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Memes for Good Driving
Other Thoughts (2)
Via Brake Signal
Via Change in Speed
Via Lane Change
Via Turn SignalsBefore I tell you how I use turn signals as a mode of communication, I have to rant a bit, and tell you how I don't use them.
There is a certain mindset that some people have that irritates me no end. It goes something like this.
I am following the letter of the law, therefore I am irreproachably in the right, regardless of the consequences.
I'm not sure what I want to call this mindset. I could call it the bureaucratic mindset, but I don't think that does justice to the great variety of contexts it can occur in. Instead, for now, I'll refer to it as mindless rule-following.
Within the context of driving, by far the most common and annoying kind of mindless rule-following is when someone is set on obeying the speed limit even though it causes ver to obstruct traffic. The canonical example, I think, is when one such driver tries to pass another on a two-lane highway—two lanes going the same direction, I mean. The two end up blocking both lanes, in an automotive version of Parcheesi. Neither can speed up, because they're set on obeying the speed limit, and neither can slow down, because they literally have no concept that would allow it. (The concept, or meme, that's absent is the second one I mentioned in Foolish Consistency.)
The result is also an egregious violation of the principle of relative speed, of course.
A less common kind of mindless rule-following is when someone insists on using vis turn signals for every single turn or lane change. I would probably never have known such people existed, if I hadn't had some of them as passengers, or rather as back-seat drivers.
Now, I guess I have to admit there's no harm in using your turn signals all the time. However, it is also true that turn signals have absolutely no function except to communicate with other drivers; using them unnecessarily is like walking around mumbling to yourself. So, although I don't mind other people doing it, I resent being told I ought to do it myself.
Here are some examples of situations in which I think turn signals are unnecessary, and so don't normally use them.
That's all I wanted to say about how I don't use turn signals. Now, finally, I will tell you the interesting part, how I do use them. I don't have any general theory, just a bunch of examples. We've already seen a few, actually, in the exceptions to the previous examples; now here are some more.
@ July (2002)