It's all about intersections. A former city-gal now living in the suburbs, I have gone to the 'dark side': a car-based existence. There are several intersections in my neighborhood where a small residential street must cross larger commercial streets. Access from the small street is controlled by a stop sign. The larger street has no traffic control at the intersection, but about a block away, there is a traffic light.
With me so far?
This happens EVERY morning: I coast up to the stop line and wait for the traffic light ahead on the intersecting street to turn red allowing for a break in traffic so I can cross said intersection. *SHOULD* be simple. After all, we are taught in Kindergarten the gospel of taking turns.
What ought to happen:
Cars on the intersecting street see that traffic in their travel direction is stopped at the red light. There is NO WHERE for them to go so they STOP and WAIT clear of the little intersection (incidentally obeying the "Don't block intersection" traffic sign.) During the short light cycle at least ONE car crosses and all is right and holy in the world.
What *really* happens:
Cars on the intersection street see that traffic in their travel direction is stopped at the red light. There is NO WHERE for them to go, so they RACE AHEAD completely blocking the intersection while pretending the cross street doesn't exist and the cars that are waiting to cross simply invisible. The light cycles, turns green, and the cars keep coming. The light cycles, turns red. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Yes, it took me four light cycles to cross the street this morning while someone behind me kept laying on her horn. I thought, sure, lady, I'll just barrel right out into this line of oncoming traffic for your convenience. We live in a civil society. Of course they'll stop. . . .