Wednesday, May 12, 2010

30 Tiny Truths - 14

14. People in the DC area cannot drive in the elements.

Traffic here is bad. It's really bad. That is a given. But if the sky so much as considers a rain (or God forbid, a snow) shower, suddenly there are 3 car pileups every 100 meters and traffic is backed up for days. And as soon as the precipitation lets up, it's like it never happened. The sun shines and people once again drive like sane human beings who at one time stepped inside a driving school.
I have several theories as to why this is true:

There is something in the air.
That's not humidity, that's the vengeful spirits of slaves who were killed while first building our fair city[ies]. As they drowned in the swampy muck that would eventually become our congested, potholed street system they each shouted out, "One day there will be horseless carriages on these roads, and when that day comes, we will seek our revenge!" And it was so.

There is something in the water.
Decades of lead poisoning and simply existing near the poor deceased Anacostia River and/or Chesapeake Bay has altered our brains in such a way that, whenever we are near moisture we FREAK OUT and cease to be able to make logical choices while operating heavy machinery.

There is something in our demographic makeup.
As a swirling mass of federal cops, Virginians, college-age New Jerseyans, beltway drivers and foreign diplomats, we are the perfect storm for Mass Traffic Hysteria, or MTH as it is known in medical circles.

And then there's the good old-fashioned DC favorite:
It's a conspiracy.
Those damned conservatives/liberals/foreigners/senators/gay people and women are at it again!!!

Any of these could be true. I tend to think all of them are.


jbrinke said...

DC drivers are freeze dried idiots. Just add water.
-Bill Brandwein

B.Graham said...

so true. so painfully, awfully true.

David said...

...then there is the Rush. This is not a band of musicians, as they are in time. It is a band of morons who are never on time. But then you have those who don't really have a time, and perhaps have no destination. They're just in a hurry to get there. What they don't realize is that moisture affects road surface. Then again, morons never were very good at science. D. L. Graham

Anonymous said...

As a foreigner, I always found this one interesting and enormously frustrating when I was in Maryland. Of course, I think that to a large degree it is people like me that cause the problem. DC is just not a homogenous enough area, and by that I mean, very few people, compared to pretty much anywhere but New York, have grown up and lived there all their lives, most have spent some time somewhere else, and most of those places have a distinctive driving style born of what is necessary in that area. For example, in MA, we let the first person at a light take a left turn if they have a blinkah on before we go through, because no roads are wide enough for 2 lanes to pass someone, so all the poor saps behind ol' lefty won't be able to move until the end of the light. That and we aren't as douchy as everyone likes to believe.
BUT on another note - Why do people in Maryland think it is acceptable to hit the brakes on the highway? If you can't slow down fast enough not to hit the person in front of you during normal driving just by using air resistance and occasionally gear shifts, don't you think you might be driving a wee bit erratically? And go the same speed, don't vary more than 5 mph. It's not like there are any hills. God that rant needed to get out.


B.Graham said...

@dandy - Unnecessary braking is one of my greatest irks! (as you can see in my previous post "Traffic Atrocity"