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Green = Go and Other Driving Imponderables


WHAT is in the air lately?

Every time I’ve sat behind the wheel the last few days, I’ve literally feared for my life with all the nuts on the road. And I don’t mean the kind that are good for your heart.

Why do some drivers insist on “threading the needle” that rather moronic attempt to squeeze their over-sized SUV or pick-up truck into a gap that a tricycle wouldn’t fit?

Or ride their brakes through every intersection? That was the one that irritated me most two weekends ago. I’m cruising along at speed behind someone, and he decides to hit the brakes as he’s going through the intersection. He isn’t slowing down prior to the intersection but dropping his speed as he enters the intersection. Forty miles per hour, hit the intersection, now we are traveling only 25, and I’m slamming on the brakes to keep from shoving my van right up his tail pipe.

Do some people just not understand the concept of proper acceleration? Through the intersection? Through the turn? Entering the highway?

That’s another one that I haven’t figured out in the years I’ve been driving, the reason behind slowing to a crawl at the top of the onramp while merging on the highway.

It’s like the driver is thinking, “Hey, I know what I’ll do here! I’ll just drive along at 15 miles per hour and maybe all these other drivers traveling at 55 will slow down to 10 miles per hour and let me get into traffic.”

Granted, sometimes it’s actually necessary to slow down then because those cars to the right aren’t being considerate enough to move over and allow traffic to merge (or can’t because of traffic), but much of the time I see (or wind up behind) someone who just wants to turtle it up the onramp.

Then you have the speed demons.

The other night, while driving along at 35 mph (the speed limit in the nearby town we’d gone to dinner in) with a truck to my right about five feet or so back and running at the same speed, I look in the rearview mirror to see a blue sports car (didn’t get make or model though) barreling down the road toward me.

I didn’t have time to get out of the way. Instead of “threading the needle” the driver just punched his speed even more, slid into the left hand lane (which was oncoming traffic) to pass, then dropped back into my lane just as the first car about to hit him juked to the side.

Or why do some drivers pull up to a light and stop and then just sit there?

The light turns green, and still they sit.

And sit.

And—oh, you get the idea.

Some of the time, they realize what they’ve (not) been doing and pull through the intersection at just a slow enough speed to bottleneck at least half a dozen cars trying to squeeze through before the light changes. Much of the time, though, they don’t because whoever is sitting immediately behind them doesn’t know what the center section of the steering wheel is for. You know, the horn, that part of the vehicle which sounds out, “Hey, move it!” Meanwhile, those of us sitting three, four, a dozen cars back are wondering what is going on.

A couple of days ago, while sitting several cars back from the light (and sitting and sitting), I was about to hop out and walk the distance to ask why hadn’t the front car moved. Of course, I planned to ask one of my two favorites:

“Are you waiting for a particular shade of green?”

or

“What are you waiting for? Christmas?”

My son especially loves the latter.

My wife just shakes her head and tells me by the time I got out and walked down the line to mouth off at the idiot causing the holdup that I would wind up blocking traffic as well.

And I have to take a deep breath and think . . .

Cooler heads will prevail, I guess.

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