Thursday, July 10, 2008

A perfect storm

There are too many daily indignities to document them all (or even some), but (one of) this morning's was too good not to share.

As I was riding along Beacon Street in Brookline, a guy in a silver-grey Ferrari F430 Spyder pulled across me to park without using his turn-signal. Since Spyder is fancy-car speak for convertible and a Ferrari is very low-to-the-ground, I had a good opportunity to look into the cockpit and to speak with him, so I stopped.

I pointed at the little stalk behind the steering wheel on the left and explained to him that it is customarily used to set in motion a string of events that culminates with a light on the back of car blinking on/off/on/off. Then I looked at his left hand and realized it was a little unfair of me to have expected him to use the turn signal. His left hand was occupied. With a Starbucks and an iPhone.

I am not making this up. A guy in a Ferrari. Drinking a Starbucks. Talking on an iPhone.

His response: He saw me and knew that he wasn't going to cut me off. To be fair, it wasn't that close. But, that's not the point.

Use of turn signals is not optional. The driver doesn't get to choose whether it's necessary or not. My father taught me that I have to signal a turn, even if I'm at a four-way stop in the middle of nowhere with miles of visibility and no cars to be seen. It's especially true when you're driving on a busy street, during peak commuting time, and you're sharing the road with bicyclists.

Even if you're driving a Ferrari. Drinking a Starbucks. Talking on a iPhone.


jenne said...

i am happy i am not the only one who thinks people should use those turn signals. i get so annoyed,and everyone teases me for getting bothered by the non-use of signals. i thank you for sharing this story.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I and many other foreigners notice about american driving habits is lack of signaling. i am not sure if it is out of arrogance or just not knowing that it is mandatory, not optional. but in europe, it is not very easy to obtain a driver license like in america and they stress this during the testing and practice drives there. regardless, biking is still superior!

Bob said...

Using turn signals is like giving information to the enemy!

Kidding of course.

Out on the roads, whether driving, biking or running, I assume that EVERY driver is going to be either an idiot or a maniac (sometimes BOTH!), and adjust accordingly.

dfresh said...

I always use my turn signals, under the assumption that by announcing my intentions, I legitimize whatever completely insane thing I intend to do.

East Coast Teacher said...

This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to driving.

The blinker was installed in your car FOR A REASON!

Harry said...

Not using turn signals is a behavior that wears on the social fabric. Does anyone remember these bumper stickers?

Imagine World Peace
Imagine Whirled Peas
Imagine Using Your Turn Signal

The cause of world peace is indeed advanced when people use their turn signal.

Ari Herzog said...

Off topic, but why do you link to the same page in your first sentence?

Sean Roche said...

Off topic, but why do you link to the same page in your first sentence?

Blew it making the link. Fixed.