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Thread: Stuff you just don't get.

  1. #4531
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    I despise four-way stops, especially those that incorporate left-hand turns. The rule of "The vehicle on the right gets the right-of-way" only works when there's only two vehicles that arrive at an intersection at the same time. When the lanes feeding an intersection are backed up for several cars in all directions, the rule swiftly breaks down to "Whoever has been waiting at the intersection the longest gets to cross next." That requires people to carefully track traffic coming from four directions, sometimes in eight or more lanes, all while keeping a mental tally of how long each vehicle has been idling at the front of their lane.

    I'm afraid that level of mental mapping is far beyond the typical driver, myself included.

    As a result, the rule appears to be, "When a single car has passed in front of my vision, then it's my turn to go, no matter if another vehicle has been waiting longer or not. I'm not gonna sit here at this stop sign forever!"

    Case in point (Happens to me all the time): I'm in the South-bound lane waiting to make a left turn to head East. When I'm at the stop sign, I wait for the East-bound and the West-bound traffic to cross in front of me. The other South-bound traffic heading due South pulls out into the intersection, and I try to pull out into my left turn along with them. Except I can't because the North-bound traffic is accelerating straight toward me. After all, they also saw the East-bound and West-bound traffic pass in front of them, so it must be their turn to go.

    I suppose I could wait until the North-bound traffic has passed to then take my left turn, but by then the East-bound and West-bound traffic has decided that it's their turn to cross because they saw vehicles travel North and South in front of them, so they're next!

  2. #4532
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    That sounds like an intersection that needs a signal. Not that I encourage putting more signals up, so many cities/towns overdo it with them it seems. But multi way stops don't work as well if it's a busy intersection, and they're not as efficient as every car has to stop, leading to back ups when it gets busy.

    Another peeve of mine (probably belongs in one of the trivial things thread). Modern signals have sensors to trigger them, so they operate 24/7 instead of switching to "flashing" at night when traffic is light. Meaning I have to stop and wait for the light to turn green even on the main road which would (when unsignaled or flashing) would have the right of way, to let one car enter from a side street.

    With modern tech and traffic engineering, they could still set the lights in lesser traveled intersections to flash at night, making traffic flow during lighter periods more efficient, but no one ever does this anymore.
    Last edited by kpatz; 2021-May-05 at 02:14 PM.

  3. #4533
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    That's true for intersections with no signage, but with poor driver education in the US and stupidity in general, I'm guessing a lot of people forget this rule. I don't think I've ever come across an intersection that didn't have a stop sign, yield sign, or signal, ever, in almost 40 years of driving.
    Come to Washington, I guess? There's no sign at all at the bottom of my street. I'm pretty sure there isn't one at the nearest full intersection to my house, either.
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  4. #4534
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    The four ways stops where I live are all marked as such, with a separate "4 way" sign attached below the stop sign. And yes, the right hand rule is the tie breaker for vehicles that arrive at the same time.

    One of these intersections in the neighbouring city can be a joy to experience. There might be four vehicles in the queue in each direction, everyone is usually alert, and every driver dutifully follows the rules. If two are on opposite sides and going straight through, they'll usually move through at the same time. People look at each other to make sure their intentions are clear, someone often giving a nod if there's the slightest bit of uncertainty (for example, that straight versus turning left situation). I don't know if it's a no-nonsense neighbourhood, or that drivers are so fed up with all the inefficient traffic lights elsewhere that they want to make this intersection operate successfully, but it always seems to be as efficient as such a place could be.

  5. #4535
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    There are two intersections near me that have stop signs on one of the roads with an additional "Cross traffic does not stop" sign below them.
    And people still assume they are four-way and go inappropriately. Planning is underway to replace one of those with a roundabout.
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  6. #4536
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    That's true for intersections with no signage, but with poor driver education in the US and stupidity in general, I'm guessing a lot of people forget this rule. I don't think I've ever come across an intersection that didn't have a stop sign, yield sign, or signal, ever, in almost 40 years of driving.
    I have, many times. Some, where there was actually no signage and many more, where signals were inoperative. In my state and every other in which I've lived, uncontrolled intersections are treated as those with 4-way stop signs.

    The other confusing thing with 4 way stops (or even a 2 way stop) is if two cars in opposite directions stop, one wanting to go straight and one wanting to turn left, I usually assume the one going straight proceeds first, [...]
    I don't find that confusing, since it has been the formal or informal rule/law throughout my driving experience. To me, it's really just an extension of the requirement to yield to oncoming traffic on the proceeding on the roadway before turning left.

    On yielding — I don't know how other states/locales compare but our drivers manual includes a caveat to having the Right of Way:

    "If you are the driver approaching from the right do not assume that you have the right of
    way. You have the right of way only when the other driver gives it to you, and only if
    another vehicle is not already within the `intersection.
    [sic]"

    In other words, if someone wants to drive like an entitled jerk and usurp your right of way, let 'em. If you force the issue and an accident results, "But I had the right of way" probably isn't going to be very convincing to the responding officer(s) or your insurer.
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  7. #4537
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    I've opined elsewhere that strict compliance with the four-way stop rules are sometimes inefficient. Case in point: you arrive at a four way stop where the other three directions have a car waiting. After you stop, the car facing you proceeds into the intersection. At that point, if you're on the ball, you should go as well even though it's not your turn. There's nothing more inefficient than each of the four directions taking turns.

  8. #4538
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    In other words, if someone wants to drive like an entitled jerk and usurp your right of way, let 'em. If you force the issue and an accident results, "But I had the right of way" probably isn't going to be very convincing to the responding officer(s) or your insurer.
    As my driving handbook stated (back in 1983), it said (paraphrased) "the rules don't define who has the right of way, but who must yield it".

    If I have any doubts, I yield.

    Most confusion around 4-way stops usually centers around "who goes next". When in doubt, I wait a second and see if the other car either goes, or signals me to go. If they stopped before me and are hesitating, I'll signal them to proceed. Sometimes we both hesitate and then start go to at the same time, and then I usually end up being the one who stops suddenly again.

    The Prime Directive of driving is "don't hit anyone or anything." Everything else is just clarifying how to follow said Prime Directive.

  9. #4539
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    I've opined elsewhere that strict compliance with the four-way stop rules are sometimes inefficient. Case in point: you arrive at a four way stop where the other three directions have a car waiting. After you stop, the car facing you proceeds into the intersection. At that point, if you're on the ball, you should go as well even though it's not your turn. There's nothing more inefficient than each of the four directions taking turns.
    The British equivalent I guess is quite different, it is the mini roundabout. The rules for roundabouts are well understood in the UK so the mini roundabout uses those but with a tiny circle in place of a large grass covered one. Its role is to define priority in cross roads, so all entries have a line on the road meaning give way. Once into the junction you have right of way. This kind of works like a four way stop, (illegal in the UK), but I think it delays less with less brake wear because there is usually a more heavy traffic from two out of four ways.

    The most colourful use of roundabouts is where a large central area has mini roundabouts at every entry. This is wasteful of land area but works in high traffic situations because the centre rotation can absorb several vehicles, increasing gaps.
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  10. #4540
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    As my driving handbook stated (back in 1983), it said (paraphrased) "the rules don't define who has the right of way, but who must yield it".
    That reminds me of something my boating instructor said, “There is no ‘right of way’ vessel, but there is a ‘give way’ vessel.”
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  11. #4541
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    So many posts to reply to...

    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    That's true for intersections with no signage, but with poor driver education in the US and stupidity in general, I'm guessing a lot of people forget this rule. I don't think I've ever come across an intersection that didn't have a stop sign, yield sign, or signal, ever, in almost 40 years of driving.
    If you don't mind me asking, where do you live? I ask for two reasons - first, this is the second time you've insulted pretty much the entire country, and it bugs me. Second, I'm amazed at the idea of never encountering an uncontrolled intersection, so I'm curious...

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesabrown View Post
    I despise four-way stops, especially those that incorporate left-hand turns. The rule of "The vehicle on the right gets the right-of-way" only works when there's only two vehicles that arrive at an intersection at the same time. When the lanes feeding an intersection are backed up for several cars in all directions, the rule swiftly breaks down to "Whoever has been waiting at the intersection the longest gets to cross next." That requires people to carefully track traffic coming from four directions, sometimes in eight or more lanes, all while keeping a mental tally of how long each vehicle has been idling at the front of their lane.

    I'm afraid that level of mental mapping is far beyond the typical driver, myself included.

    As a result, the rule appears to be, "When a single car has passed in front of my vision, then it's my turn to go, no matter if another vehicle has been waiting longer or not. I'm not gonna sit here at this stop sign forever!"
    I think that is what the rule should be, precisely because it can be impossible to determine who's been "in line" longer. Let one vehicle go from each direction that has traffic waiting, then it's your turn. The only exception, as geonuc (not PetersCreek, sorry) says, is that two vehicles going straight through in opposing directions can (and should) go together.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I have, many times. Some, where there was actually no signage and many more, where signals were inoperative. In my state and every other in which I've lived, uncontrolled intersections are treated as those with 4-way stop signs.
    As far as who has to yield right-of-way, yes. I can think of a pretty significant difference, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    On yielding — I don't know how other states/locales compare but our drivers manual includes a caveat to having the Right of Way:

    "If you are the driver approaching from the right do not assume that you have the right of
    way. You have the right of way only when the other driver gives it to you, and only if
    another vehicle is not already within the `intersection.
    [sic]"
    Absolutely. That's actually why I was careful to say "the vehicle to the left yields" rather than "the vehicle to the right has right-of-way."

    As my Mom used to say, who is right doesn't matter as much as who is left (neither "right" nor "left" in that sentence is a direction, in case anyone's confused).

    EDIT: To correct a mistaken attribution.
    Last edited by SeanF; 2021-May-05 at 08:21 PM.
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  12. #4542
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    The only exception, as PetersCreek says, is that two vehicles going straight through in opposing directions can (and should) go together.
    Mmmmmmnot me. geonuc
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  13. #4543
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    If you don't mind me asking, where do you live? I ask for two reasons - first, this is the second time you've insulted pretty much the entire country, and it bugs me. Second, I'm amazed at the idea of never encountering an uncontrolled intersection, so I'm curious...
    I lived in the northeast, lived there for most of my life, learned to drive there, and most of my opinions on driver intelligence stem from living there. Let's just say it's bad in much of that area, especially from MA to NJ. I live in SC now and drivers are generally more courteous and less aggressive here.

    I don't mean to insult the entire country, or anyone here, but to quote George Carlin, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

    I'm having one of those days too. I should just stay off the internet today. My apologies. Must be pandemic weariness (again).

    This will be my final post on the topic.

  14. #4544
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    I lived in the northeast, lived there for most of my life, learned to drive there, and most of my opinions on driver intelligence stem from living there. Let's just say it's bad in much of that area, especially from MA to NJ. I live in SC now and drivers are generally more courteous and less aggressive here.
    I live in Alaska and my wife and I have a long running joke between us about certain "stupid" drivers. With no genuine offense meant for Subaru drivers, we joke/complain on and on about them and their antics. Of course, I know we have a raging case of confirmation bias going on. AWD Subarus are very popular up here, perhaps the most popular. It stands to reason then, when people do stupid things in traffic, more of them will be driving a Subaru. The step needed to generalize that to all Subaru drivers is smaller than many of use would like to admit. The next most likely group of stupid drivers will probably be someone in a pickup truck. Did I mention that I drive a pickup truck? I drive a pickup truck.

    IMO, "stupid driver derangement syndrome" (my term) skews our perception of the driving population in general. I think that incompetent, rude, and dangerous drivers can be so infuriating that we have trouble viewing them in their true proportion to innocuous drivers. Or, as old question goes, 'Why is it, if you do something right, no one remembers, but if you do wrong no one forgets?'
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  15. #4545
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Originally Posted by SeanF
    The only exception, as PetersCreek says, is that two vehicles going straight through in opposing directions can (and should) go together.
    Mmmmmmnot me. geonuc
    The only problem with this (two facing drivers at a 4-way, both going straight at the same time) is when the facing driver isn't really going straight, but is making a left turn and fails to signal. Yes, this has happened to me, at least twice. Luckily I'm paranoid and proceed straight very slowly in those circumstances, and am very quick on the brake.
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  16. #4546
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
    I lived in the northeast, lived there for most of my life, learned to drive there, and most of my opinions on driver intelligence stem from living there. Let's just say it's bad in much of that area, especially from MA to NJ. I live in SC now and drivers are generally more courteous and less aggressive here.

    I don't mean to insult the entire country, or anyone here, but to quote George Carlin, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

    I'm having one of those days too. I should just stay off the internet today. My apologies. Must be pandemic weariness (again).

    This will be my final post on the topic.
    No worries. I'm actually less offended by a fellow American saying it than I would be if you were from another country.

    Are uncontrolled intersections really that uncommon up there? The nearest intersection to my house (about 200 feet away, I figure) is uncontrolled. I think most residential-area intersections are.
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  17. #4547
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    No worries. I'm actually less offended by a fellow American saying it than I would be if you were from another country.
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  18. #4548
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I think that is what the rule should be, precisely because it can be impossible to determine who's been "in line" longer. Let one vehicle go from each direction that has traffic waiting, then it's your turn. The only exception, as geonuc (not PetersCreek, sorry) says, is that two vehicles going straight through in opposing directions can (and should) go together.
    But then it's never the turn of the person turning left. The East-West traffic passes each other by, then the North-South traffic passes each other by, then the next East-West traffic goes... On and on.

    Meanwhile, we South-East drivers get honked at from people behind us.

    I also suspect the size of your vehicle helps determine what others think about your right-of-way.

  19. #4549
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    No worries. I'm actually less offended by a fellow American saying it than I would be if you were from another country.
    Of course, not all Americans (and American drivers) are stupid, but it seems those that are make the rest look bad.
    Are uncontrolled intersections really that uncommon up there? The nearest intersection to my house (about 200 feet away, I figure) is uncontrolled. I think most residential-area intersections are.
    I don't remember now. It's possible the intersection at the end of the (dead end) street we lived on in NH had no stop sign, as it exited onto another dead end street. But most intersections including residential ones did have stop signs at the very least. Certainly any that exited onto a bigger/busier/main road did. I think most unsigned intersections are in residential neighborhoods. (Note to self, next time I go for a walk, I'm going to check the dead end street that exits onto our dead end street, and see if it has a stop sign. I never really paid attention to see if it does, and I don't drive on that street).

    But, though I said I'd made my last post on the subject, I have something new. My ex (who moved back up there after leaving me) texted me tonight to say she got rear ended at a stoplight. She's fine, just a bit shaken, but the woman who hit her had no license AND no insurance. Go figure. This is the second time in 4 years she's been rear ended by an uninsured driver in NH. As I said, bad/stupid drivers are an epidemic (pandemic?) up there. I certainly don't miss living there.

  20. #4550
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    The US could save a lot of money by not putting up signs like the one shown in the attachment.

    No one pays the slightest attention to them.
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  21. #4551
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    The US could save a lot of money by not putting up signs like the one shown in the attachment.

    No one pays the slightest attention to them.
    They do here. Drivers go at the speed limit or no more than five miles over on the right, 15 miles over on the left. (That’s on the freeway, not at rush hour - 65-70 on the right, 80 in the fast lane, with no cops nearby, naturally.)

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  22. #4552
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    They do here.
    Are you willing to reveal where "here" is? I want to visit . . .

    I have a very vivid recollection of an experience I had on a US motorway. Pretty lonely that day, it was just myself, in the right lane, and then someone up ahead entering the motorway from the slip road. As I was moving faster than they were, I moved into the centre lane to allow them to merge into the right lane as they entered into the motorway.

    Which they did - right around the time I was catching up to them, and then they promptly cut me off to move into the centre lane, forcing me to move into the left lane to avoid them.

    They then promptly cut me off again to move into the left lane

    All on an otherwise empty motorway with three lanes in our direction. Just the two of us.
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  23. #4553
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    Sacramento, CA.

    Sure, people aren’t sticklers for it, but it does work out, generally. Occasionally you get the weavers like the one you saw or the guy that gets in the fast lane and sets his cruise control to 65, forcing everyone to pass him on the right. (Almost nobody here drives at the speed limit, though if a cop is near they will stay within five miles of it.)

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    Ok. The incident I referenced was several thousand km from there!
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  25. #4555
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    I recall seeing signs in Alaska stating a requirement to allow others to pass you if the number of vehicles behind you has reached five, or something to that effect.

    Passing lanes on hills are common on our two lane highways (two lanes up and one down), and at the start of each stretch we used to have signs that read "Keep right except to pass", about the size of the sign that 21st Century Schizoid Man posted. A few years ago throughout the province, the government added new signs four times as large, requiring two posts to hold them, that have a schematic showing the extra lane and an arrow representing slow traffic on the right and faster traffic going up the middle, and a statement like "Allow others to pass". The same small percentage of people who couldn't figure out what the old signs meant remain clueless and dawdle up the centre lane.

  26. #4556
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    I have a very vivid recollection of an experience I had on a US motorway. Pretty lonely that day, it was just myself, in the right lane, and then someone up ahead entering the motorway from the slip road. As I was moving faster than they were, I moved into the centre lane to allow them to merge into the right lane as they entered into the motorway.

    Which they did - right around the time I was catching up to them, and then they promptly cut me off to move into the centre lane, forcing me to move into the left lane to avoid them.

    They then promptly cut me off again to move into the left lane

    All on an otherwise empty motorway with three lanes in our direction. Just the two of us.
    Oh, sorry, I didn’t quite read that right the first time. I thought you were talking about a weaver. A weaver goes back and forth between lanes to weave through traffic a little faster than the regular flow. I’ve been cut off by the same weaver on multiple occasions because in practice it often doesn’t work that well.

    In your case, it was one of those inconsiderate types, like the guy driving too slow in the fast lane. They just don’t care about other drivers or maybe are trying to prove something (I figure the people in the fast lane going the speed limit like to force people to go around them or are protesting against people going faster).

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  27. #4557
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I recall seeing signs in Alaska stating a requirement to allow others to pass you if the number of vehicles behind you has reached five, or something to that effect.

    Passing lanes on hills are common on our two lane highways (two lanes up and one down), and at the start of each stretch we used to have signs that read "Keep right except to pass", about the size of the sign that 21st Century Schizoid Man posted. A few years ago throughout the province, the government added new signs four times as large, requiring two posts to hold them, that have a schematic showing the extra lane and an arrow representing slow traffic on the right and faster traffic going up the middle, and a statement like "Allow others to pass". The same small percentage of people who couldn't figure out what the old signs meant remain clueless and dawdle up the centre lane.
    I should point out that many of our highways have four lanes each way, sometimes five, with the center lane often to be used for zero emission vehicles only at peak hours. Unlike LA, we actually have good traffic flow as long as it isn’t at peak hours (LA has bad traffic all day and night), but all the lanes do get used pretty much at any time. I often pick the third lane to the left, avoiding the fastest but away from the people merging in or exiting.

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  28. #4558
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The only problem with this (two facing drivers at a 4-way, both going straight at the same time) is when the facing driver isn't really going straight, but is making a left turn and fails to signal. Yes, this has happened to me, at least twice. Luckily I'm paranoid and proceed straight very slowly in those circumstances, and am very quick on the brake.
    (Bear in mind we drive on the left side of the road ...)

    About ten or fifteen years ago here they made it so people should always indicate left before they exit a roundabout. (Makes perfect sense to me.) Of course, what that's done is half the people indicate right before they exit.

    So we get the opposite problem, you wait to give way to someone indicating that they'll carry on around - but instead they exit leaving you there.

    You'd think people would learn once they've had it done to them.
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    I don't get why this even had to asked, do you want another connections series from James Burke.
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    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

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