No Means Why Not

Jerry Seinfeld once said that the only warning label people really pay attention to is “Dry Clean Only.”  He has a point.  Just about everything else we are told not to do we do and do it with gusto.  If you take a warning label, put it on steroids, turn the fabric to metal, and hang it on a pole along the side of the road you get those big warning signs.  They don’t have anywhere near the impact of “Dry Clean Only.”

Perhaps it’s because we got back to real winter weather.  Perhaps it’s because all of the stars lined up just right and all of the blind, nearly blind, and soon to be blind-sided were out driving at the same time.  Perhaps it’s because so many people take traffic laws as suggestions.  For whatever reason, yesterday was not a day to be out driving in the local business district.

There are some “No” traffic laws that are never going to be heeded.  No passing on right.  No turns from shoulder.  No lane changing in tunnel.   Most people do them and get away with them without much problem.  There are other “No” laws that are to be heeded because they are more vital to life.  They usually involve aiming the car at a point that crosses traffic and that traffic is usually high speed and busy not paying attention to its own warnings.  No left turn.  No U turn.  No turn on red.  Yesterday was the day that for every “No” the signs said there was a driver saying “Oh yes I can.”

It’s along one span of a quite large business route that there are traffic lights every 500 feet or so.  Shopping centers, malls, clusters of stores and restaurants, and car dealerships line both sides of the 4 or 5 mile stretch of roadway.  To keep unnecessary traffic out of these various shopping areas’ parking lots, most of the lights permit U-turns.  But then, most of the road is only 2 lanes in either direction.  At the two lights where the road expands to 4 lanes each way the lights are clearly signed “No U Turn.”  At both of these there were cars literally lined up to reverse their courses rather than travel the quarter-mile to the next legal switching point.  At both of these the cars were still lined up after at one intersection the U-Turning car was struck by another and at the second the U-Turning car crossed two lanes of traffic and did half a donut to avoid being struck by a car bearing down on him.

Along a different road there are two “No Left Turn” intersections that, if permitted, would require the turning car to pass in front of three lanes of uncontrolled oncoming traffic.  At the first of these I had to stop while not one, not two, but three of the four cars ahead prepared to make an unlawful left turn.  To be safe about it, they all had their turn signals on.  At the second of these there was only one car making its illegal turn.  That car was a police car.

There just isn’t enough space to detail all of the No Turn on Red turns but one was absolutely spectacular.  That will be a post for another day.

There was no indication of how many of these scofflaws needed to have something dry cleaned.  By the end of the day, I did.

Now that’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you.



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