Letter: Road courtesy can be hazardous


To the editor of THE EAGLE:

A letter writer recently decried a general reduction in the level of kindness in the Berkshires. She may be right, but I have to take exception to her comments about not getting a wave from drivers when she stops on a busy street to let them out of a side street.

When someone does that to me, I don’t wave at them either, because I didn’t want them to let me out. I don’t come out of the side street at all, unless there are people behind me who will be inconvenienced if I don’t. Stopping and waving people out of side streets when they have been trapped there for a long time (for instance, by a line of Tanglewood traffic) is a laudable act of kindness. But doing the same thing under ordinary circumstances is not.

When the law says that you have the right of way, and you can safely do so, you should take it. That’s what other drivers (including those driving behind you on a main thoroughfare) are entitled to expect. I’d rather wait 15 seconds for a driver to pass in front of me than have them arbitrarily re-write the rules of driving because it makes them feel noble. When you stop to wave me out, you inconvenience those behind you, and risk a collision if they don’t stop in time or try to go around you.

The rules of the road were developed as a common understanding to help everyone get to their respective destinations efficiently and safely. The kindest thing that any of us can do is to follow them.




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