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Recently while walking to the shops with my wife and 22 month old son in his buggy we approached a pedestrian crossing we needed to cross at (no, not Abbey Road!).

As we approached the crossing my wife noticed that the green man was showing so we’d be able to cross straight away, however as we got to the lights the man turned red; we’d have to wait a little while.

 “Oh, it’s turned red” she said as we got to the kerb.

 “It’s OK” I replied.

 At which point she took a step toward the road with the buggy just as the cars started to pull away at the lights…

 Talk about heart attack moment!

 As my mouth opened to speak she stopped and said, “I thought you said it was clear?”

 “Nnnooooo!” I said – “it’s OK” as-in it’s OK that the light went red because we’re not in a hurry and we can wait, not “it’s OK to walk out in front of the moving cars!”

 The consequences of language or terminology assumptions can be horrific; thankfully in this case they weren’t and good old fashioned self-preservation won the day. 😱

In testing make sure that what you’re reading or hearing is absolutely accurate and unambiguous before you make any decisions that affect the project; don’t walk out in front of a car!