Years ago, I was coming down the home stretch - slowly, fortunately - when the car ahead of me suddenly braked. A car parked beside the road had abruptly pulled out in front of her. We all got out of our cars, joining two pedestrians who were as shocked as the driver who'd had to brake.
The kid who had pulled out was indignant, but not offensively so. He'd had his turning signal on. We patiently explained to him that having your turning signal on does not give you leave to pull out into oncoming traffic. The kid seemed to understand, and we all went on our way.
At the time, I didn't realize how pervasive that misconception was.
So today I'm going up a narrow but 2-lane street and everyone is in the left lane. I pull to the right to occupy the totally unused right lane and discover that a truck is blocking it after the light. Okay. So *that's* the reason no one is there right now. I pull back over into the left lane and use my patience.
The light turns red before I get there. I'm the second car. Fine. Except that here comes someone down the right lane that doesn't care that the lane is blocked ahead.
I don't have a real problem with this. Had I been in more of a hurry, I might well have done that myself, on the theory that I can beat out other people from a light (people tend to be slow on the uptake there - although not always). It's a reasoned gamble. Maybe you make it, maybe you don't.
So now we're waiting at the light, Myself with one car ahead of me - let's call him Car 1, and the guy on the right - let's call him Car Self-Important (SI for short). Lots of cars behind me in the left lane.
The light turns green.
Of course Car SI is going to try to get ahead. No surprise. Car 1, however, is not about to let him. He takes off like a shot. I confess that I was napping. I left a tiny bit of space between me and Car 1. Only tiny, mind you.
Now we're approaching the truck. Car SI simply moves over. I was surprised. He would have hit me if I hadn't moved left and braked. I laid on the horn, feeling indignantly justified.
It didn't surprise me that Mr. SI gave me the finger. People like that do. What left me gaping like an idiot is that he then stuck his head out the window and yelled, "I had my turning signal on!"