Repost: A Letter to the CEO of Honda

This is from part of a 2011 Random Thursday—man, I’ve been doing those a long time. 

I don’t like to repost, but the exact situation that happened back then happened AGAIN this morning, and I don’t have time for a full-on rant because my mid-year performance review was moved from Thursday to today, so at the scheduling of this,  I only have ten minutes to prep a defense strategy.

I made two changes, because I’m now driving both kids to school.  Other than that, everything stands as is. 



Haikei Ito-sama,

Ogenki de irasshaimasu ka. Okagesama de genki ni shite orimasu. Please forgive me for continuing in English; my Japanese is very poor. My father was a teacher at the American School in Tokyo in the 1950s* and while he has taught me many things, I’m afraid I have not been a good student of your beautiful language.**

I am the proud owner of a 2006 Honda Civic Sedan. It is a good, reliable car, and I have found it responsive and dependable. However, it was recently brought to my attention that something may be lacking in the design of Honda vehicles in regard to the ability to communicate one’s intent to other drivers.

I drive my daughters to school each weekday morning and at one point along our route, we must travel north across a one-way, west-bound street. Normally, I choose to cross at the four-way traffic light a few blocks south of the school, but this morning, road signs warned me that construction was blocking that intersection. So I turned north one block before I usually do, and waited at the stop sign until it was safe to cross the west-bound street. While I was waiting, a pickup truck—not a Honda—pulled up behind me, and the driver engaged his left turn signal.

Ten seconds after he did so, he began to honk his horn. In the rearview mirror, I saw that he was becoming agitated to an alarming degree and realized that he was directing his ire towards me. Evidently, he wanted me to proceed, although traffic had not lightened enough in the far westbound lane to allow me to do so safely, even in a Honda.

Please find enclosed an illustration of the problem. My daughters and I are in the gray rectangle and our intended path in red. The blue rectangle with the left turn indicator is the agitated driver. Please note that each colored ‘car’ along the westbound street stands for at least five vehicles, some of which were 18-wheeled trucks. The blue section is the Mississippi River.

After some thought, it occurred to me that the driver of the truck mistakenly assumed I was planning on turning left and was trying to communicate his strong opinion that I had plenty of room.

Unfortunately, I am aware of no automobile that has a signal light to indicate that the driver is not going to make a turn. Additionally, there are no standard hand signals for this in the United States, or at least none that I could employ while my children were present. I thought of shutting off the motor and getting out to explain the situation to him, but I was afraid he would not be able to hear me over his horn and assorted invective.

Clearly, there is a need for an extra signal, perhaps centered above or below the brake light, that indicates to confused drivers that one is not going to turn, lest those drivers suffer aneurysms—a risk, I believe, for those suffering Cranial-Rectal Syndrome —and to prevent the forcing of innocent children of Honda drivers to tally their parents’ use of unacceptable words.***

Honda has always been a leader in innovation and a company that cares about the emotional and physical well-being of its customers. I am pleased to leave this problem in your capable hands. Douka yoroshiku onegai itashimasu. O-karada ni ki wo tsukete kudasai. Ohenji Omachi Shite Orimasu.


Sarah W


*True and very, very cool.

**Sadly true, but I can pick up M&Ms with chopsticks and tie an obi without dislocating my shoulders.

***Let’s just accept that the whole thing was true, okay?  Including the dumbfounded look on his face when I finally floored it through the intersection.  Asshat.


10 thoughts on “Repost: A Letter to the CEO of Honda

  1. My car is in need of some sort of flashing warning light so that other drivers can see it. There is a stretch on my morning commute where people are always pulling out in front of me, driving 500 feet and making a left-hand turn. I continue straight forward, but almost always have to stop for the other driver.

    • True dat, caitlin.

      What I need is a large sign on my bumper that says, “Back away a whole car length right now, please—or I’ll throw it in reverse.”

  2. It should come as no surprise that the number of horse’s arses far exceeds the number of horses. Sad to say, most of them drive. More sad to say, I may be one of them.

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