DO SEE that it appears I am stopped at a green light; I DO UNDERSTAND how that might lead to temporary confusion, or even an accidental honk. But look a little AHEAD! Think, “I wonder WHY she is stopped at a green light. Is there a large obstruction in the road? A sinkhole? A cute dog? Is the intersection in some other way unsafe? Is there ROOM TO GET THROUGH THE INTERSECTION, AS REQUIRED BY LAW?” It is at times like this I wish I could get out of the car and explain the situation, instead of having the person behind me go on with their day thinking that so many other drivers are idiots and that only frequent honking keeps things running at all.