Stoplight Lottery

car blogThe Stoplight Lottery. You know all about it. Because you've played the game, just as I have. Traffic is light. You're approaching a stoplight. There is only one stopped vehicle in each lane. Which one do you get behind? You make your decision based on whom you think will accelerate faster to reach/exceed the speed limit when the light turns green.

This involves a lot of stereotyping, of course. It may not be PC but everyone I know does it when behind the wheel. All the time. Personally, I don't use the word 'stereotyping'; I prefer the phrase 'drawing on my enormous database of real-world driving experiences'.

Sometimes, your stereotypical choice doesn't live up to expectations. Last week, I had to choose between a young guy in an F-150 and a mommy in a Honda Odyssey. The minivan-mom took off like a bat out of hell. Must have been late for soccer practice. Or pilates. I ended up stuck behind the poky pickup; the driver was obviously a stoner. (No, he wasn't on a cell phone.) Bad bet on my part.

Every stoplight is a new lottery. Place your wager ...

Easy bets:

Young, wiry black guy in nice older Caddy with chrome dubs versus gray-haired woman with Coke-bottle glasses in ancient Mercury Sable

Motorcycle versus beat-up Chevy Aveo with space-saver spare on left front

You win either way:

Grungy, middle-aged fat dude in primered '77 Corvette versus multi-pierced, community-college kid in ratty, semi-slammed '05 Civic with fart-can muffler; both are staring at each other while revving engines.

Tough calls:

Lincoln Town Car with handicapped plates versus loaded Mack dump truck

Elderly woman in Buick versus casket-carrying Cadillac hearse

Geek with Bluetooth-in-ear yapping away in a Kia while waving his arms wildly versus blonde twenty-something in a Compass doing her makeup

Old, bearded guy in VW bus versus Ford Fusion with 'Student Driver' signs

Unkempt first-generation Prius versus school bus

You lose regardless:

Tractor with side brush cutter doing road shoulder work versus five Asians in beat-up Saturn sedan

Ready, Set, Go ....

(originally posted 2/1/08)

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