Jan 18, 2006

On Inconsiderate, Inexperienced, And Downright Inept Motorists

Left: One of historymike's pet peeves; photo courtesy of US Census Bureau.

(Toledo, OH) There is something about a snowfall after a period without frozen precipitation that makes the worst drivers seem even more of road hazard. I witnessed more highway stupidity this morning while running some errands than I have seen in the past two weeks.

To the moron who faced me at an intersection in which we were both turning into the same lane: the right of way goes to the person turning right. Pretty simple, isn't it?

To the numerous imbeciles who think that turn signals are optional: not only are they required by law, but they are also a means of protecting your automobile from damage by other vehicles, driven by people who assume that you are not going to make unannounced turns. Use your turn signals!

To the jackasses who seem to believe cell phone calls take precedence over operating a multi-ton machine: Watch the f***ing road, nimrods. Turn off your cell when you are driving, and there will be messages waiting for you when you arrive at your destination (if, that is, on the off chance that the call was important to begin with).

To the simpleton who is the first one at the stoplight, but who invariably nods off when the green arrow lights up: there is a special circle in Hell reserved for you, and I hope that you suffer an eternity of torture watching "Charles in Charge" reruns.


Anonymous said...

What about people who read, put on makeup, or screw around with CDs while driving?

McCaskey said...

Wow, HM, the anger level here is the highest I think I've ever seen from you.

valbee said...

Dear God in Heaven, not the "Charles in Charge Torture!"

Methinks you're gonna get a lot of comments on this particular topic... a lot of agreement. :)

historymike said...

That's only about a 6 on the historymike "Scale of Rail," McCaskey.


Yes, Val, too many drivers fail to take seriously their obligations to the other motorists.

Is it reading too much into bad driving habits to suggest that this is a symptom of the "gimme, gimme" consumerist culture we find ourselves in?

McCaskey said...

The cellphone issue is the one I think is the most valid. It's one thing to make or take a quick, important call and then get off fast. But obviously, people just use them to YAK YAK YAK away, gossiping, chatting, being distracted long-term.

historymike said...

Too many people have those things glued to their heads, McCaskey. I get annoyed when I forget to turn my phone off, because I have to dig in my pocket and take my eyes off the road for a second.

That's all it takes for an accident to occur.

Hooda Thunkit said...

(Imagine this with a whiny voice and with an impatient "attitude...")

But Mike, My Time behind the wheel is BORING, so I talk on the phone to keep myself entertained.

My time is valuable and my calls are IMPORTANT, (to Me)...

Besides, I don't WANT to wait...

Anonymous said...

HM - here's another one for you. Idiots who constantly ride their brakes because they're tailgating. Their brake lights keep flashing on and off, but you never know whether or not they're slowing down to make a turn or to stop, so you have to react along with them. Cab drivers are the worst at this.

historymike said...

Good points, Hooda and anonymous.

There is a selfishness to many of these loons, who seem to believe that their little world comes before that of everyone else.

BrianMaxson said...


As a victim on a daily basis, I truly understand your pain. I'm in my car for a reason. Being held up by you is not one of them.

You call it "tailgating", I call it "drafting". People seem to think they're the only ones on the road. Until they get me behind them.

I have a device that will guarantee success in the future.

A harpoon attached to the front of your car. Instead of the harpoon itself, load up 1/4 length telephone poles. You may have to put the engine in your trunk, but you won't be held up by idiots anymore.

A lot of the time people just space out. Alzsheimers is not an excuse for being a moron behind the wheel. I've seen people reading novels while going 70, I've seen people watching the morning news, I've seen short people that can't even clear the wheel. People not stopping while exiting parking lots, doing 10 while arriving at their parking lot, yanking lanes and not looking, driving 5-10 mph below posted speed limit, I've seen it all.

Altho I no longer endorse nor encourage this behaviour, I once had a sign that said, "Either move it or I'll shove you off the road."

Road Rage isn't what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

I hate tailgaters. When you follow too close to the car in front of you, you’re threatening the car and occupants with violence. The tailgater is telling you, “I’m important, I’m too busy to be bothered with safety. Stop too quickly and I’ll ram you, because you’re in my way and my big hurry is bigger and more important than your safety.”

I have an answer for tailgaters.

Fail to maintain a safe distance from the rear of my car, and you may hear a sharp ticking noise, a little like gravel striking your car. Or not, especially if you’re in a boom car with the stereo turned up. Shortly thereafter other drivers will notice a little steam leaking out of your engine compartment. You probably won’t notice, because you’re too busy taking a few days off the back of your life because I refuse to drive fast enough to suit your lordship and as a result your blood pressure is going up faster than the market price of an IPO in the dot com era. Pretty soon an idiot light on your dashboard will light up, indicating an overheating engine. Assuming you notice, you’ll have to pull off the road. I’m hoping you’re too busy to notice. Still more time passes, then you’ll hear some very expensive noises coming from under your hood. The racket is so loud you’ll hear it over your stereo, or cell phone, or just about anything. Don’t worry, it’ll be gone soon. Just as soon as your engine quits.

The repair man will tell you what happened in detail. Somehow your radiator got punctured and the coolant escaped. Coolant will do that, given half a chance. You should have stopped immediately, had your car towed and gotten the radiator repaired. You didn’t. With no coolant in the radiator, your engine overheated. That was when the hot light went on, the one you were too busy to see. You should have stopped then and avoided damaging your car, but you didn’t. You kept driving and cooked a bearing on the crankshaft which seized up, broke the connecting rod and drove pieces of connecting rod through the block. The piston is now welded to the cylinder, the block is cracked, both intake and exhaust manifolds are warped, the computer may be fried and the wiring harness is toast.

You’re going to need a new engine, at the minimum. The estimated cost is around three grand, but you’ll have to get a specialist to do the work. We don’t handle engine replacements.

You could have been considerate of the safety of those around you. You haven’t been anything close to safe or considerate in a long time, and nothing bad has ever happened to you. That is, until you tailgated someone who has a common BB gun in a coaxial mount in the trunk with a trigger switch in the driver’s seat, just at the right height for a radiator. Start walkin’, fool!

historymike said...

Wow, and McCaskey thought I had some serious venting going on.

Yes, Brian and anonymous, I completely forgot about tailgaters, who are also among my least favorite motorists.

This is a dangerous and completely egotistical behavior that says: "Get the hell out of my way! I am WAY more important than you."

While I can't (publicly, at least) condone such responses, they are creative and suggest that what goes around, indeed, does come around.

Stephanie said...

Do you feel better now?

Yeah, I must agree, turn signals and cell phones are probably two of my biggests driving pet peeves. I also have a big problem with driver's you have their animal in their lap while driving.

"Is it reading too much into bad driving habits to suggest that this is a symptom of the "gimme, gimme" consumerist culture we find ourselves in?"

Either that, or seeing too many car accidents on t.v. where people just walk away without getting hurt or in trouble.

Stephanie said...

As for tailgaters...

I usually just slow down, and if they've got noway to get around me, I slow WAY down. Just five to ten miles below the speed limit and they tend to get the point and back off.

One guy didn't back off, crossed the double yellow line (he was too busy watching my bumper to see the cop car on the side of the road) and got pulled over. I slowed down, giving the cop space, and he gave me a thumbs up as I drove past after they were both *safely* to the side of the road.

As for the BB gun...

My husband always wanted to mount a vulcan autocannon on our vehicles. Never did it, though.

historymike said...

Yes, Stephanie. :-}

A good venting goes a long ways.

Stephanie said...

Good! :-)

Hopefully some of those drivers might get the hint and learn how to manage their life and their vehicle at the same time.


Anonymous said...

I use tailgaiting to intimidate slow drivers in front of me to get out of my way. It is an effective tool in my arsenal on the roadways. People who drive 62 MPH in the left lane deserve what they get.

I also talk on my cell phone a lot on the road. I can drive and talk at the same time. Most people can.

Too many people who are not really equipped with the skills to drive have a drivers license. If you want to reduce accidents, forget cell phones. Make it harder to get a drivers license.


Anonymous said...

To MeMyselfandI - I can understand your reaction to slow drivers in the left lane of a freeway; it is designed to be a passing lane. Of course, if something happens, it will be your fault legally.

However, public highways are for the use of all licensed motorists. The licensing standard is the DMV, not you. Since there are disparate driving capabilities, driving under these circumstances must be cooperative, not competitive. There's no place for Darwinism on the public highway.

If you prefer competitive driving, kindly report to the nearest raceway along with the rest of the beer-swilling, crotch-scratching, wife beater T shirt-wearing, knuckle-dragging, middle finger-hoisting NASCAR types.

Anonymous said...

Ok, maybe I came on a little strong. I was not in a good mood last night. I always try to "not post angry".

I do think that driving and using a cell phone is like anything else. Skilled people can do it and the unskilled are threats to others.

I don't want driving Darwinism. I just think too many people who lack the skills to be a competent motorist.

BTW, I've never been to a race track, don't drink beer (scotch and Canadian Whiskey), only scratch my crotch in private and love my husband/wife. I wear T-shirts when I do yard work, but would never wear one away from home. I have, on occasion, extended my longest digit and I hate NASCAR.


historymike said...

Great posts, all!

I too hope that highlighting lousy drivers might, in some small way, reduce our collective frustration at moronic motorists, or even cause one or two of them to recognize themselves and change.

BrianMaxson said...

OK, let me get this straight.

You are driving under the posted speed limit, on purpose. The audacity to call someone TRYING to drive the posted speed limit an asshole. So while someone TRYING to drive the posted speed limit, you chose to slow down, thinking this will deter the "tailgater" to respond accordingly. So now you're what, 10 mph under the posted speed limit. Ever think about the other cars behind the "tailgater" you're holding up? Of course not, because in your selfish mind, you own the road because you're the lead car and you're "teaching someone a lesson".

I found a solution to the problem. Call the police and report the "slow vehicle" as a DWI. You want to screw with other people because you want to Drive When Idiot, then enjoy the delay.

Stephanie said...


First of all, I wasn't driving UNDER the speed limit UNTIL the guy started riding my a**!

Second of all, I don't own a cell phone, so calling the cops would involve getting off the highway I'm driving on, going out of my way by two to twenty miles to access a phone, and not even have a liscense plate to give them because the guy was BEHIND ME!!!

Now, for you speed-demons...I just (earlier this evening) spent 90 minutes driving to a theater (that's only 50 min.s away) and though I was going too slow for y'all, I wasn't in any of the car accidents, didn't get in any of the ditches and still made it to the theater on time because I PLANNED MY DAY AND TOOK MY TIME!!!

So, call the police. Report me as DWI. I never drink and drive. I don't do drugs. Being pulled over won't bother me. While you're at it...enjoy the high blood pressure and concurrent health problems that go right along with road rage.

Stephanie said...

BTW, speed limits are MAXIMUM not required.

Maybe you should have paid attention in driver's ed.

historymike said...

For the record, though - many states have a law that's something akin to "impeding the flow of traffic."

I had a friend who thought it would be funny on Labor Day in Michigan (we were stupid teenagers) to drive 55 in the left lane of I-75 north of Midland. He created a backup that must have been two miles long.

Our glee, however, changed to dismay when a state trooper pulled him over and wrote him that ticket.

Stephanie said...

Where I live you can be ticketed for going two miles above the speed limit. However, on the interstate, you have to be going below 45 mph in order to be ticketed (in the right lane) and that's only during fair weather conditions.

Now, if I was just doing it to mess around with people, that's one thing. But I don't. I do it, upon occassion, in reaction to another vehicle driving unsafely. I gaurantee you an accident is a much bigger waste of time than having to go a bit slower.

Your being in a hurry shouldn't put me and my children in danger. If it does, yeah, I'm going to have a problem with that and am going to react.

BrianMaxson said...

I apologize for sounding like a jerk, but I hate being behind the wheel of a car.

I could think of 50,000 other thing to do besides drive. Besides putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger until you find the filled chamber, climbing behind the wheel of a car is the most dangerous decision one can make on a daily basis.

I may be perceived as an aggressive driver, but my goal on a daily basis is to get to work and make it home.

With the advent of video games and younger drivers with no grasp on reality, mixed with the dramas of teenage angst, there's no telling anymore when or where that child will turn up to ruin a family's life.

I just want to get in and out of my car the fastest time available. To be victimized by someone that is oblivious to their surroundings and taking a laksadasical jaunt impeding me from my goal is someone worth removing from society.

Besides, most officers will understand if you tell them your new customized tire size affects the calibration of your speedometer. Just a FYI.

Stephanie said...


Thank you, and I'm sorry for reacting so strongly.

I sympathize with your anxiety as I was in accident involving such a driver as you describe. The kid was in too much of a hurry to notice the stop sign directed at him and totalled my van.

I was pregnant with two young children in the car and it took an hour and half before we could leave the scene. That is why, for me, safety comes before rushing. I do NOT want to experience that again!

Plus, their insurance company took two months to pay for the damages (and I will never have only liability EVER again) and it took a letter from my lawyer to get it that "soon." The only bright side is, with the threat of a legal suit against them, they paid out twice what my vehicle was worth.

So, I understand not wanting to be on the road (and perhaps having someone else drive whenever possible would be a good idea), but I don't recommend you throw caution to the wind to accomplish that goal and tail gating can cause accidents.

Stephanie said...

"Besides, most officers will understand if you tell them your new customized tire size affects the calibration of your speedometer. Just a FYI."

I drive a mini-van, with kids, so even when I do speed I've never gotten a ticket.