Nothing turns me into a snarling, growling, epithet-hurling harpy faster than bad and/or rude driving. I grew up and learned to drive in Atlanta from the inching-across-town on the “connector” days to the days of Spaghetti and Malfunction junctions. If you’ve ever driven in Atlanta, you will know what I mean. A trip to LA with a rental car my senior year of college didn’t phase me–I was road-tested on the pig-paths of the 71 Peachtree Streets in Atlanta. Yes, there are 71.
I’m a good driver. I’ve never had an accident involving a moving vehicle until a few years ago when *I* got rear ended by a car so enveloped in its own exhaust that it just didn’t see that I had slowed down. Seriously, it was like getting hit by the smoke monster on “Lost”. Of course, he looked me right in the eye and drove off. What could I do? I had four kids in the car, trying to get to school on time.
But even that kind of thing doesn’t really get me going. Accidents do happen, even if they’re not pleasant. I’m talking about stupid, idiotic, ignorant things. As bad as the traffic/driving in Atlanta is, that town got nothing on the sheer rottenness of Pueblo drivers.
First of all, getting on the highway. Fools, it’s called an ACCELLERATION lane for a reason. You are supposed to go FASTER, not STOP! Good God. This one leaves me holding handfuls of hair every time. I’m behind this car (and it’s usually some kind of tricked out sports car with a youngish driver, right?) and they get to the very end of the entrance land and eeeeekk…brake light. WHAT??? Merge, merge, merge! At some point you will have to get on that road or you’ll be spending the night there.
I actually had Drivers’ Ed in school AND I got taught by my dad who was a stickler for all traffic rules and tricks. I was taught that on a highway through town, if you were not going to get off on an exit, that you stayed to the left. If you saw someone about to merge, you got out of the way. Now, in Colorado, we do have a rule that says IF you are on the highway where the speed limit is 75 mph, THEN slower traffic stays right and you only get in the left lane to pass. Like people follow that, right? Still, it’s a rule. But it only applies to the open stretches between towns. In town, most speed limits on the highway are between 55 and 65. So. I’m in the accelleration lane. I am, in fact, accellerating to try to match traffic. So the car that was behind me as I got on the ramp does what? What do you think? Does it a) hang back a little and allow me to merge. b) speed up and get ahead of me, still leaving me time to easily merge into the traffic stream. c) move into the left lane, giving me space to get into traffic OR, d) HANG right in my BLIND SPOT, like he’s DARING me to try to get on the road all the way to the end of the accelleraton lane until I practially have to run off the road before I can get in the lane.
Oh, you got it, you know the answer. IDIOTS. I don’t care one way or the other. If they don’t want me in front of them, fine, just speed the hell up and get out of the way or MOVE OVER. How hard is that?
Now. Stop signs. Oh. My. God. How is it that these people have even lived long enough drive? No one here seems to have heard of right of way. What’s the rule? If two or more cars get to a stop sign at the same time, the person on the right has the right of way. I have been flipped off, screamed at and otherwise abused because I let the person ON THE RIGHT go first and the person behind me didn’t like it. Conversely, people turning left DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. Left turners go last. I can feel my blood pressure creeping up as I write this.
Then there’s the people who speed (and actually pass you) in school zones. That happened with me a while back–a TAXI no less. Thankfully, in that case, I was able to call the taxi company and report that idiot. A little relief at least. Then there’s the people who can’t seem to lift their feet off the brakes when the light turns green. These are the same people who scream, holler and rudely gesture when you’ve clearly got your left turn signal on and there are 15 cars in the other lane comeing one after the other. Sorry, playing chicken with a semi so you can get to K-mart isn’t going to happen.
Then there are the in town drivers who can’t seem to read a speedometer, or their cars, like Christine, have taken on a life of their own. I’m driving through town, speed limit 35, I’m maybe going 36 or so. Suddenly in my rearview, there’s another windshield. Not headlights, mind you, but a windshield! WTF?! Where did you come from? Then idiot boy (or girl) looks up from the phone and realizes OMG, I could be cramming myself up someone’s ass. They back off. Way off. Slow down to 25, may 20. Distance between us builds. I glance back. THERE’S THE WINDSHIELD AGAIN! Mind you, I’m still going the same speed. The speed limit signs are easily visible. But apparently, the other driver’s foot has some kind of St. Vitus Dance that prevents him from maintaining an even speed on the pedal.
It just goes on and on. Rudeness, ignorance, stupidity, compete disregard for the laws of physics (we all know they don’t apply to SUVs. Especially in winter, on ice.) But that’s enough whining for now. I think I need to go fold some laundry to calm myself down. Just be careful out there. And mind your driving manners.