Oh, Just Let Them Turn Left

When we first looked at the apartment we eventually moved into, the real estate person did say its one draw back was that it was near a busy street. It is within sight of Vinohradská ulice, a major east-west artery through Vinohrady neighborhood into Žižkov. “You’ll get some street noise,” she said.

We do, but it’s not unexpected and it\s not too bad. Prague is a big city; the 13th largest in Europe. It is densely populated. So it has city sounds. Prague isn’t a mega-city and has great public transport and many people walk, so automobile traffic isn’t ridiculous like in New York City or London. Mostly, the city noises don’t bother us.

No, the only noise problems really are the self-anointed traffic cops. See, there’s an intersection nearby and as is the case with intersections, people want to turn. Some people want to turn right. Other people want to turn left. At the intersection in question, some people want to turn left onto Vinohradská ulice to go west toward the train station. Some people have a problem with these left turners.

There is no sign that says you can’t turn left at this intersection. There is a two-headed arrow on the pavement pointing straight and right but it’s easily missed. So you can’t blame anyone for making a reasonable left turn at this intersection. Still, self-anointed traffic cops decide to take umbrage at the left turners.

We know when someone is taking umbrage at someone else turning left because some jerk is laying on the horn. Now, they could easily just go around the left turner. But as we can see looking out a front window, some Czech driver prefer to stand behind them and honk loud and long rather than just go around. This behavior is surprising because the Czechs are generally tolerant, taciturn people. They aren’t angry, impatient people quick to lash out at others. It also isn’t like the Czechs are people who like to order others around. Except when someone turns left apparently.

When a horn blast reaches about the five second mark, I want to yell out the window “let then turn left!” Or, “just frelling go around!” No harm, no foul, I think. Maybe that’s an American attitude, I don’t know. Anyway, the normal traffic noise, never very loud and basically gone by 10pm, is ruined only by the occasional horn blast of the self-anointed traffic cops. Well, and the occasional exceedingly awful pop music on car radios.

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