In the past two weeks, I've seen so many people run red lights that I'm starting to suspect I'm part of a mass hallucination whenever I "see" a red traffic light. Clearly, the light must be green and all the other people who are stopped with me are also hallucinating. It is obvious that these bold, innovative drivers have unlocked the secret of faster travel - through the strength of their own will, they are finding ways to shave precious minutes off of their drive time.
The first time it happened, I watched as a car turned left in front of oncoming traffic, treating the red light as more of a suggestion. I blinked several times, expecting to hear some sort of ugly crash noise. There was none. This driver had successfully played the traffic light and won, to a prize of moving through the intersection two minutes faster than me.
The second time it happened, I watched in lesser amounts of awe as three cars took lefts despite the left turn arrow turning to red a few seconds ago. I suppose I wasn't as shocked for this one because the left turn arrow had been green and sometimes I will play with the yellow arrow to make a left turn. The sheer number of cars going through an obvious red instead of dashing through the yellow is what still punctuated this event as "terrifying," especially since it wasn't like they had been stuck at the light for several cycles.
It happened a third time. The driver simply decided there was no reason to stop and continued straight through the intersection. As I said, it is this sort of bold driving that will continue to get the fine people of my city to their destinations faster, most of the time. Probably. Until they eventually, maybe get a ticket or get in an accident.
I have also seen more than a handful of right turns in the face of "no turn on red" signs. More common, yes, but still frustrating. Plus, I'm never sure whether I'm dealing with drivers who are just terribly unaware of their surroundings or drivers who assume the rules are for other people to deal with.
In the meantime, you'll recognize me as the "person not leaving her house until all of this dumb driving sorts itself out." (And also as the "person who is really surprised I haven't seen an accident yet.") I thought about walking everywhere, but I'm sure avoiding turn signals and not taking the time to look for pedestrians are two more ways that these drivers are saving themselves precious time.