Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Mad World
Photo by Artem Maltsev / Unsplash

 On the way to work one morning I experienced what has occurred more often recently of a car interaction where I just thought - "what an ass". This time the event was just an individual in a right hand turn only lane that decided they wanted to go straight after already being in the intersection. Of course I had an option here of refusing to give up space and leading to some sort of accident or slowing down and laying down the horn as the car squeezed in.

I honked and let the car in, because who knows - they could be in an emergency and missed a turn. Not more than 5 minutes later as I hit my last stop sign before work - another car did something so seemingly comparable to nothing, but it upset me.

Tampa, FL - Stop Sign

Probably caught in the motions of a stop sign as I just started going on my turn, but a car clearly went out of turn. This was no where near a close accident or even a merit to honk, but it just messed with my mind.

Was the driver wanting to stay with the other car? Did they miss me sitting there? Does the world resolve around them? Am I misunderstanding the etiquette of a 3 way stop?

Who knows - at the end of day I was delayed near nothing and made it work without an accident.

I started thinking though - this behavior in a vehicle has easily been changing over the past few years and its not like I remember when I moved here in early 2016. Take an example of a simple zipper merge to promote merging traffic - it seems somewhat recently that a behavior has emerged to the tone of "get eaten or eat".

Which basically means cars will either go the extreme of blocking cars from merging in or alternatively cars merging in will floor it to the end of the lane and force themselves in.

I just don't understand the callous behavior of what seems to be more and more people and why its changing. It wasn't too long ago that leaving my apartment complex during rush hour had no shortage of drivers that would allow me into the rush.

Now it doesn't matter if I have a green light - cars will continue to run their red for multiple seconds taking the few legal seconds I have to cross the intersection. Perhaps this is an evolution of drivers understanding how the lights work here in Florida. When the light turns red its at least 2-3 seconds before any light turns green.

This must be a preventive technique to allow those idiots who continue to run blatant red lights to not endanger others. However, folks have caught on that you can run yellows into reds for a few solid seconds before any chance of collision occurs.

Perhaps this recent awareness for callous drivers is more insight into how I'm perceiving situations now - perhaps it was always like this and I'm more on edge now.

I blogged about this before when driving to the park and again when the power took out street lights. I just want to know why folks are losing the ability to calmly interact with others.

  • Was it lock-down and COVID?
  • Is there a cause/effect that we won't understand for another 20 years? (Think leaded gasoline and aggression - reference)
  • Are people just more on edge?
  • Economy strain?
  • More people moving to Tampa?

I'm not quite sure, but it takes a toll on everyone. You either end up being walked over or becoming the asshole that people complain about.

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