There’s one particular intersection in New Bedford that may be unintentionally frustrating drivers on either side of Acushnet Avenue, where being courteous can quickly turn aggravating if you don’t understand the situation.

At the corner of Acushnet Ave and Sawyer Street, right by the Rite Aid, is a set of lights. Those going down Sawyer don’t encounter this problem, but those traveling along the Ave certainly do.

If you’re waiting on the southern side of the intersection heading north (coming from Coggeshall Street or Route 18) and the light turns green, you may decide to be nice and let the car on the opposite side of the intersection that is looking to turn east down Sawyer Street go first, before you cross the intersection yourself.

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It’s the right thing to do, isn’t it? Especially if it’s just the one car waiting, and you’re not in a big rush. They’re probably trying to get to Market Basket before the lines get too long.

However, the car doesn’t turn.

You beep your horn, or wave them along, or flash your lights at them, indicating they should turn before you go forward – yet the other car doesn’t move.

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Well, now you’re just getting angry. You were willing to let them go first, but they were either too dumb or too distracted to take you up on the offer. As you drive by them, you honk the horn and yell out, “What’s wrong with you?”

Actually, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s just that if you’re heading down Acushnet Ave going south, the light on that side of the intersection doesn’t turn green the same time as it does on the other side.

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While you were trying to be nice and now you think the other driver was just being a jerk for not going, the truth of the matter is that their light was still red, so they couldn’t turn left yet even though you were trying to let them go first.

So keep this in mind next time you’re at that intersection. It’ll save you from some honking and maybe even some swearing.

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