I’m not the greatest driver in the world. I’m not the worst. To give you some idea about my driving ability, I drive slightly slower than average and I generally stay in the right hand lane. I have been driving for over thirty-five years and have had two accidents. One was on an untreated icy road. In the second accident, I was rear-ended. Thankfully no one was hurt in either. Given the amount I have driven, I have been very blessed on the roadways.
Today I want to talk about seven road behaviors that “drive” me crazy. Please note that I don’t mention driving under the influence or texting, since I think most folks agree those are dangerous and sincerely try to avoid them.
1. Merging. Does anyone know the meaning of the word “yield”? When I went through driver’s education, it meant that merging traffic waited until there was a safe gap in the through traffic before entering the highway. I swear some folks think, “I am coming onto the highway, so everyone get out of my way. I’ll just close my eyes, yell “yee-haw” and get in safely.” Equally scary is the driver already on the highway who will force his way over into the left lane because there is someone on the entrance ramp. Once, I had a woman literally stop on a busy interstate highway and try to wave me into the lane. Thanks, but no thanks. I really would prefer to wait my turn. I’ll do my best to wait for a gap and merge safely.
2. Left hand turns. Now this one may be local, since I don’t recall seeing it before moving. Drivers making a left hand turn onto a divided highway and pull onto the road blocking the traffic in the opposite direction from that which they want to go. They then wait until traffic is clear to finish the turn. I have see traffic forced to stop until they completed the turn. I am dreading the time when someone gets rammed because of this move.
3. Using turn signals. There are a few interesting types of turn signals use. Some people don’t use them. I don’t know if they are trying to save the light bulb or just want to be stealthy. There are those who put the turn signal on and change lanes. They don’t check for traffic, they don’t look around, they assume other drivers will get out of the way. Hey, they signaled didn’t they. Then there are the drivers that forgot they have the signal on and drive for mile, after mile, after mile signalling.
4. Blind spots. I know that every vehicle has them. Drivers use mirrors and check twice and three times to compensate for them. Having a bumper sticker that says you have blind spots does not absolve you of responsibility. Don’t think it’s only the big rigs that seem to have an issue. On a clear day, on a straight piece of highway, we were forced off the road by a motor home driver that apparently did not see our sedan. Yikes!
5. Special needs. Have you seen the trucks that say, “This vehicle makes wide turns”. Well great, as long as you can make the turn from your own lane and without mowing over an roadside sign or tree, we won’t have a conflict. Don’t make a left from the center lane and just assume that there is no one in the actual left lane. If your vehicle is so big that you can’t safely maneuver it. Get it off the road. Yes, I know, it is cheaper to transport freight in a larger truck and I am as frugal as the next guy. The two cents that I saved on toilet paper really won’t mean a whole lot when I am dead.
6. Roadside Parking. At one time or another, everyone has had to pull off the road onto the shoulder. It is not a fun experience. The recent law that states that a traveling vehicle should move to another lane to give a better safety zone for the emergency situation is a good one. One thing though, the law says you should move into another lane if it can be done SAFELY, otherwise reduce speed and proceed cautiously. Check traffic before changing lanes. I might be right there beside you.
7. Bicycles. Ride your bicycles where you can be safe. I really don’t want to hit you. You have a right to be on the roadway. If you want the rights, you follow the rules. Stop at lights and stop signs. Go the right way on one-way streets. Don’t dart in and out of traffic. Stay off of sidewalks.
I’ve given you seven behaviors that scare me when I am driving. There are many more. You can all laugh at me for being scared. A woman of a certain age, who can’t deal with driving anymore. I really don’t think that is it. Folks seem to be in their own world, busy rushing here or there and doing their own thing. Accidents happen so quickly and with the things that I’ve seen, I am surprised that there aren’t more of them.
What are your pet peeves concerning drivers? I hope that I don’t “drive you crazy”.