Markie's Musings

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Conversations with the Driving Impaired

Or as I call them, the “Hard-of-Driving”

I’ve been having conversations with the other drivers on the road. Not directly to them, as they can’t hear me and I don’t hear them. But I feel the need to address the idiocy I see every day as I drive to and from my work. I need to travel about 35 miles each way on busy freeways in Silicon Valley. Although I have a deep appreciation for how little people are aware of the consequences of their activity, it still annoys me when I see stupid behavior. The most obvious is how drivers merge onto the freeway. Exceptionally rare is the use of a signal as they enter the traffic; “Does your mother know how rude you are?” I ask them. “Would you push your way into a line of people without an Excuse me?” That is one of the first things I would teach people if I were a driving instructor. A turn signal is not an announcement: “Oh, hey! I am now turning left!” or “Oh, yeah, I have merged into your lane in front of you!” To me, a signal happens before you wish to make your move, to let others know your intentions. Making a signal AFTER or DURING a maneuver has no purpose other than to prove that you are absent minded or ignorant.

If I were a driving instructor, the first thing I would make my students aware of is the “First Rule of Driving: Never move in front of someone who is traveling faster than you are.” This seems to me to be a no-brainer, yet everyday I am forced to move into another lane when I see this in front of me. Invariably, it is when I am coming up to an on-ramp, and someone has just entered the freeway. Oblivious to the speed of the other drivers, they will blithely move from the right-most lane to the next on the left, into their own blissful place. Most of the time, I will move to the right, where the lane is perfectly clear and the driver who just entered should have stayed until they became used to the increased speed of the freeway compared to the street they just left, but whose speed they still maintained. But as I pass them on the right, I see that they are busy talking on their cell phone, or reading the directions to their destination. So it would be useless, even if they could hear me, to point out that there was no reason for them to leave the lane they entered on, even if they bothered to adjust their speed to the traffic in the lane they were in, whose previous occupants were already busy trying to go around them.


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