I know you know how much I love traffic. Specifically, how much I love other drivers. If this is the first you’re hearing about this, well, surprise, I guess. Maybe hit pause and go check out my other traffic posts. They might be relatable, or they might not be and that’s concerning. Because then you may be the person I’m talking about so … this is awkward. And yet here we are. Maneuvering the intricacies of life in an almost successful way.

Mmkay, circling back: traffic. Specifically traffic, what’s the word, hardware? Enhancements? Not sure so let’s just call it what it is. Traffic trash. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the left turn light with only three lights. Just three. Like a normal traffic light. Except it’s not a normal traffic light at all. It’s a left turn light! Where you should have the option to turn if it’s safe, otherwise, you’ll be there indefinitely since we all know that a left turn green is not the same length as a straight green. At least if you take the average across all traffic lights ever. I think.

This is one of the most perplexing things to me, as a driver and overall human being. Specifically where there’s new road construction. It’s one thing to have it there from the before times when the only option was a heathen version of the left turn light. Although, back then it was new technology so it was probably pretty revolutionary at the time. Anyways, as we move forward with the age of tech and have other options, like a four light left turn light for example, why would we not implement those … everywhere?

For the first time ever on TRP, I actually asked a traffic engineer about this. Did some actual research. And their answer was mildly acceptable. Apparently, not every left turn is in a place where it’s safe to let people make their own decisions on if it’s safe or not to turn. On the one hand, ok. Yes, we, as a species, have not necessarily proven our decision making and focusing skills while on the road. On the other hand, though, how easy is our driving test where we aren’t confident that licensed drivers can make an appropriate decision about when it’s safe to turn, and when it isn’t? If there is a car coming, then you must wait. Basic physics and basic laws of traffic.

This is what I heard from that conversation: people can’t be trusted. I don’t know that I agree with that sentiment, though. Trust people until they give you a reason not to is my motto. I think a good solution here is to maybe have the penalty for poor left turn decision making being a suspension of your license. And / or a remedial class on how to use common sense to not turn in front of someone else. Because that would make life better for all. Imagine if at every left turn, it lasted the entire length of the straight arrow, plus the bonus turn only green? Left turns wouldn’t suck nearly as bad.

The amount of times that I’ve sat at a red left turn light while there were absolutely zero cars coming from either direction all because of a few bad apples … oh my goodness. It’s infuriating. Does it make you angry too? I’m not going to encourage breaking the laws of traffic, but I often wonder what would happen if I just decide to go on red anyways. Which, at that point, are we any worse off than just letting people make their own decisions at a flashing yellow? I have to believe no. People at least wouldn’t be thinking about running red lights that way so that, in and of itself, is a positive.

Long story short, I think we need to eliminate the three light left turn option. For everyone’s sanity. For the integrity of our traffic laws. To help reduce driver stress, even if only in that one area. To force people to think about their actions. To add more flashing yellow lights in the world and yellow is the color of happiness and who doesn’t want to be happier? It just makes sense.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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Have you ever met someone who can pull random old facts out of their brains on command? Fact fairies. Evidence elves. Truth trolls. No matter what you call it, they’re not of this world. It’s genuinely a skill – you’ll be mid-conversation about how efficient you are with conserving toilet paper on each trip to the restroom and they will throw out a gem like ‘every time you lick a stamp, it’s technically 1/10 of a calorie’. How does one respond to that? My opinions were focused on how many sheets are too many sheets and you’ve caught me off guard with calorie counting. I need a second, if you don’t mind, to slow this high speed spinning opinion and come back to where I left you.

Facts are harder to know. You need stuff like evidence, to make people accept it. To get this evidence, you have to research and with research you have to properly credit the source so there’s no risk of plagiarizing. Even if it’s a conversation between you and your dog – if there’s a hidden bug in the room and someone is really out to get you, they could take you down for not properly quoting the website on whence thou didst read it < taken from my limited knowledge of how some really old people used to write in a time long, long, long, long, long ago. Probably before the dinosaurs #reference #bibliography #facts.

Opinions, however, need zero backing. Zero proof of any sort of validity. They do, ironically, need the opinion reference to make sure no one asks for a follow-up on where these ideas came from. A simple ‘in my opinion’, ‘I think’, ‘that’s just my opinion’, etc. will do just fine. These statements are completely customizable to the user. 

The only real downfall to opinions, is that anyone, and I mean anyone, can contradict you. Then you run the risk of looking, well, a bit dumb if I’m honest. Guess that’s the price you pay for avoiding the effort of learning something. Some opinions are very insightful, though. You could actually get a new perspective, which arguably is more valuable than knowing how much the biggest pumpkin ever grown weighs. 

There’s a time and a place for facts. A good rule of thumb I like to live by is that if there is money involved, facts are probably recommended. Now, I realize this is a broad statement so I’ll clarify my opinion to help enlighten you. If you are paying to be there (hello college!), then the professors could care less what late-night epiphany you had on margarita Monday. Your friends, on the other hand, are probably all for it. They may even be contributing to your nightly indulgence to better enjoy their part of the experience.

Another scenario – if someone is paying you, and you are not a social influencer / celebrity / famous outside of your hometown / being actively sought out and followed by people you don’t know on the gram / etc. then facts are a safer bet. Unless of course you get paid to share your opinions, in which case, bravo! Are there exceptions to this theory? For sure, but I don’t care enough to explore them. If you’re stressed about which to use (fact or opinion), go with your gut. Better yet, don’t care what people think and live your life like nobody’s watching.

In theory. Like nobody’s watching, in theory. Because there are actually a LOT of people watching everything that you do. We’re all like zoo animals today except that you don’t have to actually leave your couch. You can see everyone online. Sort of like a horror version of Back to the Future – maybe that’s what the modern remake will be. We all know it’s coming, clearly all the “new” movies are based on timeless classics because the writers are where? On strike? Who knows.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who loves facts, tell them to stop one-upping you. If you, like mwah, love a solid opinion, know that we are in this together. Thanks for reading!


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