Follow the Leader?

Remember when you were a kid and you always seemed to follow the older kids and did what they did? We must have felt they knew what they were doing and nothing could go wrong. I’m sure there were times when things didn’t go their way, but we may have just ignored it. Can that work as a driver? Do you ever follow other drivers and do what they do?I was recently out with my family when I came across an intersection when the traffic lights were not working. The east and west side had flashing red lights and the north and south sides had the flashing amber (yellow) lights flashing. There was a huge problem as I go closer… the traffic facing the flashing amber lights were all stopping before entering the intersection. Apparently, no one knew what the flashing amber light really meant.

As I got to the front of the intersection, I scanned it to see if anything was coming and since it was clear, I continued through the intersection without stopping. The law says a flashing amber light means proceed with caution and that’s exactly what I did. All of the other drivers were stopping unnecessarily. Why did the other drivers stop before entering? Didn’t they know the law?

I remember when I was a kid at school one winter when I was hanging out with older kids. They were having a snowball fight on the school playground. I decided to make one snowball and throw it. That was the time the principal came outside and saw us. I got caught! I only did it once; but I got caught. I was following the other kids with what they were doing and although I knew it was wrong, I did it anyway. Do you think that was the same reason why the other drivers stopped at the flashing amber light?

Be the bigger person while you’re driving. Make your own choices based on your knowledge, observations and skill level. Learn the rules that need to be followed and use common sense. It will probably help you survive out there on the road.

Author’s Bio: Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada ( Recently he has been a judge on the first three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper over 4 years ago. Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines and various web-sites. Now he has his own blog at You can reach Scott via e-mail with any questions or comments at