Whenever I talk about getting a driver’s license with my friends from Europe, they express considerable shock at how easy it is for us Americans to earn the right to drive. Whereas getting your license in Germany requires years of classes and training and thousands of dollars, here in ‘Merica you can get one with about $99, a few hours, and a pulse.
I understand the lack of mass transit here makes this arrangement almost necessary, lest we have an entire generation of would-be students and workers stranded at home playing Destiny on their PS4s, but the result of the bar for driving eligibility being set ocean-bottom-low is painfully apparent out on our streets and highways. Here are the most annoying, dangerous, and infuriating examples of shitty drivers dominating our thoroughfares.
Get In (Or Out Of) Your Lane
At least once, in every commute over ten miles using our wonderful Interstate system, I will encounter one example of Rights Guy. He’s in the far left lane, with his cruise control set at 69mph in a 70mph zone. He has his hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel, staring straight ahead, and he’s probably listening to Lee Greenwood.
There is no possibility that he will speed up or move over a lane, because he pays his goddamn taxes and it’s his goddamn right to drive in whatever goddamn lane he pleases. When I ultimately lose patience and dangerously pass him to the right, I stare daggers at Rights Guy as I blow by, and he will not break his forward gaze – I only see his lips move slightly as he mumbles something to himself about the Constitution.
For the safety and convenience of every damn driver out there, follow these simple rules :
I’m cruising along in the right lane (not because I’m old, but because I have to turn in the near future… besides I’m not on a freeway so stop judging me), and just ahead on my right is a car approaching the road I’m on, from the right. He has a stop sign waiting for him when he gets to the road, he has to stop there – but he’s tearing ass on his way to the stop sign. He is The Sprinter. Getting in front of me would require breaking the law and likely severely injuring one or both of us, but The Sprinter is gonna feel out his chances by gunning it anyway. In the process, I have to hit my brakes, and so does the person behind me, and so on and so on. This guy sucks.
Making a Left Turn is Not That Hard
Quiz Time : You’re going to make a left at the next intersection. The light is red. At some point, you will need to transition to the left turn lane. Do you move over :
- a) a quarter mile before the cars are stopped in front of you
- b) about fifty feet before the cars are stopped in front of you
- c) neither. Come to a complete stop behind the cars in front of you, wait for another person to follow Option B above, then dart out in front of them at the last possible second.
If you chose b), congratulations – you’re not an idiot. If you chose c), I’ll see you in hell.
I’m all for keeping a safe distance between vehicles on a fast-moving freeway. The purpose of said distance being to allow time for the driver in back to have that extra split second to recognize the driver in front is braking, and follow suit without plowing headlong into their trunk. The distance you need to maintain, then, is proportionate to the speed of travel.
Not for The Cushioner. When everyone is at a complete stop at an intersection, The Cushioner leaves enough open space in front of them for a fucking brontosaurus to slide in if the occasion arises. They are backing up traffic unnecessarily, and probably blocking someone from merging into traffic from a side street. But they’re safe about it.
If you live in a cold-weather climate, you’re going to encounter ice on the roads sooner or later. The specter of dangerous ice you can’t see potentially lurking underneath you is bad enough, but to make your driving experience even more stressful – here comes Big 4×4 Guy.
Yes, what he possesses in ability to accessorize his truck and abuse his girlfriend, he lacks in fundamental understanding of physics. Four-wheel drive will help you start moving from a dead stop on slippery surfaces, because you have more wheels trying to grip the road, and the amount of grip they need to create is lower, since four of them are trying instead of two.
What Big 4×4 Guy doesn’t seem to understand, though, is that tires will lose control on ice. It doesn’t matter how many of them are powered by your big-block EarthFucker diesel engine, you’re going to lose control. There are few things I enjoy more each winter than seeing this guy dumped sideways in a ditch. If you know a Big 4×4 Guy, maybe this illustration will help educate him :