I used to think there were only two kinds of drivers: those who use their turn signals and those who don’t. I just learned there is another category.
The drivers who never signal bother me because they lack a common courtesy that we need, especially navigating Los Angeles. But then I wondered who those non-signalers might be: people who don’t know where they’re going. Perhaps they are numb from their tiring commute and sit behind the wheel with their brain on autopilot. Or maybe they are at a crossroads in some deeply personal way, unable to choose a direction. It’s possible they believe manners no longer matter, or maybe they weren’t brought up with manners. It might not even be their fault.
I’ve decided my heart goes out to them, and I now wish them well. I send silent messages such as, “I hope you find your way young man,” or “You’ll show me which way you’re turning as soon as you figure it out yourself.” I know it’s silly to cast these silent blessings onto perfect strangers, but it keeps me on the high road.
People who use their signals are the drivers I like to have around me; although politeness can go too far. Sometimes there’s a car cruising next to me, its signal blinking away, like the word “please” is being repeated, asking to cross over into “my” lane. I always slow down and wave them in because I learned a long time ago that I do not own the road. But sometimes they keep driving despite announcing their intent to merge, and this mindlessness makes me nervous. I don’t like guessing: Did they forget to stop the clicking after their previous merge? Are they just thinking about changing lanes in case they see something interesting? Endless blinking is as annoying as someone who doesn’t blink at all.
Yesterday I was with my man and he was behind the wheel. We were about to turn left and an approaching car turned right, right in front of us with no signal at all. My man blurted out sarcastically, “Thanks for the signal buddy!”
I laughed and said, “Hey. Half the time you don’t use your signal either!”
He replied with conviction, “That’s only if there are no other cars around.”
Suddenly a new category was born: those who signal only in the presence of other cars.
Is this a lack of integrity? My father taught me to always do the right thing, whether someone is watching or not. Maybe I’m taking this too far, stretching it over the steering wheel where my pinky can gently click the turn signal into action, but maybe I’m not. I just want to know where everyone else is going.