The day the world stopped

It could easily have happened anywhere at any time, what these days is called a "smoking gun". It was only a matter of when rather than if and sure enough it finally happened.

Near my home, just like thousands of other places, is a crossroads junction complete with traffic lights. One day, though, fate took control and the world stopped.

Suddenly, the traffic lights went blank; the power fuse had blown. Such breakdowns are an inconvenience but traffic-flow somehow manages to continue, except, this time, it didn't. Everything stopped completely, but only because the people involved were strict law-abiding citizens. If they had broken the law there would have been no problem! You see, in Tasmania, there is a road law called "Give way to the right." A car driver must give way to the vehicle on his right and wait for that vehicle to move. Everyone soon learns this rule but it can lead to the "smoking gun" situation, and that is exactly what I saw happen. Four vehicles from four separate directions were simultaneously at the crossroads when the traffic lights failed. Each driver waited patiently for the vehicle on his right to move and waited and waited and waited and waited! More cars arrived and banked up behind the four original vehicles creating a monumental but beautifully symmetrical traffic-jam.

Eventually, of course, the traffic lights were fixed and began flashing "GO" but the traffic did not GO. Nothing moved! "How can that be?" you may ask. That is easily explained. Those first four drivers wanted to be ready to move on the instant so as not to hold up the traffic and so they kept their engines running. Sadly, they all ran out of petrol and the world stopped.

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