From Pine View Farm

Driving 1

I have always enjoyed driving. Like most American drivers, I think I’m pretty good at it.

The difference is, I’m right.

And the drive to Pine View Farm this weekend further confirmed it.

Herewith I list the most irritating habits of the average bad driver (by “average bad driver,” I exclude the obviously bad driver–the aggressive lane switcher, the 20+ mph over the speed limit speeder, the drunk, and their companions).

Here are my nominations for the most irritating habits of the average bad driver (in no particular order):

1. Swinging left to make a right turn (or right to make a left turn)–the mark of the true incompetent. I watched a fellow today make a right at an intersection. He actually swung into the left lane to do so. And he was driving some tiny little rice-burner.

2. Varying speed for no reason (I use cruise control whenever I can–give it a try. It will open your eyes to the failure of others to pay attention to the speedometer). I was behind another bozo (apologies to Bozo) the other day who kept slowing down for turns. Now, he was going 60 (speed limit 55) on a road engineered for 70 mph speeds. Why was he slowing down for curves? Because he was a stupid git.

3. Speeding up when being passed (overtaken, for the British amongst us)–a subset of not paying attention. Not a new behavior–it can easily happen to anyone who’s not blinkin’ paying attention. Culprits these days seem to do it with cell phones in their ears, but I suspect they would do it anyway.

4. Wrong speed in the wrong lane. On my way down the road yesterday, there was another bozo who planted himself in the left lane and then drove as if he were the only person on the road–blocking traffic and backing up passers. I won’t say what the Perdue truck driver called him, but the trucker and I had a good time chatting about him for about five miles. Ultimately, Mr. Perdue pushed him out of the way into the right lane (left for the British amongst us) so the rest of the world could beat feet down the road.

5. Two (or more) vehicles travelling together and not realizing that they can do it safely more than 10 feet apart. Especially these days when everyone has a cell phone.

6. Trying to pass on the right, only to find that everyone else was in the left lane for a reason–the driver in the right lane was going slower than everyone else. Then, of course, rocketing back in the left lane with but a hair of distance between them and the poor victim they cut off. (In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, substitue left for right and versa vice). (I guess they will start driving on the right–that is, correct–side of the road about the time we USAns start using the metric system. Oh, well.)

7. (This seems to be a relative new phenomenon) Knowing that you are going a steady speed, and therefore (one would hope) long-knowing that they are going to pass you (since they have been gaining on you ever since you came into their sight five miles ago), running right up on your rear end before moving into the completely empty left lane with only a few feet to separate them from your rear bumper in order to overtake you. (This seems to be especially characteristic of 20- and 30-something female drivers–maybe they should hang up their cell phones and look at the road!)

8. Running up on your rear end at high speed, tailgating you for three miles, then realizing, oh my goodness! there’s a passing lane and all they have to do is move to the left (right for the Brits) to resume previous aforesaid high speed.

Jeez, and did I get sick of overloaded SUV’s with luggage carriers on the top and bicycles on the back. With vehicles that big, why the heck do they need luggage carriers? And there should be room inside for the bicycles. Really, those things are rolling apartments, for heaven’s sake.

I’m sure I’ll think of more. Nominations for the list are welcome.


1 comment

  1. Bill

    September 5, 2005 at 9:26 am

    This happened to me this morning (Labor Day) at about 7 a.m. Almost no traffic and I was trying to merge onto US 13 – which is three lanes in each direction at this intersection. There’s one car on US 13 heading in my direction and he’s in the right lane. Although no one else was within a quarter mile of our location and I was signaling my intention to merge, he refused to move to the left to allow me onto the highway. Of course he was from Pennsylvania and driving a BMW, so I should have expected it.

    One other irritating maneuver is from my days of towing a boat and involved two-lane roads (one lane in each direction). I found that everyone attempting to enter the road in front of me thought I going 25 mph and they have to pull out in front of me – regardless of how close I was at the time. Often, they were only going a quarter or half mile up the road and then turning off, but they couldn’t risk getting caught behind a boat. Trying to stop a 2-1/2 boat and trailer is no small order. A buddy of mine used to drive a school bus. He said the same was true of buses. People often pulled out in front of him at dangerously close range.