BOSTON (CBS) – I guess my hard-earned reputation as a perpetual, cranky critic of the horrible driving habits that prevail on our local roads has spread, because now I’m starting to get road-etiquette questions submitted by listeners.
One writes in with an excellent question: “How long do you wait for the driver in front of you to react to a green light before giving them a ‘courtesy’ honk?”
Not to nit-pick, but first of all, a correction: a “courtesy” honk is how you let someone know you’re there who might not otherwise be aware of you, or something you do to prompt another driver to go ahead at, say, a four-way stop.
When a driver ahead of you is slow to react to a green light, the courteous thing to do is … nothing.
I will routinely give someone as much as five or six seconds to get it together (with the exception of drivers who are on their cellphone, they get the horn right away on general principle).
But the situation described here isn’t about alerting someone to your presence. That has nothing to do with proceeding expeditiously through a green light.
The scenario you describe, if it drags on more than a few seconds, speaks to someone’s obliviousness to the task at hand.
I am reminded of a scene from the movie “Anchorman 2” where Ron Burgundy is relaxing with his buddies in the back of a mobile home as it speeds down the highway, until someone asks who’s driving. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s on cruise control,” he says, moments before the crash.
No, I’m not honking out of courtesy when another driver spaces out for too long.
I’m honking out of contempt.
And a bit of fear over what stupid move they might make next.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: