Friday, April 16, 2010

The 95% Rule

Many people have recently blogged on some interesting
automobile issues dealing with 'inattentive' drivers. I have
commented that anything that has to do with cars and driving is
always good fodder for discussion.

I would like to expound on this, if I may, but would like to
shift my attention to that under-appreciated anomaly, the lowly

Now, being the excellent drivers that we are, we all know that
technically, if we are in a parking lot, the Ped always has the
right of way. If there is ever an accident, a whoopsie, or any
type of contact between your car and a Ped while in a parking
lot, the driver is the one who is going to be suspect.

(Note that this is usually NOT true on the highways...)

Since most Peds are aware that they are in this esteemed
position, they tend to make the fatal mistake of assuming that
the drivers going through the parking lot really do have the
mental capability to operate their vehicles safely.

Now we have to stop here and discuss the 95% Rule. But before I
do that, I need to make a qualifying statement:

I make no assumptions on the intelligence of other people.
The very fact that a Person is a Human Being should be enough to
qualify them as being 'intelligent', as in 'not stupid'.

We know that any Human Being that is allowed to go out in public
without having to be under the direct supervision of someone
else is probably also capable of keeping themselves safe from
harm. I would imagine that if this Person is alone and
ambulatory, they are likely alert enough to protect themselves
against most perceived threats.
(We know we could be harmed by other Human Beings, but we
should be able to prevent anything from damaging our body by
our own lack of attention).

So we can all agree that most people are more intelligent than
say, Amoebas, otherwise we would not be 'Human'. Then why
do we see people cross the parking lot without even LOOKING
to see if there is any traffic coming? Can anyone really be that dense??

The 95% Rule states that whenever you are interacting with
another Human Being, there is a 95% chance that they are either
not paying attention, are distracted, are not aware of their
surroundings, or are otherwise disengaged from reality, thereby
displaying the illusion that they are not intelligent.

The following are actual photos that I have taken in one of
our neighborhood shopping centers of people that are so
inattentive that they just blithely cross the street with no
regard for their own safety. Sometimes they don't even look!

Notice the two young ladies crossing with their backs to traffic:

And this gentleman is focused on his cell phone:

How can people do this? Do they just assume that the drivers
all see them and will watch out for them? I would not assume

The urge to 'look both ways before crossing' is so deeply
ingrained in me that I have the compulsion to do this if
crossing any kind of designated pathway, not just the street
(such as hiking paths, sidewalks).

In fact, if I suddenly found myself alone on the planet, and I
knew there were no other Human Beings around, I imagine it
would take quite some time for me to un-do this urge...even if
I knew there was no one else around, I would still automatically
'look both ways before crossing'.

Peace be with you.


  1. Oh yeah this crap is rampant all over where I live. People walking across parking lots and thinking (because they do) have the right of way and nobody will run them the heck over.


  2. I generally look both ways 6 or so times before crossing a street. But I'm paranoid about such matters.

  3. Parking lots are a danger zone. Parents with small children... not holding their hand... talking on phones, or otherwise disengaged. Accidents waiting to happen.

  4. You're right, Joe: some people cross the street anywhere..even when their light is red! since recently, peds are somewhat more careful, because if you don't cross the street at the right place for peds, you can get fined 100$. Yep. I think it's a good thing, because like I saw in the subway, more than 1300 peds were killed in the last year here..!

  5. Brings to mind what my young son said a while back. We were driving by an oblivious pedestrian who "knew" he had the right of way and my son blurted out, "Get closer Dad so I can hit him with my door!"

  6. I think pedestrians see it as a challenge, 'if you hit me, I'll sue you.' So (they think) they don't care if they get hit, and/or they assume we're so afraid of hitting them that, even if we can't see them, we'll stop. In short, most people (pedestrian or not) are idiots.

  7. I found your site through Bossy Betty's and I just loved your blog!
    I am now following you!
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    You're absolutely right.
    It's sad how some people cross the street anywhere, and makes me think that they don't even care if they get hit.

  8. This is so true, Joe. Glad you said what I've been thinking lately... I hate busy parking lots most of all, trying to pay attention to people on foot, people in cars, shopping carts, security guys, etc. Ugh!

  9. Being from NYC we don't have too many parking lots you speak of. Great post.

  10. I always wondered if when one of these less than attentive people finally get whacked by said automobile and die, do they put on the tombstone "Had the right of way". Unfortunately some people don't get a chance to learn from their mistakes...The rather robust women walking with their back to traffic reminded me of an incident not a week ago. I was in a parking lot and that same situation happneed to me...I idled up rather close and put my truck into neutral...then HONKED and revved my truck up...There were three women and they moved faster than most running backs I've seen...Wish I woulda had a camera, but thankfully I didn't have a recorder they turned into "potty"

  11. There are a lot of people out there who totally operate with HUA! I wonder what the percentage of that is?