Everyday Traffic Irritations

Rage on the road.  It affects every single driver at some point in their life.  If it hasn't affected you, you either haven't been driving long enough, or you're lying.  Driving comes with a multitude of problems that we have to deal with, and these ones, really fuel my rage.

First of all, why is there so much traffic, no matter what time of day I am on the road?  If it is 10:00 am, why aren't these people at work? or at school? I know what you're thinking, "You're on the road at that time aren't you?". Yes, yes I am, but I work shift work and the majority of the jobs out there are day shift.  Mostly retail.  There are a lot of people who work swing shift, or graveyard shift, but if this many people are out and about at one time, imagine if we all worked close to the same shift.  The streets would be empty while everyone was at work, but we would never be able to get to and from anywhere if we were all on the street at the same time.  Disaster would surely be inevitable.

You're driving.  Ok, not really, you're looking at the computer screen, reading this article, and if you are driving while you're doing this maybe you shouldn't be allowed to have a license.  So, for the sake of making this point, imagine that you're driving.  You're in the right hand lane, singin' along to your favorite tunes on the radio, whatever that may be (I won't judge if you're a 30 something biker type dude, belting out New Kids on the Block, or NKOTB as the cool kids say). The car in front of you decides they need to pull into the next parking lot.  You see them turn on their blinker, and you see there is plenty of room for them to move over, out of the flow of traffic to make their turn in.  There are no cars parked on the curb, no bikers in the lane on the edge of the road (we'll get to these hellions in a minute.), and no other hazards that you can think of.  You see their brake lights come on, and they aren't moving, you get closer and closer as they slow almost to a complete stop, right in front of you and a thousand other cars behind you.  They don't even notice.  Why didn't they move over? They had more than enough room! Maybe they don't have power steering.  Wait a minute, I don't have power steering and I still move over when I can, so that's no excuse.  Next time you're turning, get out of the way so the rest of us can get to where we need to be too.

Moving on to left turns, the median is there for a reason, for you to use it to stay out of my way.  The same people that make the above mistake do the same thing when pulling into the median. They hit the brakes, then turn on their blinker, then move slighty over, if they even make it into the median.  Someone is going to get a Red Jeep through their back end if this keeps up.  The correct order is blinker, move, brake, then what u do from there is none of my concern because I have passed you by then.  If you need to get into the median, do it and get out of the way!

'Share the Road'.  No. It's mine while I'm driving on it, and I don't like to share.  Ok, I'm not quite that harsh.  As an advocate of physical fitness, I enjoy seeing people outside in the fresh air (or not so fresh while they breathe in the pollution from the exhaust of the Dodge 3500 they're stopped next to).  Most of the time, these bicyclists are just in the way.  You're not a car, you can't safely go as fast as me, and you're not as big, so it's a lot harder for me to see you than it is for you to see me.  Share the road goes both ways, I will share it with you as long as you share it with me. Do your part and get out of the way!

If you have the right of way, just go.  Don't try to be nice and wave me through, because it's just going to make me, along with everyone else in the immediate viscinity, enraged at you.  The rules of the road were created to keep traffic flowing smothly and safely.  So instead of trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and let everyone else know that you have nowhere as important to be as they do, so they can "go ahead". Just get out of the way. On second thought, if you don't have anywhere important to be and you can let everyone else go in your turn, then you shouldn't have come out in the first place. Stay home if you want to let everyone else drive, we'd appreciate that more than watching you frantically wave your arms at us instead of putting your foot on the pedal.

If there are big, red octagons with bright white "STOP" imprinted on them at an intersection, people generally understand how this works.  They know they need to stop, see who has the right of way, and go when it is their turn. But for some reason, when the traffic lights are temporarily flashing red at an intersection, people abandon all knowledge of how a stop sign works.  That's all that it means when they are flashing, is that you need to imagine a stop sign instead of flashing red lights.  It doesn't mean that you have to stop and you can never go again.  It doesn't mean that you don't have to stop either.  If you don't know how to behave at a stop sign, then don't drive anywhere near the same road as me.  Get out of the way.

I'll admit, I was a little bit intimidated the first time I encountered a roundabout.  Then 2 seconds later I got over it, because it's not that hard.  If you're in the south bound lane, and a vehicle enters from north bound, you don't have to wait for them to circle all the way around to get to the east bound lane. Go. You're not going to get hit (unless its from me nudging you forward from behind reminding you to get moving). Don't be so scared. Be cautious, not stupid, and get out of the way.

Pedestrians, the hand means don't walk.  The little guy that looks like he is walking means walk, and fast enough to get out of the way.  Don't meander nonchalantly on your sunday stroll like you haven't got a care in the world.  Just because anyone has the potential to go to jail for vehicular manslaughter no matter if you were jaywalking or not, doesn't mean they won't hesitate to crush you the next time you walk out in front of them when you obviously should have waited.  Don't use your body to play chicken with a car.  Get out of the way.

Pay attention.  We're all guilty of it at one time or another.  If I honk at you, it's not because I'm being an impatient jerk (mostly).  It's to let you know that I gave you plenty of time to look up from what you were doing to realize that the light turned green quite a long time ago.  Think of it as a friendly reminder.  A reminder to pay attention and get out of the way.

How late are you? I often go faster than I should on the freeway.  Everyone else is going just as fast and I'm keeping up with the flow of traffic, being a team player and all.  But when the speed limit is 65mph, and I'm doing at least 85mph along with every other car on the road, (That's 20mph over for those same people that struggle with the stop signs), and you come flying up behind me, flashing your lights at me, honking, waving your arms, expecting me to move over. Think again.  You'd better be on your way to the hospital, speeding away from a giant monster that is trailing behind all of us, or only trying to get my attention because my car is on fire and I can't tell from where I'm at.  Cool the jets a bit, wake up a little earlier so you don't have to rush, and settle down. You don't need to go that fast to get out of the way.

Know when to quit.  You've been driving for 80 years? Maybe it's time to throw in the towel, you've had plenty of time to have your fun.  Let the rest of us have ours.  Ok, not every elderly person is a bad driver, but if you're old, seriously consider taking a close look at how well your skills compare to the rest of us.  If you are one of the few that still has their sense about them, then by all means, drive along with me.  If not, get out of the driver seat and hire someone else to drive you.  I could use the extra money.

I hope everyone can relate to this as much as I do.  We've all either been victims or perpetrators in 1 or more of the above situations.  We all need to remember that we are sharing the road with many people, and we all need to do our part to get out of the way.