RED LIGHT REPRIEVE
Enter a funeral procession and automatically you’ve become a privileged driver. Unlikely as it may seem such a cortege confers an advantage unavailable to those merely cruising alongside, not part of the grieving group. Watching such a procession as it passes by may not immediately suggest its exceptional; status. Continued observations, however, soon reveal what is so special. The remarkable fact is that the line of cars is able to proceed through one intersection after another in complete disregard of the traffic lights. Simply by following a hearse, drivers, considered mourners now, are able to flout a cardinal rule of the road. They may happily ignore one red signal after another, which under ordinary circumstances they would not risk doing.
What driver would not revel in such a liberating experience? Few would deny the exhilaration of so dramatic a deviation from the dutiful. A special procession indeed.
But not all that unique, it turns out. In their official capacities others also are permitted to operate above the law and to disregard uncooperative traffic signals. Watch a police car, lights flashing, siren blaring, pass through one red light after another, or a fire engine flying through the streets or an emergency vehicle of any description rushing headlong past a succession of traffic lights. Surely intent upon their duty and determined to reach their destination, still these drivers cannot but be thrilled by their exempt status, that is their authorized ability to ignore however many traffic signals stand in their way. Even ordinary individuals may on a rare occasion encounter a similar suspension of the rules, take delight in passing through red lights without guilt or apprehension. Consider what occurs when a traffic signal falters and remains locked on red. A policeman will, in all likelihood arrive to manage the traffic by means of hand signals. He will, in short order, direct you to cross the intersection passing beneath the red glare of the traffic light. You hesitate momentarily for it violates an instinct reinforced on a thousand other occasions. But you follow instructions and drive right past the red light. And the thrill is undeniable.