I am guilty of this and I will likely be guilty of most of the things on this node; that's what makes it FUN. But it's always more engrossing when the car in front of you is doing it. Even if you're in the center lane and you know this guy isn't in a hurry to switch lanes or turn. He stopped a couple feet from the faded painted white line and is now slowly rolling up to it. It's almost as if he has timed the stop lights on his daily route and uses this rolling as a way to kill what little time would have been spent at a full stop. I watch the back of his head to see if maybe he just forgot to stop, looking to see if his right arm may be searching for something in the back seat or the glove box and that this motion has caused his foot to never fully press the pedal. But no, his focus is straight ahead like mine is. He gets so close to the crossing traffic that I think I'm going to see him get clipped by an aging Cavalier. I absentmindedly grope for a business card, since my business is car wrecks. Me and my boss would joke about passing a accident scene and tossing out our business cards with a clay pigeon ejector, screaming Pull! and laughing. You can't be too serious in our business, even if you don't have a card with your name on it.

With other drivers, there is always that irony of your own reaction. Sometimes you are helpless but to mimic the traits you abhor simply because you are behind them, you are in a line of lemmings. So it is no surprise that right after I am having a one way conversation with the man inching up to the red light that I find myself getting even closer to his rear bumper. I am inching up too, as though I am missing out on some communal effort of impatience, a rebellion against red lights. I may have to stop, but I don't have to fully stop. I'm going to rock back and forth instead.

The only time this act makes sense to me is when it is obvious the vehicle is a 5 speed. Though my Metro was possibly the least intimidating stick shift made, I hated having to take it out of gear or stop completely. Having all the control means often not wanting to have to apply it so regularly. Also, it was fun freaking out the guy behind me when he didn't have my brake lights to rely on as a sign that I had every intention of moving forward.

From a pedestrian's point of view, cars inching up at a red light to just over the crosswalk / zebra crossing bugs the heck out of me.

There's this car, which has the ability to get somewhere faster than I can and weighs at least a ton, just easing along to try to get that much closer to whatever destination by having an inch advantage when the light turns. And there's me, just trying to get to the other side of the road but the cars at the red light are still moving!

I've actually keyed a car inching up at a red light. I'm crossing the road, and a woman and her baby in a pram is crossing in front of me and the car is moving forward a little. Out with the keys, scrapes on the newly waxed hood, one shocked driver, one less concerned mother, and me, still angry, but a little bit vindicated.

Speaking as someone who drives a big heavy truck that doesn't have the miracle invention known as power brakes (they were an option in 1970), when stopped at a red light for a long time my foot and leg gets tired and I creep forward for a bit to readjust its position on the brake pedal or in the case of really really long stupid stoplights to switch feet. For the heavier a vehicle is the more force one has to apply on the pedal.

Those who drive with fuel effeciency in mind will often do all sorts of seemingly strange things in relation to red lights. The most classic one of coming to a complete stop and then creeping forward inches at a time is not particularly fuel efficient, but there are a whole bunch of other similar behaviors that are.

You see I care about getting good gas mileage. I drive a Geo Metro. Now that little thing is already rated for over 40 miles to the gallon, but I shoot for 50, and I often get it.

When I am stopping at a familiar stop light facing downhill I will usually stop nearly completely quite far from the light, then I will slowly inch forward, finally letting the brake off completely at the right time. When the light finally turns green I will be going 10 or 15 miles per hour, all of which was gained from rolling downhill. Not only do I get past the light quicker I also get to skip first gear entirely.

At other lights I will spot the red light as far off as possible. I have a general rule about red lights. If a light is red in front of me, and I know I am going to have to stop for it, then I am in neutral and rolling. If I am still going to roll right up to it then I will keep reducing speed in an effort to hit the light while still moving. Nothing uses more gas than getting your vehicle moving from a complete stop. I own a 26 foot motor home that gets 6 miles per gallon on the highway. I shudder to even think about how much gas it uses getting up to speed from a complete stop.

If I am truly forced to stop at a light then I will often stop a good car length away from the car in front of me (traffic permitting, I am not going to force people to be stuck in the previous intersection). That gives me just that little bit of extra difference to take off at the exact same time as the car in front of me. I can also more safely use a normal fuel efficient acceleration profile, without running into the rear end of light footed drivers. Groups of people coming off a light tend to accelerate quite slowly at first, that extra car length allows me to mostly ignore that phenomena.

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