Don’t be “right” and dead


I was once driving with my wife and we were stopped at a red light. We were kind of in a hurry and she was a little more frantic about making it on time than I was. So, when the light turned green, she hollers, “Go! C’mon, it’s green.” And as soon as she finishes saying, “It’s green”, a pickup truck comes barreling through the intersection.

Now, had I been in that intersection, we would have been in a serious car wreck. And yes, in the eyes of the law, we would not have violated any traffic rules. The pickup truck had run a red light. They were the ones at fault. But, is that really any consolation for a major, potentially fatal car accident? I don’t think so.

In a nutshell, this is really what defensive driving is all about: assuming that someone else is going to make a mistake and being prepared for those mistakes.

Here are two other common scenarios where being right could end up being the wrong move.

Four-way stops:

You and a car to your left arrive at the four-way stop at the same time. You have the right of way. But, the other car performs a rolling stop and accelerates quickly through the intersection without waiting for you. If you aren’t paying attention to their actions, you could easily end up in a collision.

Exiting the highway:

Cars exiting the highway have the right-of-way over cars entering it. Does every other car on the road know and obey this rule? Probably not. So, if you’re attempting to leave a freeway via a weave lane, be wary of cars using the weave lane to enter the road. Again, you have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean other cars will yield it to you.

When it comes to driving, being safe is more important being right. And in today’s driving environment, being “in the right” does not necessarily mean you’re safe.


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