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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Yellow-box crossroads

I had great trouble getting grips with the vehicle in the early stages of my learning how to drive. Alas, I am no natural mechanic (with much envy to those who are), though I do enjoy driving, especially on the motorway. I got yelled at by my instructor countless times. There was one thing, however, which he complimented me on, and that was my turning. In his words, ‘Your turning is good. Very impressed. Everything else is [expletive].’ I cannot explain this. I guess that I may have had a marginally better feel for the steering wheel than for the foot controls. My handling of junctions was not totally uneventful though, as there are quite a few types of junctions (not to mentioon bends) in this country (UK/Europe) which all require subtly different techniques. The hardest type of junction for me is without doubt crossroads where things can get congested and there are often yellow-boxes printed on the road indicating a designated waiting-area for transiting vehicles. This is one of the trickiest areas of modern driving (for me), since it is not always clear to me when and when not to go ahead and enter the yellow-box. I made numerous mistakes on these junctions, and my two main problems, according to my instructor, were that 1) I was hesitant with entering the waiting area and often ended up stranded in the yellow-box waiting for traffic to clear while blocking it at the same time 2) I had a habit of cutting corners in my turning which put my vehicle in danger of collision. I immediately went back to my driving manual and checked the regulation regarding yellow-boxes, which was stated as follows: ‘only enter the box if you are certain that you can cross the waiting area and enter your desired exit road in one go or if you are prevented from doing so by traffic.’ Fascinating rule, and one which resonates with life. The problem I had was that I was indecisive at crossroads and tended to cut corners as I rushed towards my exit road. This was indeed a problem I had in my younger self, namely cutting corners and not being decisive enough to complete task(s) in one go. As a result, my style of working resembled my driving, being hesitant at moments of decision-making, leaving things half-done and revisiting them in their unfinished state, and taking shortcuts rather than dealing with the task(s) at hand thoroughly and fully. Gradually I learnt to be super-focussed at approaching yellow-box junctions and seize the decisive moment to enter the yellow-box and complete the manoeuvre in one go without cutting corners. As the saying goes, ‘think before you act/speak.’ A little dose of concentration at moments of deliberation can go a long way in helping us make the right decision at the right time, and a little more sustenance of attention can ensure that we carry things out thoroughly and smoothly rather than insufficiently and haphazardly. Indeed, doing things wrong on the road can potentially lead to fatal accidents. It is likewise important that we do things properly in life to avoid such disastrous outcomes. Good stuff.

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