Three traffic myths

I have to drive every day, and generally I do not enjoy driving. In fact, I find driving very stressful. The commercials that claim that driving certain cars is fun do not connect with me. Part of the stress of driving is sharing the road with other drivers. They do not follow the same rules that I was taught. In fact, I have noticed three myths that seem to be believed by a large number of drivers.
Myth # 1: When two cars approach a four-way stop and one of the cars comes to a complete stop, the other car is permitted to cross the intersection without stopping. I guess I understand the logic behind this myth. Why should both of us be inconvenienced by a silly little rule? As long as one car is stopped, neither one is in any danger. If I’m always going to be the law-abiding citizen, I should expect others to take advantage of my naivety. After all, it appears that I’m inviting them to go first. That’s not how it feels to me. To me, it seems that they want to play a game of chicken in the middle of the intersection.
Myth #2: Turn signals are always optional, but the best time to signal a turn is while you are making the turn, especially if it is a left turn. I know, I know, even the best driver sometimes forgets to signal a turn. Sometimes a good driver remembers to signal when it’s too late. Even so, I’ve seen so many turn signals that began as the car was turning that I really think some drivers believe this myth. I’m just trying to get home from work, and I’m driving in the fast lane to avoid those cars coming out of parking lots and driveways. I come to a red light, and one car is in front of me at the light. The light turns green. Then the turn signal comes on, and I have to sit there while we both wait for the oncoming traffic to clear. Meanwhile all the other drivers, who weren’t fooled by this one driver’s clever trick, pass us on the right, driving in the slow lane.
Myth #3: “Right turn on red” means that the cars approaching the green light should yield to the right-turning car facing the red light. This myth seems most prominent when drivers have just gotten off the interstate and come to a red light at the top of the ramp. They have been in a situation where lanes of traffic merge, and now they are not thinking about traffic signals. Yet it happens other places too. The car with the green light has to brake to avoid hitting the car with the red light. Amazingly, I’ve even seen a driver facing a green light invite the driver of a car facing a red light to make their turn. Don’t these people know that traffic engineers set the timing of the lights for the greatest convenience of the largest number of people? On the other hand, a basic traffic rule says that one should not enter an intersection unless they are sure they can get through the intersection. Sometimes, when the traffic is heavy, I or the driver in front of me will follow that rule. Almost invariably, the driver facing the red light will accept that as in invitation to make the turn.
I encounter drivers like this every day. I was going to say that I run into drivers like this every day, but I try very hard to avoid running into them. They don’t make it easy. A little less carelessness, a little more careful and considerate (and legal!) driving, and we will all get where we are going. Could we try this some day?
J.

Easter and Opening Day

Two special days happen every spring. Sometimes they are a couple of weeks apart, sometimes they happen the same week, but only rarely do they fall on the same day. This year, 2015, they fell on the same day.
One of those special days is Easter. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. His resurrection provides hope of our resurrection. His resurrection provides hope that our sins are forgiven and that we will live forever in God’s new creation. His resurrection provides hope that all God’s enemies (who also are our enemies) have been defeated.
The other special day is called Opening Day. Specifically, Chicago Cubs Opening Day. After weeks of practice games that don’t count, on Opening Day the games begin to matter. In my lifetime, the Cubs have not played many post-season games. Every spring, though, has had an Opening Day to celebrate. On that day, it is possible to hope that the Cubs will have a good season, one good enough to bring them to the postseason. At the start of Opening Day, all the teams are equal. Every fan of every team can approach Opening Day with hope.
Both these special days in early spring deal with hope, but the hopes are not the same. If I say, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow,” I might get my wish, or I might not. If I say, “I hope the Cubs win the game today,” I might get my wish, or I might not. When I say, “Heaven is my hope,” I am talking about a guarantee. Jesus has lived a sinless life. He has suffered and died on a cross to pay for the world’s sins. He has risen from the dead. Our Easter hope does not disappoint us, because Christ has triumphed. Our Easter hope does not disappoint us, because God always keeps his promises.
Baseball is only a game. What Jesus did in Holy Week was no game. That week he fought and won the ultimate battle in the war between God and evil. Jesus took all the sins of history on himself and made them go away. Jesus faced the devil and crushed the devil’s head. Jesus died so he could remove the power of death and provide a resurrection for all his people, for everyone who trusts and believes his promises.
I truly hope that some year soon, some year in my lifetime, the Cubs win it all. I would like to see them celebrate a World Series victory. When the Cubs are champions, their fans all over the world will celebrate. Thousands of fans in the stands will cheer, and millions watching the game on television will cheer. All of us will shout, “We won! We won!” That shout is rather strange, actually, because the fans don’t win anything. Only the players on the team really contribute to the victory. The players who throw the ball, hit the ball, and catch the ball are the ones who won. Yet they don’t mind sharing their victory. They don’t mind that the fans say “we won” instead of “they won.”
Easter is much the same. All over the world Christians gather in churches and celebrate Christ’s victory. Essentially, we say, “We won! We won!” Yet only Jesus lived a sinless life. Only Jesus died on the cross to defeat evil in the world. Only Jesus rose from the dead on Easter to proclaim his victory. Yet Jesus does not mind that his people celebrate Easter and say, “We won.” Jesus wants to share his victory. He wants to make us more than conquerors—winners who did not have to fight to gain a victory. Jesus does not call us fans. He makes us members of his team. Then Jesus goes out and wins. And the win was provided, not by a home run, but by a sacrifice.
J.