Greenwood: On the road, nice guys finish last

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Why do I do it?

Why do I continue to be courteous to other drivers when I receive nothing in return? What I'm looking for is just a little acknowledgment that I did them a favor when I didn't have to.

Nothing exorbitant, just a wave, a smile or a nod of the head.

A little something to acknowledge that I just dropped back to allow you to merge ahead of me, or that I stopped short of a driveway so you could pull out and make a left turn against traffic.

I didn't have to, I did it because I'd like someone to do the same for me in a similar situation.

But hospitality turns into hostility when drivers act like royalty and drive off with their noses in the air. I'd say that today perhaps one or two people out of a hundred will offer a wave of thanks.

It's not just confined to the roads: how about people who take up two or more parking spaces, or who park in a handicapped zone because they're going to be in the store only for "just a minute."

Or the neighborhood grouch who has a parking space big enough for two cars in front of his home, but parks his vehicle in the middle so no one else can park there?

True story: A while back I was at the Madison Heights Costco and the lot was jammed. I spotted a woman loading her vehicle so I stopped a few cars down, put on my turn signal and waited for her to pull out.

Another vehicle stopped behind me as I waited. When the spot finally opened that car swerved around me and took the space for which I had been waiting.

The female driver sashayed into the store but only after shooting me a "yeah, I did it" smirk. I was so ticked I wanted to "Kronwall" her right into the cart corral.

But part of me also busted out laughing at the sheer gall of this driver. The woman who had pulled out stopped along side of me to say how shocked she was at the other woman's "me first" display.

Psychologists say people act this way because their anonymity allows them to act aggressively with very little consequences attached to their actions.

Now throw in a feeling of entitlement plus distractions such as texting or talk on the phone and suddenly you're dealing with the Mayor of Jerk City.

Actually, I think I'm courteous for the same reason that other people aren't: It's the way I was raised. How about you?

(313) 222-2023

I-696: In Southfield, the WB ramp to Northwestern Highway (M-10) and Telegraph (U.S. 24) will have one lane closed from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday for repairs.

M-39: (Southfield Freeway): In Allen Park, two lanes SB under I-94 will be closed from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday for utility work. The ramp from EB Van Born to SB M-39 will also be closed.


I-75: In Detroit, NB and SB under Woodward has a single lane closed for Woodward construction over the freeway through June.

I-94/I-69 (Military/Huron streets): In Port Huron, the NB and SB I-94 business loop/I-69 business loop over the Black River is closed for bridge maintenance through the end of the month.

I-96/94: In Detroit, the WB I-96 ramp to EB I-94 will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today for lighting work.

M-29: In New Baltimore, the road remains closed over the Pine River for maintenance through the end of March.

M-53 (Van Dyke): In Sterling Heights, there will be single lane closures NB and SB between 15 Mile and 18 Mile today through May 15.

M-85 (Fort): In Dearborn, the bridge over the Rouge River is closed between Oakwood and Miller roads through the spring.

Big Beaver: In Bloomfield Township, one lane in each direction will be closed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. today, Monday and Tuesday for survey work.

12 Mile: In Madison Heights, the WB ramp to SB I-75 is closed until late April.