Traffic Laws

Nearly two decades ago I lived in a place some people would consider the boondocks. It was a bit more than an hour outside of the nearest major city, and another 15 minutes away from the highway. Sometimes I wouldn’t get home until the early morning, between 2AM and 4AM. There wouldn’t be another moving vehicle in sight, every time. But, the town’s traffic lights always biased the adjacent roads. It seemed like a bad joke because the timing was reasonable during the day. So, I’d slow down, stop, look left, then right and then left and right several times on approach, before going through it. I’d do the same thing at the grand series of stop signs during the last mile. Only one time did I get caught by the police, soon after I made that left turn on red. The officer was waiting in an unmarked silver, Toyota Camry in an unlit parking lot. After 20 minutes, she let me go ticket-free. Call it a bit reckless, I struggled to see the reason for stiffened traffic management during virtually risk-free times. Honestly, I still would find issues with it if the variables are largely similar.

Had anyone witnessed my ignorance towards traffic laws, most would think my actions were wrong. Some would even try to enforce the law by shouting, making some series of non-verbal gestures, honking their car’s horn or even chasing me. Weaponizing their automobile. That’s the American way, no? My ex-wife would have confronted me as well, as a law abiding citizen. I didn’t care, regardless. It was my belief, and still is, that traffic laws weren’t created by God. And for those people who try to enforce traffic laws that aren’t police officers, go fuck yourself.

I’m not as reckless as I once was during my youth. I wouldn’t run a traffic light or stop sign in any circumstance nowadays, most likely. But, I’ve since I’m not as reckless as I once was during my youth. I wouldn’t run a traffic light or stop sign in any circumstance nowadays, most likely. But, I’ve since found support for my argument having traveled the world. For the Malaysians and Vietnamese, a traffic light on red is a suggestion to stop, as is a stop sign. Traffic is self-regulating, and operates on common sense. Enacted traffic “laws” are rarely enforced, if ever. Police are more concerned with licensing and registration issues and, in Malaysia, women who could work in prostitution. You’re more likely to get checked on the suspicion that there’s a prostitute in your car than speeding. I can attest to that. I’ve only been involved (as a passenger) in one accident since living in Asia – about two weeks ago, and passed by 10 at most. When I used to drive to work in America, I would pass by two accidents daily, and three, if not, four on a rainy day. I’ve even seen a helicopter land on I-95 to medevac the victims. For an American, driving in Southeast Asia looks chaotic and dangerous. Most are too scared to try. But Asian drivers are more skilled than American drivers and a lot more patient. Yet, Asians have a bad reputation as good drivers in America.


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