In my travels as a professional pedestrian, I've come across some really stupid things. Now the average motorist probably hasn't had anything happen to them more than a speeding ticket (I think my mom has had one in her life, and she's 56 years old). But I'm doing some basic math while walking down roads, and sometimes there's a staggeringly high percentage of people who do things that they really shouldn't.
1. Using a turn signal
This is split up into two categories. First, there's the people that just flat out refuse to use a turn signal. I can't see how people can't be bothered using a device that is designed to prevent you from dying, all with the flick of a wrist. Think it's harmless? How about the fact that failure to use a turn signal causes more than twice the amount of accidents than distracted driving causes. Remember that. Everybody gets all gung-ho about stopping people from texting, when what they should be doing is teaching people how to correctly operate a vehicle.
Correctly. Because some people use their signal, they just use it wrong. I've seen way too many people activate their signal AS THEY BEGIN TURNING. Here's the thing. You know what that signal does? It tells everyone on the road and on the streets that you are going to perform a turn. Most of the time turning on a different road. If you activate that signal too late, you are not giving other people time enough to react to the fact that "oh, that car's turning". It's a wonder I'm still alive, knowing that every time I step outside, I'm risking my life by trusting these people.
2. The "Poke poke"
In the U.S., it's "right on red", since we drive on the right side of the road, so for others this may be confusing. But when a car stops at a red light, and is waiting for traffic to clear to turn right, they perform what I call the poke effect. This is where they start and stop five to ten times, as they inch forward. Why? Really. Because I'm standing there, waiting to go ahead in front of you, and I'm watching the roads. I see a clearing, and I can guess you're going to go. But are you? You inch forward, over and over, because your car is playing its own game of "Red Light, Green Light". Now I'm no mechanical genius, but I'm pretty sure that is bad for your car. It's like a wide receiver in football. Sure, his job is to get hit a lot during his career, but if he can find out a way to lessen the amount of hits he takes, he can add longevity to that career. Your car is like that, except when you're putting that wear on your brakes, rotors, and other car-related words, it's like that receiver running head first into the walls of the stands after every play. For my sake, and your car's, stop doing it.
3. Honking at me - or any other annoying thing directed at me
I'm not saying you shouldn't use your horn if I fucked up somehow. I'm saying, there are those people that honk their horn, or yell, or do some stupid shit intended to piss me off. It's trolling, in the form of vehicles vs. pedestrians. I don't think I need to explain why this is juvenile, stupid, and I'm begging for one of those 950,000 "distraction" accidents to be you right then and now.
"But Pendulous, what if it's someone you know?". You have a point, magical voice. I don't know a damn thing about cars. And I would not recognize your car with a quick look, or maybe even a longer one. Sorry bro, but your truck looks like every other red truck to me. But here's the thing. No matter who it is, a horn honk equals an ass. Because you're either A. some random asshole that's honking at me to be an asshole, or B. you know me, and you're honking to get my attention. In that case though, you're honking to get my attention, and you don't even bother to stop and offer me a lift. If you know me, you should know that I probably didn't notice it was even you. So honking just says "haha, hey, I'm right here, but have fun walking down the road!" So you're an asshole either way.
4. Being too nice
Don't get me wrong, I love the fact some motorists want to lend a helping hand to pedestrians. But there are some things that they don't realize, or know, that they really should:
A. I can't see that hand. Don't wave it, thinking I see it. You're stopping in a busy street to let me go. That's nice, but you're the one in the car, and I've already stopped for you, at the median where I'm safe from sober drivers. I'm walking, so I'm not in a hurry, or I've planned ahead how long it's going to take to get where I'm going. You're in a killing machine. Slowing down and stopping doesn't help either. I don't know that you're doing it to let me go. You may just be poking poking even though you're not at a stoplight. At night you can flash your lights, I can see that clearly, that's fine. But don't be nice for the sake of being nice. Sometimes, it's more a hassle than anything.
B. There are other cars on the road. If I'm darting past an eight-lane highway, like I need to do to get to McDonald's where I can put back all the calories I just burned dodging people who don't use turn signals, then you're at a light with three other lanes (Don't ask me why there's not a Walk signal there, or why there IS one on a one lane four-way stop. Sometimes this city is weird.). If you slow down and stop to let me go, you have to realize there are three other lanes of people who aren't aware that that's what you're doing, and are moving in the same kinds of killing machines that you are. Again, be nice, but be aware of what you're doing.
5. Those white lines are there for a reason
Even before I moved to a city with walk/don't walk signals, I was aware of the laws of pedestrianism. Pretty much every stoplight has a white line indicating where the first car in line should stop. Why? Well, I don't really know if that line is directly related to anything with the other motorists. But, there is one thing it does. It indicates where I need to walk across. In a big city with said signals for walking, there are actual lanes that make it obvious. Why would you drive up and into that area, and sit there waiting on a red light? You can't expect me to be forced into traffic while trying to cross. Granted, it's not usually that extreme, but that IS why it's there, is it not?
6. Sometimes, I just can't get any further off the road
I'm not walking that close to the road to piss you off. Sometimes, in smaller towns where there are no sidewalks, two feet off the road is a large ditch. I kind of have to walk on that foot-wide stretch of concrete between the white line and possible death. Not that there isn't death on the other side of that line too. But you don't have to hug that white line. You may think that your Geo is too wide to make room for me, but guess what? That giant SUV made room, and I didn't wonder if my right arm would be cut off when it came by. You don't have to change lanes. It's kind of nice when people do, and it seems pretty apparent they're doing it for my benefit. That's one of those "be nice" moments where it seems like they can't do it wrong. But there is usually (and not always, I understand not every road is the same size, but again, if that SUV fit...) enough room to make me not fear for my life.
So, there you go. Use your turn signal, don't risk your life to assist me, and don't let James Harrison ruin your car.