A few days ago I witnessed a perfect example of the kind of bad driving behaviour I would most like to eliminate. A driver entered the left turn lane at a busy intersection and took his place at the head of that lane, waiting for the light to change. In this case, there is an advanced left turn signal that allows perhaps a dozen cars to make that turn before the next wave of two-way traffic pours into the intersection.
As I watched from one of the lanes opposite this driver, waiting for the same light, the two-way advanced green started flashing, and the driver in question just sat there. He then turned off his left turn signal. When the advanced green ended and the regular green lit up, he pulled into the intersection slightly and began trying to merge with the traffic going straight through the intersection. He was eventually successful.
Let’s set aside the danger of attempting to merge into through traffic from the middle of a busy intersection. That danger is significant, but it’s not what I want to talk about here. Instead, consider the long line of people behind the driver in question, hoping to get through the intersection, turning left on the advanced green. Normally, those people would have gotten through on one cycle, but because our driver was plugging the lane, they had to wait for at least one more cycle. That takes a few minutes. Our driver has just wasted a dozen drivers several minutes out of their day.
And what did our driver gain for this? If he had simply made the left turn and then turned around at the next opportunity, he would have wasted a few minutes of his own day, but no other drivers would have been affected. Did our driver consciously decide that his own time is worth more than that of twelve other drivers, combined? Or is it more likely this just never occurred to him? Did he simply panic? Unfortunately, none of these alternatives are very appealing. The driver was one or all of these things: selfish, oblivious or panic-stricken.