Case in point: On Friday afternoon I was driving west on Ospika, coming up to 15th Avenue. I moved into the left-turn lane, with traffic on 15th having the green light.
I saw a vehicle in the eastbound left-turn lane who had moved out a bit into the intersection as they waited for a clear spot in the oncoming traffic.
I was doing what I normally do, glancing at the light to see when it turned yellow so I wouldn’t be caught napping when my light turned green. The light on 15th turned yellow, I glanced to the left, nothing coming, I glanced to the right, saw the same car still sitting partially in the intersection.
I must admit at that point I thought the driver was one of those who didn’t really pay attention to the lights and hadn’t seen their light turn yellow, meaning they could now make their left-hand turn safely.
The light facing me turned green and I started to ease out into the intersection, keeping half an eye on the other vehicle to make sure the driver didn’t decide to turn on the red light.
Then I heard the siren.
I glanced back to my left and saw an ambulance westbound on 15th, approaching the intersection fairly quickly.
I immediately stopped, which didn’t take much because I wasn’t moving very fast, let the ambulance make its left-hand turn onto Ospika, then saw the vehicle which had been partly in the intersection start rolling forward to complete the turn and clear the intersection.
I let them go by, took another look down 15th to make sure there wasn’t another ambulance or other emergency vehicle coming, then made my turn.
As I sat in the Civic Centre a few minutes later after getting my second COVID shot, I realized I had fallen into the trap of assuming that driver had been like the ones I had seen who had not been paying attention to the lights and found themselves sitting in the middle of intersection after having had plenty of time to make their turn.
In fact, they had handled the situation perfectly. They had moved out into the intersection when their light was still green, knowing they would be able to make their turn at either a break in traffic or the yellow light, then changed plans when they saw the ambulance coming.
Note to self: Blacktop Blockheads are noticeable because there are so few of them. Most drivers know the rules and drive intelligently.