Note: Nothing new to read here — just thinking out loud and boiling things down.
The rules of safe movement are these:
- First come, first served.
- Drive on the right.
- Pass on the left.
Everything should follow from these rules. Everything includes (but is not limited to):
- Traffic laws
- Traffic controls
- Engineering of streets and roads.
- Driver behavior.
Laws, controls, and engineering should never put any street/road user into the position of having to, or feeling the need to, violate the rules of safe movement. One essential test of laws, controls, and engineering is that these do not direct, encourage, or suggest street/road users violate the rules of safe movement.
Driver behavior must include proper obligations and expectations that follow from the rules of safe movement (operative word: safe):
- There is one obligation: Ensure your behavior creates a safe environment for all street/road users. (example)
- There is one expectation: That other road users are meeting their one obligation.
Beyond the rules of safe movement and the obligation/expectation, there exists in traffic no other expectations or guarantees. For example, no street/road user has any right to expect to go any particular place at any particular speed in any particular amount of time. To believe that one does have the right to go any particular place at any particular speed in any particular amount of time is, at a minimum, discourteous. (The adjective I prefer here is “totally freaking outrageous,” but I understand I must be “reasonable.”)
To the extent that drivers of all vehicles (and all other street/road users) embrace 1) the rules of safe movement and 2) the obligation/expectation is the extent to which we have a safe street/road network that operates with a culture of care and respect. To the extent that laws, controls, and engineering use the rules of safe movement as an essential characteristic is the extent to which we have a safe street/road network that operates with a culture of care and respect.
And now you know why we don’t 😉