Tailgater tendencies: how do you behave when the robots are out?

9 Dec

I’ve always thought that you can tell a lot about a person from the way they behave at a four way stop. Even more so when the robots aren’t working: that’s when there’s more at stake, and a lot of drivers seem to think that the rules at a four way stop, which are pretty straightforward, suddenly don’t apply.

When there’s no Outsurance pointsperson to direct traffic, it all gets a bit Darwinian. These are the types I’ve identified in my years of battling Joburg traffic:

The by-the-booker: Most drivers know that when the robots aren’t working, you treat the intersection like a four way stop, which means you leave in the order that you arrive. This is me in normal uncomplicated situations.

The queue jumper: drivers who don’t wait their turn. What manner of lowlife must you be to think that the rules don’t apply to you? I hoot at queue-jumpers on principle.

The tailgater: the motorist who follows straight behind the vehicle in front without waiting his or her turn. There’s a special designated area of hell for people who do this.

The hesitater: These drivers are never sure if it’s their turn. Hesitaters are a pain because they cause crabs when by-the-bookers wait for them to go – which means hesitaters can end up being as dangerous as tailgaters.

The I’ll-go-if-you-goer: Strength in numbers, right? I’ve always held that possession is nine tenths of the law when it comes to intersections, so this is my approach in busy, chaotic situations. I tend to assume that most of my fellow motorists will behave like idiots if given half the chance. So if the motorist in the other lane goes, so will I, especially if the other vehicle is a truck.

The sailor (as in sail straight through): These are the most dangerous motorists of all, apparently oblivious to the idea that stopping or even slowing down at robots flashing red. They’re all too common at quieter intersections. Maybe they assume that they’re surrounded by some sort of force field, a la Star Wars?

What kind of four way stop tendencies do you have?


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