LA driver's karmic crusade: one brake light rescue at a time

Originally published at: LA driver's karmic crusade: one brake light rescue at a time | Boing Boing


I sincerely hope he doesn’t get shot, and that nobody under any circumstances ever tries to do this in Texas.


In TX and FLA I assume everyone just drives with their 9 on their knee.


I always appreciate when people do this. I had someone in LA let me know my gas cap was off (door open, cap sitting in the little holder). Saved me a big headache!

Always remember, there is no “us” and “them” in this world. It’s all the same people everywhere. 99.9% of people are nice 99.9% of the time. Everyone has a bad day sometimes but mostly we’re all nice when given the chance.


A full on essay about how to be nice to people without getting murdered. America is doing great!


I had someone take great pains to make me realize something was wrong. I pulled over, checked my tires, gas cap, no problem, nothing on fire. Huh. Oh well. Got back in, turned the ignition and noticed my ipad on the hood.


I’ll do that but only at a traffic light when everyone is completely stopped.

I had a headlight out once for weeks because the engineers decided it would be best to require the revomal of the entire front bumper to replace the bulb. Cost 120 bucks at the shop. Bite me Chevy.

A lot of people told me it was out, I had to pretend it was the first time hearing it and thanked every one of them.

I’ll also tell people about gas caps or things hanging under their car but never while moving, don’t want to distract someone into an accident.

Trailers without lights are another problem if you can’t see their main lights.


I’m wondering if the whole thing might work better if you just had a simple handwritten sign, in Sharpie, on a piece of cardboard, about letter-sized, that you could keep in your car.

Then, all you’d have to do was hold up the sign to your window.

You could even add a few smiley faces, the universal sign for friendliness.


Mostly universal.


I’m grateful when a citizen does this, and not a cop giving me a ticket to repair it. I tell people when I can, though I notice it more on the highway, where it’s not safe to start a conversation, as opposed to at a light.

There are car conversations not worth having:

1 Like

In the 1970s there was a thing called “Paddle Talk.” My grandpa had one. It was a paddle with a bunch of signs that you could flip through, depending on what you wanted to communicate. I probably have it in a box somewhere. His was yellow, but it looked like this:


Some of them were pretty rude, though.


i was once behind a big truck filled with office supplies, and the driver had neglected to pull the roll door down when leaving his last stop. pulled up alongside, and i managed to get the driver’s partner’s attention and he refused to engage! looked at me, made a face and then ignored me, all through the closed window. i did my best to help him avoid what inevitably happened when he made his next left. i saw it, and it no doubt ruined his day. can’t help everyone.


I am a believer in traffic karma. I will always let a semi in that needs to change lanes if I notice that is what they want to do. As well as let people zipper in with lane closures. I hope it keeps me out of trouble when I fuck up driving on occasion.


As a motorcycle rider, I have had the opportunity to do this karmic payment many, many times. I only do it at stop lights, not while moving as that’s when I need to watch everything else.

It makes it easier since I can hop off and come up to the driver when it’s a car in front of me. Being 6’3" dressed in cycle gear I can be imposing but always use a friendly voice and raise my visor trying to be a bit less intimidating.

Feels good though, get a good vibe which lasts for quite a while.


My Dad taught me to always be aware of what the other drivers may need, and help facilitate it. So a quick headlight flash to a semi to merge in ahead, or a wave to alert a driver to their turn in the intersection.

Experienced semi drivers will flick their whole-truck lights at you in return, which never fails to make me smile. Road code from the 60s is still alive!

OTOH, DC traffic almost broke me. It was like the Expressway segment in the OP, and everyone was out for blood.


I don’t have a car, but I use a bicycle, and I use my lights at night. One of my proudest moments on my bike was at night when there was a car ahead of me without its headlights on.

When it stopped at a red light I pulled up directly behind it and flashed my little bike headlight on and off. Eventually the driver got the message and turned on their lights and gave me a thank-you wave. I felt so happy to have helped someone, and was THRILLED to be taken seriously as an equal on the road, not as a second-class citizen to be ignored :smiley:


Yeah, his long essay on this could be easily condensed to one word. “Don’t.” There’s no karmic win in this.

1 Like

I dig this. Genuinely reaching out in an effort to help someone should be a practice we see more. The first step to combatting the fear virus that has permeated this country might very well first be an act of support. Just be careful, as the author says. I like this.


I was riding my bike up a long rural hill once and there was an RV stopped on the shoulder. As I passed, I’m pretty sure someone inside thought it would be fun to knock on the window to try to startle me. Fast forward a 1/2 mile and the RV had pulled back into the lane & was continuing up the hill. It was about this time that I noticed two panicked deer on an embankment to the right which were not able to jump over the fence halfway up to escape the road. I stopped, knowing that very shortly they would bolt the other way across the road ahead of me. As the RV approached I waved them down to stop. They did and if they had not they would have been right at the deer when they did cross. Not sure if I did it more for the deer or just because it was the right thing to do. The RV did seem thankful I guess.


The thing I saw once was a “Poor man’s CB” from the days of the CB craze. It was a large rectangular flip book.