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Save time by taking time. Risky moves not worth it

Wheels columnist Eric Lai describes what could've been a near three-car collision due to impatience on the road.

Published June 4, 2012
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Recently, I had a scary near-collision with two “I must get ahead of you” drivers.

I was approaching a fresh red light on Bayview Ave. going northbound on Major Mackenzie Dr. I was in the driving lane and signalled to enter the right-turn lane as it emerged ahead. Even though there was absolutely no other traffic behind me, a driver turning out of the gas station ahead on the right felt it was better to rush out in front of my vehicle. He could have waited a few seconds for me to clear and not have anyone to interfere with.

At the same time the gas station motorist was turning into the driving lane, a van driver already stopped in the passing lane of northbound Bayview decided that rather than wait behind three autos at a red light, there’d be enormous benefit to moving into the right lane and only be behind two stopped autos at a red light.

So what happened?

More: What – if anything – goes through a tailgater’s mind?

The impatient gas station driver who darted into the northbound driving lane ahead of my fast-approaching vehicle turned into the blind spot of the van driver as he began his lane change.

Once his path was blocked, rather than stop in his lane, the gas station driver decided he’d swerve blindly into the right-turn lane and risk an impact with the right-turn lane driver (me) instead.

So, the van driver stopped before hitting him, I stopped just short of hitting him, and then the gas station driver finally stopped — but only because there was stopped traffic ahead in his lane — and nobody got anywhere faster than if those two had shown a bit of patience.

These two drivers both risked their own safety and that of everyone around them to get one car-length ahead in the queue stopped at a red light and, ultimately, they still had to wait for that red light to change before they could proceed.

If any of the vehicles had collided, they would have been extensively delayed filing a collision report — and might now be facing charges — all to save mere seconds of waiting time.

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