Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Driving fear

I live in the Baltimore-Washington corridor home to some of the worst traffic in the nation. Given that I live less than 10 miles from my office and don't have to go anywhere near Northern Virginia I know I should be relieved...but I am not. It seems like everyday I have a close call with someone in a huge hurry, not paying attention or just plain reckless. In the 9 years I've lived here we have replaced a bumper 5 times and it was never our fault. We joke when we get a small scrape in a parking lot, eventually someone will hit us and do enough damage to get it all fixed at once. Its no laughing matter though--it happens with frightening regularity. Thankfully no one has been hurt much---yet.

My top traffic pet peeves (in no particular order):
  1. Not stopping at stop signs. They do not say thinking about stopping, they say STOP and the rest of us would appreciate it if you'd actually do it so we don't have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting you. My three year old knows what it means, if you have a driver's license, you should too.
  2. Not being able to negotiate a round about or traffic circle. Around here there are lots of traffic circles that have been put in to help curb T-bone collisions, problem is a lot of people have no idea what to do. There are two main types those who don't know what to do so they just keep going and don't even look and those who come to a complete stop and wait for all traffic to clear out before thinking of proceeding.
  3. Stopping in the middle of the road is just not cool. This morning the car two in front of me stopped. Yes we were on a side street but I can't think of anything (you didn't look to be in distress) that would have prevented you from pulling over 3 feet to the curb instead of stopping dead in the middle of the street.
  4. Weaving in and out of traffic. Okay, so you got ahead two whole car lengths but you made everyone else in the line of traffic want to hurt you. Really, barely missing bumpers and making people slam on their brakes is just not a good way to start the day.
  5. Talking or texting on the cell phone. Really, the vast majority of people don't drive that well when they are paying attention let alone multi-tasking in rush hour traffic.
  6. The my car is bigger/more expensive so I can do what ever I want. Maybe its just me or where I live but it seems like there is an attitude that bigger and/or more expensive cars should get the right away and the peons should make way for them.
  7. Not reading signs. At our mall all of the entrances have signs that say incoming traffic has the right away and outgoing traffic has stop signs (I know, pesky things). People coming in stop, people going out don't. Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and take my chances.
  8. Parking lot rudeness. Perhaps not as dangerous as doing dumb things on the road but is it really THAT hard to get your car between the lines or put your cart out of the way--I can understand with a small child not putting it back in the corral but leaving it in the middle of a parking space is just plain rude.
  9. Merging, this is the scariest moment of my day, trying to merge from a ramp into traffic. People creep down the ramp not having enough speed to get into traffic and then the people in traffic don't pay attention and allow traffic to merge. If you've got three open lanes to your left, do me a favor and move over a bit.

Okay, I am sure there are more but those are the ones that have frightened me most lately--tell me about them in comments if you'd like.

1 comment:

Tree said...

I echo every single one of these!