Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Common courtesy

Posted by Dana Pico on 2011/12/06

When I lived in the South, in Kentucky and later, Virginia, when someone was trying to merge onto a limited access highway, people driving in the right hand lane would move over to the left, to let the merging driver enter, as long as there wasn’t someone in the left lane which would make such a courtesy unsafe.

Now that I’m living in Pennsylvania with the damned Yankees, if I’m trying to merge onto the highway, and there’s only one car, just one car! in the right hand lane, and nothing in the left but dust, do you think that the driver would move over to the left lane, to let me on?

Not no, but Hell no! And if I ever do experience it, I check the license plate of the car of the courteous driver, ‘cause I figure he’ll be from the South.

3 Responses to “Common courtesy”

  1. For those of you who don’t know, I traveled to Hawai’i 5 times in 2 years, back when I was living in Ohio and had my last long-term full-time job. I visited the Big Island twice and O’ahu three times. Honolulu (which is considered not-Hawai’i by Hawai’ians) has its own form of Interstate highway, with 5 lanes or more headed in each direction. If you’re in the far-right lane and want in the far-left lane, just turn your turn signal on. Everybody but everybody will let you move over, even during rush hour traffic. And car companies may as well not add car horns to cars they sell in Hawai’i, because they’re never used.

    But back when I was a trucker, I learned not to move left in order to let four-wheelers merge onto the highway. Whether it’s common courtesy or no (and it is) isn’t important at all. What is important is the fact there are far too many four-wheelers who will merge onto the highway and then drive right beside the trucker who wants to be in the right lane but can no longer be in the right lane. Let me explain.

    You want to merge onto the highway. I move my 80,000 pound truck into the left lane so you can merge. You sit near my trailer tires and slowly move forward toward my tractor tires. Since you’re moving one mile an hour faster than I am, other four-wheelers move to the right to pass me, despite my overwhelming desire to be in the right lane. They, in turn, convince ever more four-wheelers to pass me on the right. Now I’m stuck in the left lane where I don’t want to be because faster vehicles are too busy passing me on the right, where I want to be, to wait and allow me to move back right after I moved to allow someone to easily merge onto the highway.


    I move left to allow you to merge onto the highway. And you decide the greatest idea in the world is to drive in that right lane right beside my fuel tank, where I cannot see you. Now I’m stuck in the left lane, you are causing a backup of traffic in both lanes, and if I slow down, I’ll never get back in the right lane. Of course with the governor on my truck, I can’t speed up and get back in the right lane in front of you, either.

    So, why do truckers let other truckers merge from the right but won’t let four-wheelers merge from the right? Because four-wheelers, as a group, are self-involved, highly discourteous drivers. Even southern four-wheelers.


  2. DNW said

    People raised up in an entitlement environment directed toward cossetting deviance and excusing rudeness as self-expression, are simply expressing their developed nature when they do things like that.

    I don’t want to get started on the matter of bad and aggressive drivers since that is a subject that’s likely to spin out of control. But I do understand what you mean about “Yankee” sensibilities.

    In fact, Northern males in particular (probably meaning homogenized and well socialized non-ethnic types), seemingly do have fewer objective personal boundaries as well as a greater metabolic tolerance for insult and transgression when they are compared with men whose ancestors are from the upper south or south; as research at the University of Michigan has shown.

    No wonder then that one of the preoccupations of the left, is the attack on the Old American concept of personal honor – and by implication personal inviolability. The most common strategy in this regard is to suggest that personal honor in the American tradition, is one of a kind at base and in origin, with the Muslim versions of male honor as family ownership and domination. Honor and mannerliness = Rednecks = Islamic Fundamentalism.

    An interesting sidelight. As I was rereading the preface and introduction to Commager’s documents of the American Civil War – “The Civil War Archive” – not too very long ago, I came across two relevant editorial remarks. The first group of comments concerned the attitudes of the authors of the original texts being reprinted, and observed as how the Northerners who wrote home were almost invariably much more ideological, ardent in a quasi-religious sense, politically motivated, and tuned to political domination and universalizing, than were the Southerners. The second regarded the preservation of cultural sensibilities and institutions in the families of participants into the modern era: the observation being that in the North, the Civil War era families represented by those ardent disciples of John Brown and his methods, had more or less simply ceased to exist as meaningful lineal descendants of their ancestors.

    The Northern culture of that time, for better or for worse depending on your view, mostly evaporated away in physical terms, as a result of its own ideology.

    Comment cleaned up and expanded – DNW


  3. Dana Pico said

    I appreciate our esteemed host’s comments about driving a rig,but the vast majority of the time, it’s Yankees in a car; not a truck, but a car.


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