Pet Peeves: Driving
Let's be honest, not all drivers are created equal. Whether you went to a great driving school or none at all. Whether you prefer automatics or manuals. Whether you listen to heavy metal or audio books. We all drive a little differently. But there are some behaviors on the road that drive me insanely crazy and I felt the need to share. Enjoy!
Let's kick things off with a real touchy subject. You see that sign on the side of the road? The one with the numbers on it? Do you know what those mean? Fun fact, that sign is to denote the maximum speed at which you are legally allowed to drive! Now that being said, I don't care enough to actually be upset if someone wants to go markedly faster or slower than the speed limit. What I do care about, though, is what you do then!
You see, if you're going to go slow. Like really slow. I'm talking 45 on the freeway. And you think you should be in the left lane forever because it's your favorite lane? You're wrong. Oh you're wrong. Especially if you're pacing equally slow cars in the lane next to you. It is not cool or okay in any way for you to make a wall of ineptitude so all the drivers capable of utilizing their gas pedals to a better extent have to read your license plate for 40 miles while you choose to ignore the snake of cars trailing behind you.
But what if there's only one lane you ask? That's what turnouts are for! I realize the windy roads might be scary, but the rest of us don't want or need you to decide on our behalf that we're just as scared as you are. We got this. Seriously. Just as soon as you pull over and free us from your obnoxious ways.
Now...on the other side... It's cool that you fear no traffic, no sneaky officers, no reaction time needs. But if you're going to go fast? I only ask two things.
Number one, if I see you coming up behind me and I'm in the left lane, I will gladly move over so long as you give me a chance. But if I spy with my little eye the impatient flashing of headlights as if I hadn't noticed you barreling down the road 15 miles an hour above the speed limit? Oh you better believe I'm not going anywhere. Fun fact, I'll still move for the guy right behind you that's nice enough to give me a chance without trying to blind me first. Just you watch.
Number two, you do you. So long as that means no one else around you is in harm's way? I'm good. But if your need for speed comes at the cost of someone else's safety, you and I got beef. Are you so full of yourself that your lead foot means more than that person who had to slam on their breaks and swerve because you were in a hurry to get out in front of everyone? You know what happens if you rush ahead when you're driving? You run into more cars. Every time. I promise. Sooner or later, it will happen. Maybe your goal was always to find the front where you could be the first car. I never thought of that. Guess what, I still don't care. Don't put people at risk hot shot.
While we're on the topic of speed. You should know that the cars on the freeway are moving pretty fast. You know what that means? Means you should keep that in mind when you're entering and exiting the freeway. Yeah. No one wants to hit their breaks when you decide to merge at the top speed for 40 because you didn't bother using the whole ramp to get up to speed and merge safely.
On the other hand, off ramps are also pretty long. So long, in fact, that you can safely maintain your cruising speed until, get this, you're not in the freeway any more! That's right. No need to slow me down just because you're ready to go grab some tacos. You've got lots of space to do that where you won't have to worry about the people who are more in the mood for burgers a few exits down. So...
Also. Lane changing. Just...be aware yeah? Like cutting off semi trucks? Or anyone, really, but semi trucks? I don't even...
Now for a more universal gripe. The blinker. Here's what I don't get. There's almost no effort required to use a blinker. It's as hard as lowering or raising your own arm, something everyone better be able to do if they're freaking driving. What's tricky, though, is deciding which failure to use a blinker is the most aggravating. Is it when I stared at you across from a 4-way stop only to watch you go a direction that didn't impede me in any way? Is it when I have to slam on my breaks because you were ready to pull into my lane without any warning? Is it when you almost ran me down because I was crossing a road without realizing you wanted to go where my poor, frail body was treading on foot. How dare I?
The fact is, using a blinker is beyond easy and the only thing that explains not using it is blatant arrogance. Trust me, you're not cooler than using a blinker. No one is.
Let's talk about turning. Many an intersection are blessed with multiple lanes to help filter cars appropriately. Often times, the lane on the right is to turn right. The lane on the left? You guessed it, for turning left. Naturally, there is some variation here. But, when a lane is designated for a specific purpose? It's ideal to adhere to it. What does this mean? Let me tell you.
Let's say you're in the left lane and it's a left turn only. No other direction of travelling is allowed from the lane you've decided to get into. When suddenly! You realize your destination is straight ahead. Oh no! What do you do? I'll tell you what you don't do. You don't sit still and block everyone behind you until it's clear to go straight. Are you kidding me?! I'm sorry you realized the right path to take too late. That doesn't give you the power to dictate the flow of traffic. You made your choice. I'm sure, once you've turned left, you can figure it out. You're a smart cookie. Stop acting like you don't know what you're doing isn't okay.
But what if it's the other way around? Like this is somehow any different. No, it's not okay to sneak a left turn in that causes mayhem because you were positioned to go straight through. Deal with it. It'll be okay.
The last thing that I have to touch on isn't about the cars themselves necessarily. Now I have no problem sharing the road with cyclists. It's cool that you're doing more for the environment for me. It's cool that you are in the lane alongside me where you're legally supposed to be. It's not cool if you decide to follow some driving laws and not others, though. Like running red lights, for instance. Not cool. Swerving in and out of a designated bike lane? Not cool. Moving on and off sidewalks as you see fit without any warnings? Not cool. Generally failing to signal at all? You see where I'm going with this.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to safety for me. The thing that drives me crazier than anything else is when people forget that they're controlling a few thousand pounds of machinery travelling at ridiculous speeds. Whether you're going 25 or 85, whether you're paying attention or distracted, that's a lot of mass you're directly responsible for. There's no excuse not to use every tool at your disposal to help keep everyone safe and happy, including you. All too often, people just treat driving as this thing they do to get around, or something fun or whatever. Road rage is a prime example of how the act of driving has become so singularly self-focused. But you're not the only one out there, in cars or out. There are countless other people just trying to do their thing too. If your behaviors are such that anyone's safety is forfeit, that's just no okay. Be aware of the fact that you are wielding a lethal weapon. Yeah it's cool that it's super shiny or bigger than everyone else's or whatever. But it's still dangerous, and so are you if you're not careful. Just be cool. We're all in this together. Sure would be nice if we all acted like it.
Thank you for joining me in my crazy world.