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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top-10 List: Traffic Pet Peeves

Stock Photo of a DC-area Traffic Jam
For whatever reason, climbing behind the wheel of a car transforms the average rational individual into a self-absorbed idiot. I'm not immune to that phenomenon.

However, this post is not about me and my road rage fantasies - it's about all the other idiots driving on the road.

Here in the greater Washington, DC area there seems to be a disproportionate number of idiot drivers (IDs) per square foot of asphalt. As such, here's a list of my top-10 Driving Pet Peeves:

10. Tailgating - I'm not sure why expressway drivers are compelled to hug my bumper like they're drafting my slipstream at Daytona International Speedway; however, when I'm driving alone, I'm half tempted to spike my brakes and  make this would-be rear ender learn a lesson via higher insurance premiums.

9. Slow Driving in the Passing Lane - I don't endorse speeding but the passing lane is intended for fast driving. The drivers who are oblivious to this fact and insist on driving 40 mph in the fast lane are even more dangerous than speeders and should be stripped of driving privileges and relegated to mass transit.

8. Passing Car Cuts in Front, then Slows Down - This particular driving practice is a step worse than those slowpokes who unintentionally clog the fast lane. Here the passer drives at an alarming high-rate of speed to only to cut in front of you or some other unsuspecting "passee" and then the passer slows down. I don't condone road rage - but I understand it when this occurs.

7. Chronic Lane Shifting - While there are no traffic laws being violated with this one, the driver who constantly moves lanes jockeying for a single space advancement in the traffic mosh pit deserves a 3 iron to the windshield courtesy of road rage poster child Jack Nicholson.

6. Speeding Through a Round About - Round abouts are those circular sections of pavement at a four-way stop that are alternatives to traffic lights and are supposed to facilitate pavement flow. Unfortunately, that is based on the assumption that drivers who enter the round about are not trying to qualify for the Indy 500.

5. Rolling "Non-Stop" at a Four-Way Stop - Drivers who roll through stop signs are either ignorant or passive aggressive. Whether intentional or not, their slow roll ignores the rule of the road that the first driver to stop at the intersection  has the right of way. At times like that I half wish I was a heavy equipment operator on a steam roller to do a bit of a slow roll of my own across their hood.

4. Blowing Through Yield Signs - I'm at a loss for words regarding this reckless practice, so I'll yield the floor to the immortal words of Arthur Fonzirelli from Happy Days, "What are you NUTSO???"

3. Passing on the Shoulder - Grrrrr. This is one of the most dangerous roadway practices - yet I see it happen on a weekly basis where someone summarily decides that the narrow shoulder of the highway is their personalized driving lane. That's when I half wish I was the crazed, shoulder-pad-wearing-mohawk-coiffed motorcyclist from Road Warrior wielding a studded baseball bat to spike their tires.

2. Talking/Texting on a Mobile Phone While the Car is Moving - Hey I know you're super important and that world leaders need constant connection, seeking your 24/7 sage advice to rectify critical issues such as global warming; domestic job creation; the economic meltdown as well as alternate fuel sources but do us all a favor - hang up and drive with both hands while your vehicle is in motion!!!

1. No Turn Signal - This ultra-dangerous highway epidemic wouldn't bother me if I had only passed that undergraduate course in MIND READING!!! Unfortunately I failed that course and still can't cipher the inner intent of another person, especially when they want to "Tokyo Drift" their two-ton street legal projectile in front of me with no turn signal. Argh!!

Deep cleansing breaths - out with the bad air, in with the good...much better.

Question: What highway shenanigans drive you crazy?

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