My husband honked his horn at another driver this weekend. Not once, but twice. To understand what a big deal this is, you have to know my husband. He’s a fairly patient driver. He doesn’t speed. He doesn’t crowd people. He doesn’t float stop signs. But he doesn’t suffer idiots lightly.
Let me set the stage for you. We were pulling into the Wal-Mart parking lot. This was at the very end of the parking lot and the entrance was under construction. This meant that when you turned into the entrance, you could not go straight as most people normally would. You had to turn right. Any vehicles exiting here would be turning left to leave. The road adjacent to the parking lot was one way. Here’s a picture:
The truck, labeled ‘T’, was exiting the construction area. The woman who provoked my husband’s ire, labeled ‘TL’ (for ‘timid lady’) was in the red car and we were in the green. TL pulled into the entrance part way and then stopped, waiting for T to pull out of the construction zone. There was no need for this because T was traveling straight and therefore not impeding TL’s progress. He couldn’t turn left when he exited since the road was one way. There was, in short, no reason for the woman to stop her own progress. But she did. So my husband, who’s rear was hanging out in the road, honked at her.
She moved forward slightly but then stopped again as if she were at a stop sign. The truck was still sitting next to us. She motioned to the first car waiting to exit to go ahead and go. Again, her right turn did not prevent A’s left turn. Nor did A’s left turn prevent TL’s right turn. No one needed to take turns here. Nonetheless, she encouraged them to turn.
Of course, they couldn’t because T was still sitting there. So they indicated to her that she should go on. She motioned that she preferred them to go. They motioned to her again. This time my husband, beside himself with frustration at the idiocy on display, honked again. For a longer duration. She indicated with a central digit on her left hand what she thought of his honking but went ahead and made her turn. A and B were looking straight ahead. C was outright laughing at the scene. I think D was wondering if they’d ever get to leave the parking lot.
We engaged in the usual “what was that woman’s problem?!” discussion as we proceeded to find a parking space near the grocery end of the store. The woman, thankfully, progressed to the other end. With any luck, we wouldn’t recognize each other in the store.
I could come up with only two possible explanations for the woman’s behavior. The first is an overabundance of “manners”. That is, she’s one of those drivers who throws the rules of the road aside and lets others go ahead of her. People think they are being polite in these situations, but it’s actually a pretty bad idea. If you have the right-of-way, you need to go. To not go causes problems. To motion others to go instead can cause even greater problems if someone else is not expecting them to go. No, leave the manners for the dinner table and just follow the rules when driving. Please.
The other explanation seems like the more likely and is why I named her Timid Lady here. She might be one of those drivers that isn’t comfortable in tight spaces. Specifically, she can’t make a right turn without first veering far out to her left. So, in this situation, she wasn’t going to be able to comfortably turn right until the construction truck and the entire line of vehicles waiting to leave had vacated the area.
Oh, wait! I just thought of a third explanation. Perhaps she is a passive aggressive driver. She hesitated as the truck was moving for whatever reason but after my husband honked at her, she decided to “show him” by making him wait for all the other traffic to clear out.
Regardless, I wasn’t impressed. I had fun drawing my diagram in Microsoft Paint though, and we verified that our horn is still functional. So I guess it worked out ok in the end.