Granted, it has been more than a few years since I studied a driving manual. When we moved to Oregon in 1995 we had to take the written test to get our Oregon licenses. (Not so when moving back to NM. What do they care? We were shocked…maybe too strong…perplexed…flabbergasted, is closer, too it) when our Kid recently becoming seventeen, was not required to go in for either the written or the driving test before she was issued her full-on drivers license. At fifteen she did the drivers-ed course and got her “provisional.” But, really…just off you go!) Perhaps, I should ask her, or look through her manual from her driving class if she has kept it. (And, she keeps every book.) My query is: when did yield, as an obligation (a law? Can you get a ticket for not yielding?), go out the window? Is it not in the books?
Maybe it began as a reverse courtesy from professional truck drivers. Their big rigs are going along in the slow lane and see a car approaching the highway on the entrance ramp about to enter their lane. If the passing lane is clear they will move to their left allowing a car to smoothly transition onto the highway. In effect, the truck now has yielded to the car. That was nice of the truck driver. But, what began as an accommodation has now become an obligation. Drivers entering from an on ramp expect - demand - that those on the highway move over to allow a smooth segue, saving them the inconvenience of having to tap their breaks, slow down, or even, gawd forbid, stop all together.
This can get tricky when you are in the slow lane and there are cars on your left or that are over taking you in the passing lane, making it difficult, if not impossible, for you to move over. The car zooming up the entrance ramp may not be able to see, indeed, if they are even looking, cars in the fast lane preventing you from yielding to The One-Who-Should-Be-Yielding. When that happens…you, with the rightful right of way, have to break. Or, it becomes a game of “chicken.” We know that is not good. (See Rebel Without a Cause.)
Another thing drives me nuts. In this scenario, I have yielded to the entering and, sometimes, oblivious vehicle. Now, I, the conservative driver, am in the passing lane trying to get up to a speed I didn’t want to be doing, while “Speedy”, the alpha-dawg, has come onto the highway and into my vacated spot in the slow lane. Slow is not in Speedy’s vocabulary. If, there is another car in the slow lane, the one I was behind before I moved over and is in front of Speedy, our lead-foot is now trapped behind it and hemmed in by me. I can’t get into the right lane again because Speedy is racing beside me, shooting me dirty looks, and there is now someone on my ass in the passing lane. Speedy is not grateful that I ceded my lane position (like I had a choice?), rather, he is pissed off that he is relegated to the slow lane. What does he expect me to do? Disappear?! He is mad at me; I am mad at him. Not good.
Sometimes, what we perceive as doing the “nice” thing can be a problem. Rather, we should do the right thing. But, don’t expect it in return.