I’ve put about 50,000 miles on my car in the last two years, and while it’s not a lot of driving for some, it’s the most time I’ve spent in my car since I got my license. My car is my space to harmonize with Taylor (Reputation is fire and the first 4 tracks on it…stahppp), spit bars with Nas (GOAT), or be inspired by The Gary Vee podcast. But it’s also my time to judge every single other person on the road. From the bumper stickers people choose to slap on their car to the condition of your car, I. SEE. YOU. I have now lived in 6 different states over the last 10 years. Each state has it’s own thing:
New Jersey: stop it, we’re the best.
Kentucky: I don’t remember. You would forget too, it’s Kentucky.
Oregon: specifically in Portland, it’s hipsters and hipsters ride bikes. And they want to be treated just like a car. Except for when it’s more convenient for them to not be a car. Then they want to be treated like a cyclist. “Share the road”? Share the taxes, buddy.
Massachusetts: these people stop for everything. Green lights included. Don’t ever get caught at a 4 way stop in Western Mass., everyone is too nice to go.
Delaware: the left lane is for one person who wants to go 50mph and hold everyone else up.
South Carolina: they hate turn signals and red lights. It’s almost like their first lesson when being taught how to drive is “F%&^ a turn signal and a red light. They don’t pertain to you.”
Here are the drivers we all complain about (who did I miss?):
The Left Laners
It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is, you are not the speed police (I guess just “police” would have sufficed here). You are not doing a service by making every one go around you. And if you’re keeping pace with the car in the right lane, you are the worst kind of person. If you don’t think so, explain you’re reasoning without sounding like a selfish asshole. You cannot just claim “I’m not that observant.” It’s literally one of the things you HAVE to be on the road. So observe, and then get over. Your taxes don’t only cover the left lane.
The Entitled Driver
We all know this driver…the one who will quickly turn out in front you and go slow even though there is no one behind you. Or the person who decides they need to switch lanes and this very second is the only second that will do. Cutting you off and then going slow is obviously their only option. Why were you in such a hurry 1.5 seconds ago but now you’re driving like you’re taking the ’69 Chevy out on a 70 degree Sunday morning? You wanted to gun it then, SO GUN IT NOW.
The Overly Safe Driver
The people who tap their brakes when nothing is in front of them. The ones who take an eternity to make any move. You’re inability to function is going to cause an accident.
You know this person. They stop at Yield signs. They try to merge on the highway doing 35mph. These are the people who see “Construction in 2 miles, Right Lane Closed” sign so they get over, which leads to the left lane being backed up. Then when you proceed to continue to drive in the right lane for 2 miles, they get up close to the person in front of them because “No, you should’ve merged miles back.”
Merging is like a zipper. Every other car. You creating a back up for a few miles while one lane is still open is dumb. I’m not the authority on merging, this is just what makes the most sense to me. Maybe getting out of a lane that is still usable makes the most sense to you. Just know that if it does, I will never want to drive with you.
The People Who Refuse to Use the Center Turn Lane
This is one that needs answers. What’s the reasoning? It’s too easy? It’s too convenient? So now you don’t trust it? It’s for everybody but you? WHAT IS IT?!
The Overly Aggressive Driver
A couple of years ago, I was driving down 13-S, going from Dover to Harrington. A two lane highway, I was in the left lane, with cars in front, next to, and behind me. Surrounded. The woman behind me, driving a maroon sedan, was riding my ass. I said out loud (to no one) “Lady, I wanna go faster too. Get off of my ass.” I thought if I acknowledged her frustration to the Universe she would somehow realize she was being rude. She didn’t. The car in front of me finally turned, so I sped up. Before I could get over, Maroon Sedan Woman squeezed between me and the car in the right lane with a dramatic jerk of the car. She pulled up next to me, looked at me dead in my eyeballs, and gave me the finger. Is she insane?! I instinctually flipped her off right back. Then I started laughing. Because nowhere else in life do we EVER do that. Think about all the times you’re slightly inconvenienced in life, do you ever respond to those situations how you respond while driving a car?
My biggest driving pet peeve is people stopping to stare at accidents. Do you feel better now that you looked at it? Do you now feel like you have something to talk about at work? Unless you’re planning to get out and assist in some way, why do you feel the need to stop and look? It’s just because you’re curious. Yet, your curiosity has an effect. There’s an entire scientific article that studies the impacts of accidents, rubbernecking, and the effects, titled “The Impact of Rubbernecking on Urban Freeway Traffic.”
A couple of weeks ago I was headed into work on 77-S at 7:45AM. My normal 15-20 minute drive turned into a 45 minute drive. Yes, there had been an accident, but it was a couple of hours before I left the house. So I was surprised to see the the first few miles of my drive backed up with traffic. I found out why. Even though the vehicle was fully out of the road and in the median, everyone across the 3 lanes was stopping to look. They rode their brakes as they approached, and only returned to a normal speed once they were too far passed to crane their neck anymore. WHY?! It’s an accident, you’ve seen one before. Are you so inconsiderate of everyone else behind you that you find it completely acceptable to stop and stare? Tell me. Tell me why you feel like you’re the only person on the road that matters and that it’s more important for you to get a good look than to just keep the flow of traffic going. I’ll wait.
Are you thinking “Who are you, Amy?” I’m the person that doesn’t stop and look. As I pass by, I keep my focus where it belongs: on the road. I don’t need to look, I don’t care to look. Plus, if I looked, I’wouldn’t be able to rant about everyone else who looks without being a hypocrite.
The Other Side of These Things
Look, we all judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. We’re all guilty of doing this things at some point, whether by accident or because we’re just feeling like the most important person the road that day.
How often are we the ones who are driving slow? A car approaches, starts riding our ass and we think (or say out loud) “I’m going over the speed limit. Who is this guy?”
We get mad when someone is creeping along, slowing down at each cross street to see if this is where they have to turn. “C’mon touron” (Delaware lingo), “why don’t you know where you’re going?!” Have you ever been new somewhere? Did you just magically know where you were supposed to go right out the gate, or we’re you kind of creeping around, holding people up? Sometimes I’m the person. I’m new somewhere every couple of years. Sure we all have access to a GPS but the GPS is like “turn in half a mile” one second and that “TURN NOW…REROUTING!” and you’re like I passed a forest, where the &$#! was I supposed to turn?!
Here in Columbia, there’s a spot called “Malfunction Junction” and it’s like 1,000 accidents every single day. That’s an exaggeration but it is a disaster zone to drive in. There is one exit into Lexington that backs up rather quickly at afternoon drive time. I wasn’t aware of this so instead of sitting in the right lane a mile away from my exit, I bypassed all the cars and had to do that awkward cutoff. You know the one, where you cut someone off but then are just sitting in front of them knowing they think you’re an asshole. Luckily I still have Delaware tags so they have to assume I’m new. Or that Delawareans are terrible drivers. Little do they know it’s really Maryland drivers who are the worst:)
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and remember that I’m the person people are cussing out sometimes. I try to acknowledge other people on the road. If they let me in or I was a problem for them, I just try to acknowledge it. A wave of the hand to say thank you or I’m sorry. That’s all I want back. Unless you’re driving slow in the left lane. It’s unacceptable, and you’re a terrible, selfish person. Save your sorry, I don’t even have time to hear it. I’m too busy thinking about all the ways I will destroy your life.