What ever happened to common courtesy?

This post is applicable to much more than simple LEO related stuff. Let’s hearken back to a simpler time, shall we?

Remember the days, no so very long ago, when you would be sitting in traffic and there was another driver waiting to merge in front of you? Remember when you’d slow and wave for them to enter? Remember the fondness you felt when they, having seen your polite invitation to enter, would raise a hand in thanks, maybe even smile? Ah….
What the fuck happened to those people? Where have they all gone? How many times do I have to let people change lanes in front of me, merge, or straight cut me off before I get some damn acknowledgment of the benevolence of my actions? And by me, I mean all of us who do that sort of thing. I’m acting as your agent here, folks!
Let me take a second and rant on you ungrateful pricks that are too busy talking on your goddamn cellphones or texting or reading or just generally have your heads in your ass. Listen, asshole, there’s no requirement for me to let you in. The burden is on you to merge, change lanes, or yield until it’s safe to do so. If that means you have to wait 30 minutes, tough shit. Bring a book.
So, when I or others of my ilk, raise a friendly hand and say, “Come on in/over, my fellow traveler” how about you raise whichever hand is currently scratching your balls or picking your nose and say a hearty “Well played and thank you, good sir” in response? Would it fucking kill you to return some civility?
With all the current economic, societal, and political bullshit swirling about this rock revolving about the burning star, don’t you think you just might positively impact someone’s life with a simple hand gesture? One that involves more than one finger, by the way. Don’t you watch TV? Haven’t you seen those sappy commercials where the nice lady witnesses an act of kindness and turns around and does the same only to be seen by someone else who does the same…and so on and so on? As I’ve often stated, TV is right. Watch it! Except those jackals in the media…they frequently get it wrong.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

39 thoughts on “What ever happened to common courtesy?

  1. Somewhere along the way, you and I, and a few other people missed the memo on “entitlement”. It seems to have given people the power to do what they want, when they want, to whomever they please, at anytime because the only important person in their world is “me”.

    Well, fortunately there are still a few people, like us, that try to act in a civilized manner; try to do something for the other guy, even if it is only a small jester. Maybe, just maybe, that guy will pay it forward and make somebody else’s day a little better. It takes but a few seconds to acknowledge somebody’s good deed, but the “me” people don’t have a few seconds to either acknowledge a good deed nor to pay it forward. But then again, they never get to experience that moment of satisfaction that you and I get, when we know we’ve made just a little difference in somebody’s day. How sad for them!!

  2. You just hit on one of my biggest pet peeves about people from other states moving to San Antonio. In Virginia, I didn't have to look for Texas plates, I could look for courtesy, and the plates would be there. I think VA shipped us a bunch of folks in trade. Jerks.

    Of course, in Hawaii the drivers will cut you off and then wave the shaka out the window. You can do anything on the H1 or H2 so long as it is accompanied by the shaka. This probably includes hurling Molotov cocktails.

  3. It's funny…I, too, just had this conversation. I'm one of those people that will not only wave but make eye contact and mouth the words "thank you" in gratitude. It seems that the traffic gods look upon me too because they always find a way to help me merge. Maybe it is because I'm always so grateful? 🙂

  4. I think these same "me" people are the same ones that refuse to "keep right except to pass". I will usually let people merge in front of me as long as it won't create a pileup behind me. One quick question to Motorcop: How effective do those merge lights work in CA? Thanks for the blog.

  5. Another proud "mom moment". I raised you right kid … which is why you are polite (well, most of the time) and why you appreciate simple common courtesy. You were TAUGHT common courtesy and God help you if you didn't use it! Where the heck do people get off thinking they don't have to show the slightest inkling of good manners? I see it getting worse with every generation – including mine. It's awful and someone needs to be shot (ok – maybe not shot – but at least beat severely about the head!). I feel better .. thanks for the outlet.

  6. I drive all over the country. I love California but I have to say Golden State drivers are some of the rudest drivers out there. There are some other rude drivers, too, like in New York.

    In smaller towns in more rural areas, you see much more courteous drivers. Maybe it's because they're too far from cell phone towers!

  7. Until recently, I drove the freeway to and from work every day. Morning was not so bad but afternoon was always stop & go traffic. I can't tell you the amount of times NO ONE would let me in, until I actually forced my way in. But I always waved thanks, even though the letting me in was unintentional and unwelcome. And this was in traffic going less than 5 km per hour (dead crawl). I always went by the rule (don't know if it's official, though) that every other car had to let someone in, especially on a freeway where the on ramps are only so long!

  8. Excellent post. I was on my way to work this morning and COULD NOT get over for that crazy 101/5/10/110 interchange because everyone was too busy jacking off in their cars to notice me, patiently hovering in front of them with my blinker on. I ended up having to take the 5 to the 101 to the 110 to the 10 instead of just the 5 to the 10.

    Question…. say there are two cars, in lanes 1 and 3. Both cars want to get into lane 2 at the same time. Does either car have the right of way?

  9. A friend of mine, an avid biker like MC and yours truly, does monthly workshops on riding safely on the street. One of the recurring themes is courtesy and PR. When a slow cager (driver in an automobile) pulls over to let you pass, it is always a good idea to wave as you go by–wave with all five fingers. A good practice for all of us, on two, four or eighteen wheels. As one wise blog reader suggested, we should model the right behavior.

    "halfambl" for captcha? What's THAT all about?

  10. Don't you love it when people only signal as they're cutting you off, not a moment before? It's like they're saying, "Here I am, move the frick out of the way!" My pet peeve.

  11. I actually still do this… especially for truckers trying to merge over to an exit or going through a lane closure in a construction zone. Those guys have it tough enough with idiots trying to cut past them till the last minute while driving vehicles five or six times the length of everyone else, they deserve a break once in a while.

    Also, it's a guilty pleasure, but I absolutely LOVE it when they return the favor by only merging halfway and blocking all the jackasses trying to wait till the last minute and then cut everyone off.

  12. All the courtious drivers moved north to Oregon (specifically Portland). I tell you, I've never seen people so polite when merging lanes and coming to 4-way stops.

    Coming from North California myself it was hard to get used to, no cut offs and hands used only for friendly "thank you" waves.

  13. Amen W1KAS, I live in PA, one of the worse states for mergeing. Every time I hit a construction zone the traffic is at a dead stop… WHY??? Because even though there have been warnings 2 MILES before the right/left lane closed there are people who hang out in that lane till the last minute and seemed suprised that there is no room for them, and their lane is disappearing. What does he do? he forces his way in causing the guy he just cut off to stop as well as EVERYONE behind him. What does this do? The more impatient drivers instead of just finding a spot in the correct lane, fly down the lane about to close to get to the front and… DO THE EXACT SAME THING. I love it when Trucks either stay half way in each lane or I've seen them move completly into the other lane to block them off, because there are still drivers who will go around the truck who is only half way in the lane. When I see a truck do this I make sure I leave his spot open so he can merge back at the end.

  14. thank you for standing up and making this point. common courtesy has definately gone out of the window. here in the bahamas besides a thank you wave or a smile we may just honk the horn to say thank you.

  15. Try Montana for polite drivers. Most all of the drivers will let people merge and when (not if) you do you will almost always get a wave or a nod. On the gravel backroads I think it is a law that you wave or nod at every driver going the other way. And if you are pulled over on a backroad count on a passer by to stop and ask if you need something. I swear it almost, I said almost, becomes annoying sometimes.

  16. During my daily drive I have to merge from a ramp onto the highway. I check traffic and find the best spot to merge and adjust my speed to the vehicle I will be merging behind. Once I am to the point of merging I often find that the vehicle behind has closed the gap and I can not merge. I am now forced to slow down and hold up traffic behind me and do not have enough room to accelerate to the flow of traffic and must wait for a huge gap in traffic or pull out in front of someone and force them to slow down.
    Merge:(transitive and intransitive verb)[murj]to combine or unite with something to form a single entity, or make two or more things do this.
    Now, I may be wrong but this implies that action is required and initiated by both objects. A compromise of sorts meaning that both objetcs (vehicles) will have to work together to form one lane of traffic. There are no yield signs or stop signs at the bottom of the ramp. No, you do not have right of way just because you are on the highway and no, the person driving the other vehicle should not have to wait and impede traffic for 30 min just because somone didn't thank you for doing what you should do.
    With that said, I do raise my hand in thanks once I have merged because that person has gone above and behond what is the norm. Sad isn't it, that the norm is to be discourteous?
    On a side note. I was pulled over by a policeman for speeding on the highway. I was doing 10 over and yes was breaking the law. I asked him out of curiousity why he picked me among all the cars doing 10 over the limit. His replied "Have you ever been fishing?" I said yes that I had. He asked "did you catch them all?" I took my ticket laughing and drove home.

  17. My favorites are the drivers who will literally ride half in their lane of traffic and half in the merging lane just to prevent you from getting ahead of them…even if the merging lane has 1000ft to go. Is it ok to take out the whole right back end of their car and claim "They cut me off by suddenly coming into my lane without signaling."? Excellent post…MC is definitely on my list of faves.

  18. A little petty arent we? I drive through a 10 mile construction zone during my commute and to "stop scratching my balls" and wave to you would only distract me from the task at hand..getting from point A to point B as safe and quick as possible. Does it seriously hurt your self esteem when people dont wave at you? I guess busting a 16 year old kid for smoking a joint doesnt fill your heart with enough joy to last all day huh? In all seriousness I dont care if you wave at me, give me the finger or show me your tits, although the latter may put a smile on my face. Grow up people, this isnt elementry school and you have really thin skin if this bothers yall so much. Heres to peace and hapiness for all mankind! p.s. – i dont condone scratching your balls on the highway ; )

  19. Thank you so much for this post. This is one thing that never fails to piss me off.

    I ALWAYS wave when someone lets me in. I especially do this when they didn't have to let me in, and their act of kindness caused a momentary inconvenience to themselves (i.e. having to slow down a little).

    And yet, how many times do people wave at me in thanks? Maybe one person in every 25. Maybe. Enter road rage.

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been saying this for years now, I am so glad someone else is thinking it. Ho hard is it to raise the hand and give that little thank you wave. People are just rude now, and as I am only 30, it is pretty sad that I can look back on the good 'ol days when people had manners.

  21. Does this fall under common courtesy? While driving my family( wife and three small children) to an Easter visit I am traveling on a county highway 55 mph limit following a 40mph older couple and it is raining. I attempt to pass the vehicle when the coast is clear. As I start around the vehicle the mist of rain blinding me for an instant I see a large simi trailer coming at me, no lights on (mid afternoon, dark) I jam on the accelerator and move
    in front of the vehicle just in time. As luck would have it right behind the semi trailer is a Highway Patrol Car which clocks me
    at 70 mph. TICKET. Tried to explain the situation, (tell it to
    the judge) The county prosecutor says "the sign says 55 mph not 55mph unless" Was tempted to show them my sign but the fine and court
    costs were quite enough. Just wanted to tell someone, this is Bullshit.

  22. Actually, Brian – everyone would get through faster at lane closures if folks waited until just before the merge point. You've got 100 yards of construction and merge warnings two miles ahead – which is more efficient for getting cars through? Merging in the last 50 yards before the closure for single-lane travel for 150 yards, or traffic stringing out in a single lane for two miles+?

    If everyone used both lanes right up to the merge point, then took turn-and-turnabout once there, the overall delay, not to mention frustration, would be greatly decreased. But that would require being polite and considerate of all drivers at the merge point.

  23. Not only do I always wave my thanks when another motorist extends a courtesy to me, but I say aloud "Thank you, kind person, I hope someone does something nice for you today!" The intended audience for these comments is my children, in whom I hope to instill the value of reciprocal courtesy as they become drivers. I think it's working; they usually finish the phrase for me now.

  24. I would just like to say there are a few of us courteous people left! I sometimes make an ass out of myself just to make sure the person sees my gratitude for their "chivalrous" driving.

  25. What happened to common courtesy? I say it went the way of the dodo bird around the same time this whole country collectively decided that the assholes who sell toxic timebomb mortgages to senile old ladies and the functionally illiterate, and don't care about ruining ppl's lives deserve to make more than 10x the wage of a regular working stiff who goes to work every day and actually does something useful to the society at large.

    Any questions?

  26. Oh, the road construction I drive through every morning-every afternoon…the "use both lanes until merge point" that changes constantly, the heat, the yellow and white lines on top of yesterday's lines until no one knows where they're going…so many chances to pause when agitated…

  27. Great post, I totally agree. My dad always told me, "if you want to see a bunch of stupid or rude people, take a ride in the car." He is so right. Love your blog.

  28. I'm pleased to say that when I let people merge in front of me, I am thanked more often than not.

    My most hated discourtesy? During rush hour, freeway entrance ramps are metered by stop lights. Unfortunately, the way they're timed is to let three or four cars go through on a five second delay — and then stall the next car on a sixty second delay (yeah, I actually count off the seconds).

    Many people seem to think that ten or fifteen seconds is the most they ought be forced to wait, so when I abide by the light, I get cussed at, fingered at, and honked at — and eventually get driven around on the right.

    I have not heard that the gating lights, which look like standard red-yellow-green stop lights, are mere suggestions, so I'm going to continue to abide by them. I do wish, however, that the timing were a little more even.

    I live in Houston, TX.

  29. In response to where those drivers have gone …


    (I get an easy 90% "wave-back" ratio in Toronto, and even more outside the GTA.)

  30. I feel really bad for all you city folk that have to put up with that… i live in lovely Nebraska country where the "1" fingered wave means saying "hello" not "fuk u!" i hate having to drive in our "big" cities here because i know exactly what you are talking about. if all else fails… buy a big truck and run the fukers over!

  31. Lol! You should visit Dubai!
    They do better than not acknowledge your kindness here..
    They Glare at you as if to say "what took you so long" to allow me to merge, Can't you see my car (phallus) is bigger and more expensive than yours?

    That same turd could not afford to drive a toyota back home.. it's just that petrol is cheap here so he can indulge in his SUV fantasies 🙂
    ..oh and don't get me started on the locals (Phallus'es with bling)

  32. I actually had a young lady let me into traffic in front of her a few years back, a rarity in California. About 30 seconds later, she rear ended me. It didn't do any damage to my truck, but it made me laugh.

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