Every day in Baltimore, I used to walk past the intersection of two one-way streets (N. Charles and 28th, for the Baltimoreans out there). Now, normally (at least in Maryland) it’s legal to take a left turn on red, if both streets are one-way (in the appropriate direction, obviously). However, this intersection was governed by an arrow traffic light.
Now, to me, it’s pretty obvious that the arrow light supersedes the general traffic principle: you’re never allowed to make a turn when the arrow is red. In this case, that makes sense because visibility was a little poor and it was difficult to see the cars coming from the right.
However, there was this one guy in the neighborhood who I’d always see at that intersection, honking furiously at when the person in front of him dared to stop for the red arrow. A few times, I saw him squeal out and around the stopped car and take the turn anyway.
One day, I was walking past the guy while he was doing his thing and I noticed his window was open, so I yelled, “Hey, dude, the arrow is red!”
But he yelled back, “No, I’m allowed to take a turn on a one-way street.”
I waited a moment and yelled, “Err…but the arrow is red!”
This went back and forth a few more times until the arrow finally turned green and the car ahead of him took the turn. As he took his turn, the guy yelled, “Dammit, I know how to drive!”
I don’t normally get annoyed at people’s behavior, but there’s something about this guy that has continued to annoy me, even months later.
What I find so interesting about this guy is that he was absolutely sure he knew something that the rest of us didn’t. He thought we were the ignorant ones; the ones who just didn’t understand the law. It’s so interesting. Maybe, somewhere, this guy is writing a blog post about how there’s this one intersection where everyone is a fucking dumbass who doesn’t understand that you’re actually allowed to take a left turn on red in certain circumstances.
The guy didn’t seem stupid. I’m sure that if he sat down and thought about this situation, he’d realize that you’re actually not allowed to turn there. But he didn’t do the thinking. He leapt upon the most obvious explanation (people are stupid) and didn’t go any further.