Tis the season! Every Christmas, in this time of joy, peace, and goodwill toward men, we also all get on the roads together in mass numbers to honk, scream, and piss each other off in a last-minute effort to buy gifts to make others happy.
I was out-and-about yesterday in all that, and it got me thinking about the every day driving pet peeves that get exacerbated with a large amount of cars on the roads. So, I took mine, prioritized them, expounded, and came up with this list. Maybe you have others. I’ve probably not thought of something because it hasn’t happened to me recently.
This is my top ten.
10) Wrong way in parking lots – Many parking lots have one-way lanes. Stores don’t try to be tricky about this, either. The direction of travel is denoted by large arrows, and, to the astute, by all the parking spaces slanting in one direction. Still, many drivers just don’t get the concept, leading to near slow-speed head-on collisions as cars try to avoid each other in a cramped lane.
I actually got into an argument with a guy about this once. It was early on a Sunday morning and the parking lot was empty, so I thought it obvious that the driver coming toward me in the wrong direction would move across the empty parking spaces into the proper lane. He didn’t, and circled around to yell at me as I got out of my car for not moving over enough. When I pointed out the direction of travel, he screamed that it didn’t matter and that I should have moved over. I apologized, saying that I didn’t realize he was royalty and got to do whatever he wanted while the rest of us had to follow rules and move out of his way, so I’m not sure why he was still mad when he drove off.
9) Halogen headlights – Yes, I realize how wonderful these things are for the person driving the car. However, if you’re driving toward, or, even worse, in front of a car with these headlights, they’re a nightmare. I’ve pulled over before and let a halogen head-lit car go past me so I could stop squinting at night.
8) Crotch rockets – I like motorcycles, really. I wouldn’t mind having one. That said, there’s something distinctly disconcerting about driving down the interstate, seeing nothing in your rearview, then suddenly hearing a buzzing noise one second before a motorcycle rocks your vehicle passing at 150 mph. There’s a reason state troopers call those guys “organ donors.”
7) Turn-lane zombies– So, traffic’s backed up, and the car in front of you starts to move into the turn lane. Thirty seconds later, half the car is in the lane. By the time it’s finally putt-putted over and out of the way, you and everyone behind you has missed the green light.
6) Blind parkers – Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard for anyone with a driver’s license to put a vehicle between two lines, but it really is for some people. On the line, over the line, diagonally…I guess as long as the car’s stopped without hitting something, they consider it a successful park.
An adjunct to this would be the guy with the massive diesel duelie who squeezes it into a space with five inches’ room on either side. Just park out farther and walk, man.
5) Failure to signal – There’s nothing like missing an opportunity to turn out into traffic because the car coming toward you doesn’t indicate that it’s turning onto the road you’re trying to turn from. Or almost getting hit because someone turning left in an intersection doesn’t understand that not signaling is telling you that they’re travelling straight.
4) Not driving a consistent speed – I really don’t care how fast other cars want to travel, just as long as they keep a consistent speed. I hate having on my cruise control but repeatedly passing the same car. There are subgroups to this category:
– Competitive obliviots – I almost made “obliviot” its own category, with obliviot meaning a driver oblivious to the fact that there are other cars on the road; however, it encompasses too many behaviors. In this case, the competitive obliviots are those who don’t realize how fast they’re going, or even how fast they want to go, until you pass them, at which point they floor it and pass you, or turn into a blindspot ninja.
– Blindspot ninja – The competitive obliviot who speeds up but doesn’t pass, preferring instead to hide in your blind spot. So you’re driving along, need to switch lanes, and suddenly there’s the car you thought you’d passed miles ago, forcing you to contend with it.
3) Tailgating – I live off a road with a 30 mph speed limit. Everyone knows the limit, it’s clearly posted, and cops patrol the road frequently, so it shouldn’t come as a shock when people drive 30 mph. Still, there are always drivers that come roaring up and ride far less than a car length behind others. I’ve had cars so close to me that I can’t even see the front of the car in my rearview. There’s no call for it, on that road or any other. Stupid. Just stupid.
2) Rubberneckers – It’s human nature to gawk at tragedy; however, it can be controlled. Wrecks back up traffic in large part because of people staring and driving slowly past. Keep your eyes on the moving lane of traffic and off the wreck…it’s really that simple.
1) Obliviots gunning lights – This is the most infuriating thing. You’re behind a slow-speed obliviot, who has nowhere to go and all day to get there, when the light ahead turns yellow. Naturally, the obliviot, not knowing anyone else is on the road, floors it and runs the yellow or red light, leaving you stuck at it. You both could have gone had the obliviot been travelling the proper speed, but now you’re trapped at the light as you watch the obliviot drive away.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/73187183@N02/8144739319″>Post Hurricane Sandy Traffic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>