Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ottawa Traffic (part 4)

As anyone sitting in my passenger seat can attest to, in general I hate other drivers. Not all drivers mind you. There are a few who would be allowed on the roads of my country. Just most of the ones I come in contact with would not make it to that short list. So I'd like to take this post to help educate some of the people not on my short list about parking lot etiquette.

I'm not talking about regular ol' everyday mall parking lots either. I'm talking about special event, 9862 people leaving at once, type parking situations. Such as, say for example, a hockey game where the home team just won the OHL Eastern Conference Finals. The proper way to handle this mess of vehicles all heading toward 4 exists is pretty easy. Find a line and get into it. The problem occurs when 2 lines meet and become 1. The solution? The Zipper method. I've seen a brand new BMW completely destroy his own side mirror against an totally unaffected truck because he would not follow the simple Zipper method.

For those of you who can't figure out what the Zipper method entails without more detail, out of the kindness of my heart, and to help educate you poor helpless drivers I'll briefly explain it. When two lines meet and have to form a single line for the exit, the Zipper method dictates that the lead person in each of the two lines should allow one person, and one only, from the other line to proceed before they then move ahead to join the newly formed single line. For the initial two line heads, the person that takes the lead position of the newly created single line is usually dictated by the new lines angle to the original two lines, the lesser degree of change wins. These rules also include situations where the resulting single line can actually be considered the natural progression of one of the two original lines. Simple enough and when followed prevents a lot of accidents and hesitation.

Now last Wednesday, I had the good fortune to be present at an event such as the one described above. On leaving however, I managed to find not 1, but 2 people completed unfamiliar with the Zipper methodology. The first car quickly surrendered to my more favorable position (and possibly having noticed that my bumper, having been broken in an unfortunate incident involving a small block of snow that wasn't, and having not yet been repaired, is more than able to take a small bump from someone's shiny new side fender without taking any more noticeable damage). The second van however did not. The person driving, who oddly bore a striking resemblance to a certain body orifice, continued to attempt to 'double dip' as it were, even when my car was clearly in the line. He was so close to hitting my bumper that as he drove forward he had to pull severly to the right and look out his window to make sure he was clear. A few minutes after our almost incident he proceeded to change lanes into a line that was running parallel to ours; even though he could have done that anytime prior to the merging of our two lines.

The end result, he almost caused thousands of dollars of damage to his car, and no new damage to mine, and ended up 1 spot ahead of me when exiting the lot. And thanks to the insurance laws covering parking lots, my insurance wouldn't have had to pay for anything done to his van even if we had hit.

I wonder if his other car is a BMW?


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