So many people seem to be making a living on NOT having any sympathy or understanding for the other side. This is leading to increased division, a loss of civility, the thriving of internet trolls, and the epidemic of cyber-bullying. It’s time for us to stretch our minds, use our creativity, and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. I’ll admit, sometimes that is hard. Pretend you are looking through a paper towel tube, and all you can see is the thing that is annoying you. You have to turn into an ant, crawl to the other end, turn around and look back.
Or, if you just said “HUH??” to that idea, do whatever you have to do to SEE THE OTHER SIDE.
Not using your turn signal!
I have silently heaped scorn upon perfect strangers for this act of negligence since the day I earned my driver’s license.
One day, a few years ago, the strangest thing happened. A fuse or something went out in our Volkswagen, and the turn signals stopped working. Nothing else stopped working; just the turn signals. Horror! After all that judging of others, suddenly I was the person not using the turn signal!
Before we managed to get the problem fixed, I found myself at a green light in a very busy town, needing to turn left, just after dusk so no one could see my hand signals. (The left turn signal, I mean! Not that other hand signal that drivers sometimes use.) There I was, sitting in the middle of the intersection, NOT at a protected left, NOT in a dedicated left-turn lane, NOT seeing a break in the oncoming traffic, and NOT indicating that I wanted to turn left. The person behind me honked long and loud. I simultaneously wanted to (a) apologize, (b) crawl under a rock, or (c) walk back there and give that honker a piece of my mind. (Yes, I can be a bit of a spitfire.)
Anyhow, there is just ONE instance for you of why a person may not be using her turn signal. Let’s consider some others:
- The driver is sad. She just had a tragedy in her family and she is on auto-pilot, which unfortunately does not include operating that lever on the left. When your mind is on a life-altering event, such things seem irrelevant.
- The driver is distracted. Granted, we should all avoid bringing distractions to our driving, but sometimes distractions show up uninvited. Perhaps her left hand is busy swatting at a spider, or scratching an urgent itch between her shoulder blades.
- It’s possible that the driver doesn’t think a turn signal is necessary in the particular occasion, such as changing lanes. Maybe her driver’s ed instructor sat and read magazines at the back of the class and let the students all chit-chat after their parents paid through the nose. (True story – from a friend.)
- Maybe she is on her way to the store to buy more blinker fluid??
For all you know, that driver may use her turn signal 99% of the time, and you may have witnessed an anomaly.
If any of these thoughts help you to take a breath and find some chill, and keep you from judging too harshly a person you have never met, then I am happy to have posted this little thought bubble.
And, if you meet anyone who literally does not know how to use a turn signal, please use these helpful resources! 🙂