Yellow Lights

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Yellow Lights | Dre BaldwinWhen my dad was teaching me how to drive, we started with his car in the empty back parking lot of Cheltenham Mall. As I (and he) got more comfortable driving we went out on the road. As we drove on the real road, I could see his right foot instinctively moving on the passenger side. Shit, I would be too with a brand new driver behind the wheel of my car.

Once, I was approaching a traffic signal and the light turned yellow as I was close to passing through. I was close enough to make it through the intersection without speeding up, but my dad instructed me to stop at any yellow lights from that point forward. Not because I’d violated any driver rules or that he even felt unsafe — he just wanted me to learn the safe way of driving first, especially in his damn car. Which made sense.

I would probably teach my future kids to do the same thing. Safety over speed — especially if they’re driving my damn car.

Now I drive my own cars, and I almost never stop at yellow.

I see each of our lives as a personal car. We are the only owner and the only driver. We are responsible to gas it up, keep it clean, upgrade every now and then, and make sure the internal mechanisms are in good shape. We can drive across the country or stay in the parking garage. Blast our music or keep the windows up. Speed through yellow lights — the uncertain moments — or stop at every one. The passengers can move their feet instinctively and get nervous, even complain about your driving habits, but you are the one at the controls.

Me, I’ve gotten my share of speeding tickets (from the cops and the cameras). Been lucky enough to stay dent-free. But not because I drive cautiously.

I’ve found that the more cautiously you move, the higher your chances of an accident: you attract what you’re thinking about, and fear is a powerful thought.

From what I see, people get out of the way of really aggressive drivers who seem to have somewhere to go. Some cops don’t even want to bother chasing them down. Cameras? An aggressive driver will pay the fines — it’s basically buying time.

I like to speed up at yellow lights and take my chances. I’ll get there faster, it keeps me alert behind the wheel, and shit — isn’t the car made for driving? All that stuff under the hood wasn’t made for stopping. It’s all for making the car go.

A car that stops at every yellow light is a bored, uninspired car. And it wastes gas.

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