Edging forward in a stopped car.

This is one of my pet peeves. I’m more interested in the psychology behind it (or even just knowing the correct term for it) than flaming, so it’s not in the pit.

What it is:

When stopped, either at a light, stop sign, or waiting to pull out of a driveway, many drivers will periodically “edge” forward perhaps six inches at a time. They’ll repeat this perhaps every 10 seconds or so.

They’ll do it when they are first at a red light, and end up blocking the crosswalk by the time the light turns green.

They do it when they are 10th in line at a red light, creeping up on the stopped car in front of them 6 inches at a time.

They’ll even do it when waiting for traffic to clear when backing out of a driveway.

As a motorcyclist, I’m really sensitive to this. Approaching, I see the wheels start to turn, and MUST assume they don’t see me and are about to pull out in front of me. This means I have to slow down and approach with caution. This means the driver who was (I guess) impatient to pull out has to wait even longer for me to pass.

It’s not unheard of for car drivers to intentionally screw with motorcyclists, but they do it just as often when I’m in my F-250.

I also get it when there are cues, such as they intend to go straight, and the left turn arrow comes on, they momentary start forward, then realize thier mistake. It’s pretty obvious when this happens, and they generally move much farther in this case.

What I’m on about is this slight forward movement when the driver has no intention of actually going anywhere for a while.

The one case I can see where this is rational is when the view of oncoming traffic is obstructed, and the driver is trying to gain a better view.

Otherwise, I can’t see how this behavior serves the driver’s interest. If they are not intending to go, why not stay stopped in one place?

One thought I had was that these were slushbox drivers, and thier leg was getting tired on the brake, so they periodically shifted it around. So I’ve started paying attention, and a fair number of drivers will go to a lot effort to do the samed damned thing with a manual. I watched one guy actually shifting in and out of neutral.

So what’s going on with these folks? Oh, and is there a “real” word for this?

Wish I knew more about the event but I see it all the time too. The one that really kills me though is people who refuse to turn right on red even though it is perfectly legal (Bucks County PA area).

I know exactly what you mean. I generally stop a car length or so behind the car in front of me. Basically a distance where I can still see their rear tires touch the ground.

The car behind me will invariably pull up too close and I’ll shift forward a bit. So will they. I’ll shift again. So will they. Then it’s a game. I’ll inch. They’ll inch. I’ll inch. They’ll inch.

The entire time I’ll looking in my rear view mirror to make eye contact. The second they’re on to me I flash them a big grin. Usually they’ll get sheepish and pissed off. By then the light is green and I’m on my way.

Boy, people are easy to fuck with. :smiley:

The one that drives me crazy is when I am in the right lane, and I pull slightly ahead to see if I can safely turn right on a red light. Without fail the jackass in the Huge SUV /van in the next lane pulls forward blocking my view. WTF?

I tend to do this, particularly at TheLongestLightintheKnownWorld[sup]TM[/sup] near work. Mostly it’s just because I’m bored and I distract myself from the interminable wait by at least moving a little bit. I would never do it to the point that I am encroaching on the car in front of me, but I do see that it encourages those behind me to also creeep forward.

The cumulative effect of this in a long traffic light really bugs the snot out of me. I’m stopped for the light and waiting - and I don’t mind. Then the car in front of me starts forward, and goes more than 6 inches, so I start up - but have to stop again. Why? Because somewhere up there, the first guy went forward 3 inches, and the next guy in line raised him 5 inches, and by the time it gets back to me, it’s half a car length, enough to fool me into thinking the traffic is moving when it’s not. Then it happens again.

People! Just wait for the light! I don’t mind waiting for a light, stopped the whole time. But I really don’t want to spend the entire light cycle creeping forward, stopping, creeping, stopping, etc. Nor do I want to let a gap form in front of me, that someone in the next lane will then go into. I’d prefer to just stay put until it’s time to go! Is this so hard for people?

It’s a game! I invented it among our group of friends. It’s called “The Drifting Game”. One point for each car behind you that moves when you drift.

Seriously, we used to play this.

I thought I was the only one!!

Actually, I’m a habitual handbrake-user. Had it hammered into me by my instructor, with fairly sound logic (if somebody hits you from behind, you’re less likely to be shunted into the car in front, avoiding three-way insurance wrangles). I drift only occassionally, normally when I’m really needing something to entertain me. But when I do, I really do it to play with the people around me.

I do it because I have this totally irrational belief that the light wil change faster. What I think really happens is that by the time I get frustrated enough to start creeping forward, the light’s about the change anyway. But I persist in doing it…

I’m a handbrake user, and I drive a manual. Stuffed if i’m going to jam it into gear, clutch out, knock the handbrake off, move forward, put it back in neutral, handbrake back on, just for a few inches. Or a few feet when I’m further back in the queue and it’s a cumulative effect. I’m with the truck drivers on this one. They hold their ground too. You can see the folks behind getting antsy. Fuck 'em. The creeping is a stupid practice.

On a few occasions, I have given other drivers reason to believe that I might be one of those people, although I am not. But I won’t turn right on red if I can’t see whether or not there are cars coming. That might be because of the design of the intersection, or because of the person in a huge truck or SUV in the lane to the left of me, who just has to pull up as far as possible at the light.

Yes, it means I have to wait. But there are very few situations where waiting is likely to kill you, and guess what, this isn’t one of them. And it means that another car might gasp get in front of me. But there will always be one car or another in front of you, no matter what you do.

I’ve wondered this myself. I drive a manual, but ocassionally drive an automatic, and never do the creeping thing. My mom did the creeping forward stuff when I rode with her last and so I asked why she did it. No reason, the car would just drift forward a bit if she took her foot off the pedal a bit. This did not satisfy me.

Like Rick and Anne Neville, it drives me nuts to have a big car block my view when I’m trying to turn right. My car is teeny, they don’t have to pull forward because they can see over it! Grrr…

Eh. I get bored and lift my foot up for a change. Or something. I guess it’s partially a way to keep myself alert (my attention drifts kind of easily) and partially a reaction to disliking wasted space. But I can’t recall ever making a conscious decision; it just happens. Sort of like fidgeting in a line of people.

I also start drifting forward when I’m first in line and I see that the cross-traffic’s light has turned yellow. Hopefully that’s a little less objectionable.

We call it the “stop light creep.” At stop lights, we amuse ourselves (ok, we are easily amused) by guessing who will creep and how many times. Even more amusing if you say “Creeeeeeeeeep” when they do it.

I really think there must be a lot of AD/HD out there. They’re the same people who have no patience to do twenty in a school zone or who cut across a parking lot to avoid a light.

Edging forward until the car is covering the crosswalk also forces pedestrians out into the area of moving traffic. If that pedestrian is me, I will make eye contact with and glare at the driver.

Although most drivers now just pull right into the crosswalk anyway.
Why can’t people think of others besides themselves?

Just want to mention that I never do the edging forward thing when pedestrians (or the likelyhood of pedestrians) are present. Only at lights where there are no peds. (I’m a frequent walker and biker and do work involving school safety so I’m always concious of peds)

I get frustrated for this reason:

Light is red. Aforementioned drivers creep forward the entire duration of the red light.

Light is green. Driver doesn’t move at all. Not an inch.

If he has been so impatient that he must creep forward during red, why the hell can’t he accelerate on the green light?!

It’s to piss me off, I know.

I do this because I get bored sitting at lights. You’re driving along, looking out for obstacles, maintaining a reasonable speed, whatever, and then suddenly you’re sitting at a light. Doing. Nothing. At. All.

I don’t have ADD, but I do like to fidget.