Every so often, you approach a red stop light with two lanes and find that there are three or four cars stacked in one lane while there are no cars in the other.

So you rush it up a bit in hopes of getting to the front spot at the light before someone in the full lane notices that it’s open.

But more often than not, as you quickly make your approach, someone from the stacked lane suddenly notices the open lane and move into it just before you get there. What was once a great opportunity to drive the way you want suddenly turns.

Rarely does the person in that car realize it, but when you make that move from the stacked lane to the open lane, you are taking on a great responsibility. If you’re going to make that move and get in front of the car heading to the front of that open lane, you owe it to that car to be first off the line, ahead of the cars next to you, and create enough space that the person who would have been in that spot has the option to stay behind or switch lanes to pass you and all the cars that were stacked at the light.

Unfortunately, there’s rarely hope for the person who leaves the stacked lane to move to the open one because if they were the kind of driver who understood how to take advantage of that spot, they would have never found themselves in the stacked lane in the first place.

If you’ve got the opportunity to be the first car at a red stop light, be aware and realize that you are responsible for getting off the line and allowing the car behind you to drive as they wish.