Monday, July 09, 2007

Why aren't you using a blinker?!

Recently a co-worker was complaining that Utah drivers never use their blinkers. I decided to find out if she was right by actually counting blinkers and non-blinkers to and from work. Here's my little theory.

My co-worker argued that Utah drivers didn't use their blinkers. I asked her what that actually meant? She said that 80% of her rides to and from were plagued by non-blinkering drivers. Now she probably didn't really think that 80% of the time drivers weren't using their blinkers, but she was certainly suggesting that the majority of the time they weren't being used. I figured this was a common case of I'm-not-from-here exaggeration.

Haven't heard of I'm-not-from-here exaggeration? Well I believe we all have it sometimes. Let me give you an example. I'm from Utah. While visiting Californina on vacation I started saying hello to people as I walked by them on the street. I noticed that few people responded to me. So what thought came to me? People in California aren't friendly. What was the underlying implication: People in California aren't as friendly as the people in Utah.

So where is the exaggeration? When I was in Utah I rarely walked around the street noticing whether or not people said hi to me. I was comparing my Californina street walking experience to a presumed experience. I bet if I actually did a saying hello study in both places I would find pretty similar results.

I think when we're in a place that we don't consider our home town we find things to point out as different from our home. Usually we love our home towns so we look for things that validate our feelings that our home towns are wonderful. For instance "people here don't know how to drive" implying that people in our home town do.

Anyway enough of that. Now to what my completely scientific and unbiased sample results were.

Blinkers - 93
Non blinkers - 17
Rate of non blinkers: 15%

I counted on four or five other occassions in different areas at different times. The results were pretty similar; however, one time the rate of non blinkers did reach 25%. Conclusion: the vast majority of drivers use their blinkers. How this compares to other areas around the country? I don't know, but I expect it's pretty similar to the area my co-worker is from.

Am I off my rocker with this I'm-not-from-here exaggerating theory?

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