“I’m not going out of my way…” because (fill in the blank). Well, sometimes you should. For instance, when driving. Okay folks, it’s finally here, the “I’m frustrated with drivers” post. It should be titled “Get Out of My Way!” I promise to tie it all back to valuable insights suitable for a law office website. So, here goes, why you should go out of your way, at least a little.
Are you one of those people that turns right from the left side of the lane? You probably don’t even know if you are. If you had gone out of your way, just a little, you would make everyone else’s life a bit easier. They wouldn’t have to brake so much for you, assume you might be preparing to turn without using your blinker, and then invest more fuel into accelerating back up to speed. The truth is, it’s not really out of your way to accommodate others, it’s on your way.
Think about the power of the rear view mirror. In my opinion, there are only a few reasons why someone does not respect the contents of their rear view mirror. 1) They are oblivious, 2) They have malice, 3) They rely on justification (they believe what they are doing is justified because there is nothing illegal occurring). I suspect that either one or three are most prevalent on the road, and I think both are reprehensible.
Let’s randomly start by dissecting number three. Your rear view mirror is for viewing what is behind you. That was easy. The law does not require you to use your rear view mirror, in fact, when reversing, the “best practice” is to turn your entire body and look over your shoulder – and not rely on the rear view mirror. Then why have a rear view mirror? I suspect it is so that you can know what is going on behind you. Whether it is a rapidly approaching vehicle or to catch your eye when an emergency vehicle is nearing, or so that you cannot claim you did not see highway patrol trying to pull you over, the general purpose is so that you can be aware of your surroundings (particularly to the rear). Why not then go beyond the basic requirements and consider the good you can do with your rear-view mirror? You can actually benefit society by using your rear view mirror and responding to surroundings appropriately. For example, If feasible, when exiting a street, use your indicator, move out of the way, slow, and make your turn. Don’t be a street hog!
Why does going out of your way matter?
Going out of your way often applies in legal situations as well. Sometimes it’s worth it to give a little extra in order to get things to settle down the way you would like them to – or, to avoid a legal mishap to begin with. For example, a client came to my office recently with a question regarding some work to be done on their home. The contractor had not done any work, except to inspect the premises and sign documents, but had already received about $10,000 of the $20,000 contracted for (illegally, under the circumstances). Over three months passed and still efforts to schedule a start date were avoided or thwarted. The business was clearly better at sales than business operations. My client lost faith in their operations and wanted out of the contract. Sounds like a great case to fight for, right? Maybe, or maybe not. The contract did not specify a start date and without such, work must start within a “reasonable time” – a gray area, and now a highly litigated question. Was the other company in breach yet? Not sure. Plus, the other side can counter-sue for the benefit of the bargain they lost (i.e.: charge you for their lost profits). The lawsuit may fail. Either way, you still have to file a complaint in court which will cost you money, plus an hourly fee to your attorney to prepare the complaint. Starting a civil case is an investment.
A solution? Go out of your way to make the situation go away. First, politely ask for a full refund, and explain that as a customer you expected more from them. Don’t get entitled! If that does not work, request a refund but offer to let them keep, say, $500 of it to reimburse them for paying their employees to drive out there and inspect the building, sign contracts, and the possibility of lost profits. I know what you’re thinking “Hey, that’s $500!! And what did I get for it?!” TRUE, but it would have cost you much more than that to start your lawsuit. The goal is to get your money back, not dwindle it away.
Merrill A. Hanson
Law Office of Merrill A. Hanson
180 N. Glendora Ave., Ste. 201
Glendora, CA 91741
Originally Published June 20, 2014
This page is not intended to convey legal advice. You should contact an attorney for your specific situation.