Friday, August 7, 2009

More Traffic Atrocities

Oh traffic jackassery. How accustomed I am to your ways. And it's not just the D.C. metro area either - as I drove through Baltimore City this morning trying to get to work, I felt myself filling with that familiar rage. That rage I feel when I'm faced with drivers who just won't use common sense.

I was going to comment on B's post, when I realized that what I had to say could fill up a post all its own. So (with her gracious permission) I would like to add my own little list of peccadilloes to hers:

1. Stay in your own damn lane. It's happened to all of us. We're driving along the highway, right as rain, when suddenly, traffic slows. We wait it out, wondering what problem we will face farther down the road. A terrible accident? Construction blocking three lanes? Or was it that elusive NOTHING? Ten minutes later, traffic picks up speed again, and with no reasonable explanation present, you're back on your way.

Often, that kind of traffic is the result of people who are just in too much of a hurry to stay in one lane. They see a brief opening in the lane next to them and jump into it, hoping that they'll gain that extra .5 seconds to speed ahead and make it to little Suzie's surgery 2 minutes sooner. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Typically, it means that the people behind the weaving little merger have to brake to let them into the lane. And then the people behind them have to brake. And when enough people spend their entire commute jumping from one lane to the next, trying to find the fastest moving aisle of traffic, enough brakes go on that the entire highway has to slow down. The traffic in the other lanes is going to get there just as quickly as yours is. I promise. Stop weaving please.

2. Don't wait to merge. If you see a sign (usually due to construction) telling you that the left lane is going to be closed in one mile, please, for the love of all things good in this world, don't wait to merge. Now, while traffic is still trucking along, merge (safely) into the right hand lane. Otherwise, everyone gets up to that blinking yellow arrow that tells you to consolidate into one lane, and a big ole line of cars forms as people now have to wait for a break in traffic to scooch into the open lane. And if this happens, I refer back to B's rules for merging: one at a time, folks. But really, you saw it coming. Just don't wait.

3. Don't hate on safe drivers. Okay, this one's not really a traffic rule, it's more a personal plea. I typically drive the speed limit on regular roads. When I'm on the highway, my average speed ranges from 3-7 mph over the speed limit. You might call me a grandma, but I've just found, in my seven years of driving, that this is a safe way to avoid accidents and tickets. If you want to speed, that's your prerogative. Feel free to pass me. But don't tail my bumper. (That just makes me want to slow down more.) Don't sit behind me and throw your hands up in the air so I know you're pissed. And DO NOT give me the finger or a dirty look as you pass me by. I'm the one following the rules here, buddy. If you want to break the law, go for it, but don't give me a hard time for doing what I'm supposed to.

It just makes sense. Traffic doesn't always have to be bad, and so I echo B's wish for good luck as you take to the roads this weekend.


Brett said...

Can I also add/suggest:
Learn how to drive in slightly odd situations?

I have many times encountered traffic or had to slow down due to people who couldn't handle slight irregularities in the road. Irregularities like BRIDGES.

Seriously, nearly every morning, I encounter a buildup on 495 for what appears to be a domino effect from people braking to go over the bridge joint. Come on!

Also, I have more than once got stuck in traffic for 20 minutes on 95 because people were slowing down... to read the "Buckle Your Seatbelts" electronic highway sign.

Capt. said...

YES. THANK YOU. People listen to rule 2 and merge early!

Brett I totally agree. I would also like to mention the general populaces inability to navigate a gentle turn without slowing to a crawl.

Learn to drive well people. The good drivers can not avoid your stupidity and keep you from getting into accidents forever.

Jstone said...

someone flipped you off for going 5ish mph over the speed limit? what an ass. I flip off people who go slower than the speed limit. over cautious drivers cause just as much trouble as reckless ones.

Dennis said...

Rule 3:

If you want to drive slowly, that's fine. I used to drive the speed limit all of the time as a teenager because I could not afford a ticket/insurance hike.

That being said, if you are on an expressway and you are driving any slower than 10-15 over the speed limit, get out of the left lane. Obviously if you need to turn left, that's all good, but please don't sit in that lane for 10 miles before your exit.

I had an 30-40 minutes added onto my trip to Ocean City this weekend because of two people driving the speed limit side by side for 30 miles of the trip on 50. Drove me crazy.