Traffic control signs. We see them every day.
But are we really seeing them?
I submit we are not. You are more than likely unaware of some pretty small print at the bottom of each sign (that is nigh on impossible to see while driving which makes it pretty damn unfair) that allows you to ignore the aforementioned traffic control sign.
What follows is a brief list that will clue you in to what those signs say if you took the time to stop your car, break out your readers, and take a gander.*
Don’t say I’ve never taught you nothin’.
1. Unless you live on this street. There is a sign in Town that prohibits a turn from 1500 hours to 1600 hours on school days because “those pesky kids” speed through the neighborhood in order to get around slower traffic on the main road. Every. Single. Time I sit there, I invariably stop someone who has lived on that street for twenty years and has always been aware of the sign, but chooses to ignore it. You know, because they live there, the sign doesn’t apply to them.
They are often surprised by the yellow piece of paper I hand them with a violation of CVC 21461(a) – Failure to Obey Traffic Control Sign. Weird.
2. Not valid if you’re really careful. There’s a sign in Town that prohibits a left turn out of a parking lot. It’s posted clearly beneath a stop sign. It’s hard to miss. Fortunately, it’s cool to ignore it so long as you’re “really careful” as was told to me in the recent past. The claim was “I thought it was okay, as long as I was really careful.”
Again, gobsmackery was resplendent upon receiving a citation for, you guessed it, failing to obey a traffic control sign. (Also, I love misappropriating the term “gobsmacked”.)
3. Only applies if you’ve lived here less than 5 years (also known as the Citizen Longevity Exemption). Oh! You’ve lived here for ten years?! Well, then…Huzzah! You qualify for the Citizen Longevity Exemption which allows you to ignore not only traffic control signs, but the general guidelines requiring out-of-owners to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. My apologies for disturbing your day.
4. Not applicable if you’re late for [insert destination]. I think we can all agree that speed limit signs are pesky. While, in general, they serve a minor function of keeping speeds under an unreasonable speed (say, 74 MPH), they really shouldn’t apply when you’re late for your appointment. Why should your inability to be an effective time manager be negatively impacted by a traffic control sign that is obviously there to keep other people from fucking up your commute.
5. If you can blame someone else for your maneuver, you’re clear to ignore posted sign. I was recently sitting near an elementary school that has some traffic flow issues. You know, like every school since the beginning of time has. There is a T-intersection and traffic backs up right at the stop sign. Ingenious and out-of-the-box thinkers take it upon themselves to pull around to the left of the stopped traffic to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Around a blind curve.
And then run the clearly marked stop sign. To be fair, if you’re driving southbound in the northbound lane, there really isn’t a requirement to stop there, right?
excuse reason I get is, “Well, everyone was backed up, so I had to go around.” Clearly, it is the fault of the other drivers. It’s not like you’ve been picking your kid up at that school for six years and should be aware of the traffic conditions surrounding pick up and drop off.
*If you take satire seriously, you should re-evaluate your level of intelligence. What is compiled above is just a brief summation of the excuses I’ve heard when stopping someone for violating a clearly marked and posted traffic control sign.