Y is for yield

“NOW he stops,” I thought.

yield to pedestrianBack in February, I had arranged for a certain speaker to give a talk at one of the Black History Month sessions in adult education at my church.

Unfortunately, about a week and a half before she was scheduled to visit, she was hit by a car at the corner of Central Avenue and Henry Johnson Boulevard, a major intersection in Albany. She survived with some broken bones and bruises, but she was in no shape to give her talk.

Now, I wasn’t there. But I would not be surprised if she were hit because some car failed to yield the right of way to her as a pedestrian. I believe this because I have seen three accidents at that very corner, and two of them happened that same way. The third was a car that failed to yield to an ambulance that had its siren and flashers.

Since that recent accident, I’ve seen more signs like this one. But in my limited experience, it has not made an appreciable difference in (bad) driver behavior.

Cars yielding to the pedestrian at intersections is a fundamental rule of traffic law in most places. I remember being at an intersection in San Diego when I waited for the car to inevitably rush through the corner. Instead, the driver stopped and looked at me with a look that said, “Hey, dummy, what are you waiting for? Cross the street!”

I’m more used to this: one winter’s day, crossing the street with the light, I was nearly being hit by some car coming from my right, who, under his incorrect reading of the Right on Red law – and illegally on his cellphone – failed to STOP and yield to the pedestrian traffic (me). I was so angry, I picked up a snowball and hit his back windshield as he was pulling away. The driver stopped, got out of his car, and yelled something. “YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!” I growled as I walked away from him. “NOW he stops,” I thought. (I was REALLY impressed with my snowball prowess that day.)

One of the trickier pieces of recent traffic law in New York State is the notion that, at an unmarked intersection, drivers should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. This works well at intersections that are specially marked with signs, not so much at others.

ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

15 thoughts on “Y is for yield”

  1. I once had someone speed up when they saw me in a crosswalk. The….person….in the car (I’m trying to be nice) LAUGHED as they drove past after I jumped back. (It was not someone I knew).

    I don’t get people. This was NOT a busy street, there wasn’t anything urgent like “I’m gonna miss my green light.” All I can determine was it was sheer meanness and the desire to scare another person.

    I also knew someone who used to say “Pedestrians have the right of way but the driver has the final say!” Which isn’t funny at all and revealed more to me of that person’s personality than I really wanted to know.

  2. It’s scary trying to cross the street, especially with my gimpy knee. I’m not as fast as most drivers want me to be.
    Life is too short, why be so impatient.
    Yield is a great word that apparently a lot of people don’t know the definition.

  3. For us Continental Europeans it is strange to drive on the left side of the street, I always say in England and Australia:”Right is wrong and left is right”.Yielding is good in traffic.
    Wil, ABCW Team

  4. I find that the older and slower I get the more courteous people are at cross walks, – a cane is a great persuader, too, and you don’t even have to wave it!

  5. Discourteous driving almost endemic in the UK
    but we do have zebra crossings that have a traffic
    light system which not only instruct the traffic but also
    the pedestrians. Drivers have to yield to oncoming traffic
    from the right at a traffic island.

    best wishes,
    ABCW team.

  6. Pretty scary to even try to cross with traffic. Surprised the driver didn’t get out and give you grief since he evidently was not concerned.

  7. I’m always on high alert crossing roads as a pedestrian and probably feel more at risk from cars when on a bicycle.

  8. I think the lack of respect and understanding of a yield sign is a national issue, as is the problem with people being on their cell phones. I had morning duty by my school’s horseshoe where the students are dropped off last year. If I could have given tickets to everyone who failed to yield, the school could have had lots of funds to cover some innovative program to help our students. I’m glad your guest speaker is OK and that you weren’t run over by that car. Blessings!

  9. I am very impressed with your snowball toss. As my hair grows grayer, I fantasize about carrying a cane to use as a prop for hitting cars that nearly run me down.

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