Many people in physically smaller, more dense countries enjoy efficient, effective public transportation. For the typical American not living in New York, driving significant distances is a daily necessity.
It is well known that when people get behind the wheel of a car, they change. Seemingly mild mannered, rational people become taut tripwires, ready to explode at the slightest infraction. This partially has to do with the fact that, subconsciously, most people’s view of the situation ends at the vehicles and not the people inside them. To a degree, this dehumanizes the actions of other drivers and empatheticly isolates events on the road… as if the cars themselves were alive and making the decision to cut you off. This creates a “me against an inhuman world of deadly machines” scenario where fight or flight kicks in, and even though we get angry at the driver, the irrational run up and immediate action behind these emotional outbursts are purely primal.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. Today I wanted to vent about things drivers do that make me want to road rage across three lanes of traffic just to flip them the bird, so I decided to write them all a letter.
There’s something I wanted to talk to you about, and it’s been bothering me for a long time; your driving habits. I’ve always known you sucked at driving, but the other day you and I shared the highway and that is what prompted me to write this letter.
You seem to think it is the job of everyone already on the highway to move so you can merge. Well you’re wrong. It is your job to 1) Look, 2) Plan, and 3) Merge. In fact, I want those signs posted on every on-ramp in the USA, just for people like you. I’m not going to handhold your ass through life and give you the red carpet just because you can’t be bothered to look over your left shoulder. In fact, as you are first getting on the ramp, why not take a good friggen look at traffic and find a hole. Don’t just careen into the lane without looking until the last second, and assume everyone must move out of your way. What really makes me want to perform a postnatal abortion on you is the look you give ME when I’m traveling in the lane, and you pull up right beside me on the ramp and match my speed… inching closer and closer to me. Finally you make the effort to shift at least one eyeball and glance over, then flash this pissed off / horrified look at me, like I’m the asshole for not “letting you in”. Well FUCK YOU bitch, you’ve only survived this long because everyone else has supported your idiotic actions as you drift through life, but not this guy. I hope you overreact and careen off the ramp into the ruff, flip over, and you and your “baby on board” both die in a fiery crash. Why do I want your baby to die too? Because undoubtedly you’ve already failed at raising it and have taught it not to think for itself and demand that everyone else in the world hand-hold it throughout its entire life.
Ok, so maybe I over reacted there. Maybe you did look, and maybe you did plan… but you definitely failed to merge. You are so scared of everything in life, including the accelerator. You’re ideal highway merging scenario involves you entering a highway full of vehicles moving at 65MPH while you are only going 45MPH. Any faster than that, and you’re liable to have a heart attack from all the excitement. So, instead of “risking it”, you come to a complete stop only inches from the highway and wait for the “opportune time” to get on and go from 0 to 45MPH in about 9 hours. Look asshole, all this could have been avoided it you had just gotten up to freeway speed in the first place. The ramp is where you accelerate, not once you’re on the actual highway. Grow a pair would ya?
So there I was, enjoying my drive in the center lane, with my cruise control set to 65MPH. Now that you’ve overcome the challenge of merging, you love nothing more than to run right up behind me and ride about 6 inches off my bumper. The passing lane is completely clear, but your car’s front bumper is so enamored with my car’s rear bumper that you can’t stand to see them apart. Finally, you get pissed off that I’m only speeding 5 miles an hour over the speed limit and you want to pass, but you don’t want these star crossed lovers to part without a kiss, so you run your front bumper as close to my car as possible so they might gently touch and know what it means to be loved. Luckily you’re not just a bad driver, you’re a bad judge of distance too and you miss.
Well now look at you, you’ve made it to “the fast lane”, as you call it. Really though, it is called the passing lane and you’re not supposed to just default to driving in that lane because somehow it is magically faster than all the other lanes… but you don’t care. Now that you’ve taken up residency, you decide to get cozy and finish that book you’ve been reading, do the crossword, txt your friends, and finish that two fisted breakfast bowl you’ve been pecking at all morning. Good thing the lanes are so wide here in America you don’t have to worry about watching the road. You can just feel for the bumpers on the shoulder and listen for honking from me in the center lane to let you know you’re out of bounds.
Ok, the HOV lane is coming up, and I want in… but that means crossing the passing lane, which you’re in. My cruise control has me sitting at a steady 65MPH, but while you’ve been camped out in the passing lane, you’ve been accelerating and decelerating, falling back behind me and surging ahead of me the whole time. Unfortunately you’ve never surged ahead far enough for any one of the 19 vehicles behind you to actually complete a pass and move into the center lane to get around you. Those drivers are angry, as I would be, so they are riding you a bit close. This means I have to cross the lane in front of you, and since I have vehicles in front of me, I must wait for you to once again fall behind me. I see my chance and use my turn signal to indicate I want to change lanes. I should have known that something inside you just can’t handle anything but a clear lane in front of you. As I start to make my move, and you slam your accelerator to the floor and lay on the horn as the front end of your smoke belching shitbox starts taking over the space I’m moving in to. I have to swerve back into the center lane, as you surge ahead of me, and we continue playing this back and forth game for another 3 hours. Finally I make it across into the HOV lane and continue cruising at 65MPH.
Because you only get 3 miles per gallon in your behemoth, you have to stop to get gas and for once I think I’m going to have a peaceful drive. Soon enough though, you’re back… speeding up behind me like you’re in some kind of ma race and have to make up time. You settle in behind me in the HOV lane and start flashing your lights, trying to indicate to me that I need to move into the passing lane. At that moment I wish I had a bumper sticker that read: “The HOV lane is not the passing lane”. Instead of using the passing lane for what it’s intended, you assume that whatever lane is farthest to the left must be the lane “all the fast cars” are in. The passing lane is empty, but you feel that moving in to any lane to the right is an inconceivable offense to your inner Nascar driver… even if that lane is the passing lane.
After much frustration, you finally decide to pass me using the passing lane (something you still feel being forced to do is a personal travesty), but that’s ok because your exit is coming up. That exit happens to be mine as well, so I follow you across the lanes and exit the highway. Now we come to the intersection and we both want to turn right on to the cross street. It turns out this exit has provided people wanting to turn right with their own lane. Traffic crossing in front of us have their own lane, and an entire new lane is created as part of the exit ramp so the large amount of traffic coming off that ramp doesn’t have to wait to turn right. You however, don’t seem to understand this simple concept. When you look ahead of your vehicle, you somehow can’t see that the lane in front of you starts where your vehicle is currently sitting at a dead stop, and all the traffic you are waiting to clear is not actually traveling in the lane you are currently sitting in. All the clever city planning, tax money, work crews, concrete, and asphalt is for naught, because you’re not moving until there are no vehicles coming toward you in the next lane over. Meanwhile, the reason for all that work to build this kind of exit lane is quickly becoming apparent, as other drivers waiting to exit start piling up all the way out on to the highway. Eventually the entire highway starts slowing down because drivers are lined up on the shoulder, and nobody is sure what’s going on so everyone slows down. By the time you’ve caused a full fledged traffic anomaly on an otherwise smooth running highway, the lane next to you clears and you slowly move forward and stay right in the very lane that was specifically designed so you didn’t have to stop in the first place. Nice work jackass.
I think it’s time you turned in your license and took the bus. The road is a dangerous place… simply because you’re on it.