We are not invisible in our vehicles
This is a response to the letter from C.W. Mapel that appeared in the Index-Tribune on Nov. 22.
When driving through an unmarked intersection, the driver wishing to turn left needs to yield to oncoming traffic.
At a four-way stop intersection, the right-of-way goes to the driver who arrived there first. It doesn’t matter whether they are turning right, turning left, or going straight. You didn’t explain who arrived first, but from your letter it would seem the driver opposite you felt he did and that is why he started his turn.
The rule of safe driving is “watch out for the other guy.” Thankfully, the young man you encountered was doing that, therefore he was able to use his brakes before a collision, since you obviously were plowing right ahead (“already committed, I proceed” is how you expressed it). I sympathize with his frustration and, although I do not agree with his vocal and visual display, I also sympathize with that. I, too, would like to see an editorial (perhaps by a traffic officer) on simple, safe, rules of the road, especially the right of way at intersections. If my interpretation is incorrect, I would like to know. Courtesy while driving, whether in “Slonoma” or elsewhere, is an admirable trait and I agree that it is frequently lacking. As an uninvolved observer of this incident, based on your account only, I do agree that courtesy was missing, in this case from both participants.
I admire your admitting that you stop for pedestrians, and I agree we all should do that and not just because it is the law.
I don’t quite understand your other point, “If there is no one behind me, I pause to allow cars to enter.” If there is no one behind you, shouldn’t you just proceed and the car will have ample time to enter after you pass? For me, the time to pause is when I am in a long line of slow moving vehicles and a car has no chance to enter; this is when I safely pause and wave the waiting driver to go ahead and pull in front of me. I’m not sure if there is law applicable here, but courtesy does seem to be the best option.
I hope this interaction will remind us all that we are not invisible in our vehicles, and that common courtesy is commonly well received.
Peter Kaye, Boyes Hot Springs