I was traveling up Tara Boulevard, toward Interstate 75, when it happened.
Every lane of the road had long lines of cars stopped at a red light. An ambulance was zooming up from behind us, sirens wailing.
The driver needed us to get out of his way, but we were stuck.
The drivers of all the cars maneuvered out of the ambulance's way, as best they could, until the emergency vehicle had a clear shot up to the light at the intersection of Tara Boulevard, and Upper Riverdale Road.
The light was red.
The ambulance was stuck behind cars, again.
This time, however, no one was getting out of the ambulance's way. The other cars were in a turn lane, so they had room on the median to slide out of the ambulance's way, but they were just sitting there. The ambulance couldn't go around them because a tractor trailer was sitting in the next lane.
The people who kept driving across Upper Riverdale Road added insult to injury by not giving the ambulance a second thought when the vehicles in the turn lane passed through the intersection.
People have seemingly become very territorial when it comes to their driving habits. I can activate my turn signal, and start nudging closer to the line, a mile before my turn, but no one is going to care.
It's like they're screaming "NO, IT'S MY LANE! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!" Then you realize the light a head of you is about to turn red, and you can make it across before the change happens, but they can't. So you go ahead, just barely making the light, and safely get into your desired lane, before your turn. You glance, momentarily, into the rear view mirror and stick your tongue out.
"Suckers," you think to yourself. At least that's how I felt when I recently went through that scenario. I can be so mean sometimes.
Here's how it goes folks. There is this concept out there. It may seem foreign or crazy to some of you, but it's called courtesy. People who are courteous to other people don't try to dominate the road and block others from using it. People who are courteous get out of a speeding ambulance's way.
I have to wonder if people realize they are supposed to be nice to each other. It's the whole "Golden Rule" thing. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, and all that jazz.
This doesn't mean block them on the highway so you can avoid slowing down. Just because there was the TV show, "Highway to Heaven," and the AC/DC song, "Highway to Hell," it doesn't mean Highway 19/41 is going to take you to either place. It may lead you to Wal-Mart, but not the afterlife.
People can be better, more humane, drivers if they take the time to slow down and extend some courtesy to other drivers. Driving is a privilege, not a right. You have to pass written and driving tests to get a driver's license. The state doesn't just give you a license just because you're breathing, and can see more than a foot in front of you.
If you are going to accept the privilege, you should at least respect the honor you've been given. We don't drive to impress someone else. Cars are a mode of transportation, designed to get people from one place to another. Don't act like it's a status symbol. Don't act like it's your "baby." Don't act like you own the road. Just show some courtesy.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.