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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Courtesy is not Always the Best Policy

I'm all for courteous drivers. Our freeways, highways, and surface streets would be a whole lot safer if everyone was a bit more considerate of others. There are times, however, when being courteous is not always the best policy. For instance, recently I followed a car through a intersection and into the parking lot of a grocery store on the other side (i.e.,, the street dead-ended into the grocery store's parking lot), and the driver, being ever-so-considerate, stopped in order to let a mother and her children cross in front of him.

The right thing to do, right? Wrong. By stopping, the driver caused cars behind him to back up into the intersection (it didn't happen to me, if you're wondering), placing them in danger of being hit by another car. But what about the mother and her children? They weren't already crossing in front of the car, so the driver could have proceeded into the parking lot without endangering their well-being, but by stopping, he endangered the well-being of the drivers behind him. I've witnessed similar instances when I've been running: drivers stopping to let me cross a side street while causing a dangerous backup on the main thoroughfare.

The moral of the story? While being courteous is almost always the right thing to do, sometimes it isn't, which is why drivers need to be aware of their entire surroundings, not just what's in front of them.

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