With the possible exception of Italy and mainland China where motorists show utter contempt for highway marking, traffic lights, stop signs or their own lives, the left turn protocol does more to impede progress and induce road rage in the U.S. than all other maneuvers combined.

While behind the wheel behavior varies from region to region, the simple process of moving up into an intersection for the lead car in the line seems to immobilize all but a handful of drivers. I use to think it was a matter of bad luck to always be behind the timid, confused, elderly, infirm, or outright bastard who enjoys being the only one in line to make the turn before the light changes.

I have tried dozens of tactics to force the car ahead to enter the intersection and make room for others. No amount of excessive horn blowing, profanity, fist waving, light flashing, or threatened ramming will budge your average "wait for all the oncoming cars to clear" horse’s ass.

This inconsiderate behavior is further exacerbated by the flashing red light, perhaps the most misunderstood of all signals. With a clear mandate to move after a complete stop, the average driver sits transfixed by the flash, foregoing completely the opportunity to proceed.

The lack of left turn know-how in no way inhibits the average driver, however, from executing really demanding maneuvers like the four-way stop. You would think someone unable to move into an intersection when the way is clear would be paralyzed in a situation, which requires guessing at three other drivers’ approach. It has been my experience that the left turn cripple becomes a formula one crasher perhaps due to the competitive nature of the situation.

There is clearly a leftbrain/rightbrain, conservative/liberal, drunken/sober, happy/sad-hot/cold, Valium/Viagra connection here, but I'll be damned if I can figure it out. If you have any light to shed on the subject please let me know.