In the name of research for this scientific essay, I went to a Ford dealership, a Toyota dealership, and then a couple of used car lots. I asked the salespeople I met one simple question and the answer really amazed me. The question I asked was this one: “Has there ever been a car sold in the United States that did not have a turn blinker installed in it?” And the answer was “No”
Now, given the evidence that your average motorist used their blinkers on even number days when the moon is full and Lindsey Lohan isn’t in trouble with the law and Taylor Swift isn’t singing a break up song, you would think most cars do not have blinkers, or that using a blinker required specialized training, like Seal Team Six has. But no, using a blinker is something a person can do just as easily as dialing a ten digit number of a cell phone the size of a credit card while eating a burger and driving with one knee. Actually, and this observation is really all that scientific, using a blinker might be the easiest thing you can do in a car, short of Lindsey Lohan.
Yet nearly everyone does not use a blinker.
Here’s a stat that is really and truly mind blowing: Highway deaths are at a low not seen in forty-seven years.
Fewer people are driving, and people are driving slower these days, but two big factors are the way cars are engineered and “accident avoidance systems” which take over the car when someone gets too close to another vehicle. In short, we trust our cars to be smarter than we’ve proven we can be. This is more or less short circuiting evolution. We’re once again stepping in to make sure stupid people keep breeding.
As far as I can tell blinkers are routinely used by two classes of people; those already in turn lanes, and by people South of I-10 in the Florida peninsula who are in RVs the size of building and are also in the fast lane blinking to get over in the slow lane, but who never do.
It’s a very good idea that everyone knows what you are about to do on the road. It’s even better if the drivers already know before they do it. Blinkers are about as low tech as things come but they are great ways to tell people what you want to do before you do it and it will keep the ultimate low tech signal, the middle finger, from being used. As an aside, I would bet there are more fingers being used in traffic than there are blinkers. For reasons that escape me people would much rather react in anger after an event than with logic before an event.
For all her troubles, Lohan is ultimately a mirror for how people act in traffic today, even if she is a severe example. She believes the road is hers and she can drive however she pleases and it’s an inconvenience for her to have to respect other drivers.
When you do not use your blinker that little bit of Lohan comes out in you.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
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