Letting People In

Most cities have certain intersections or merge points where basically the only way for somebody to get in from the direction that has the yield or stop sign is for somebody from the dominant traffic flow to let that person in. Pittsburgh has a lot of these. Many of them function on a "take your turn" system of one for one merging. People in Pittsburgh are very good at this, and polite about it in general. Of course, there is the occasional opportunist. Most people will "punish" such a person, making them wait longer if possible. Over time, each driver developes a set of standard operating procedures that guide their behavior. Here's one of mine, dedicated to the guy in the BMW who pulls into traffic from his sidestreet at the Slagheap Arms every morning: "If you want me to let you in, you should stop at the stop sign first."

2010.06.03 at 8:30am EDT