Saturday, December 02, 2006
Driving Me Crazy!!
When I moved to New Jersey 10 years ago (holy crap, has it been 10 years?), I had to get a new driver's license. I was moving from New York so I figured all I'd need is a pen to sign the papers. No, I had to take the written test. Right there and then. And I failed. Twice. Humiliating, to be sure. I mean, all the missus had to do was smile and say her name. She was still in the system.
The written test was harder that I thought it would be. Here's a sample. Yeah, there's the basics but there's stuff on there that only a 17-year old new driver should have to know. How far should I park from a hydrant? When the curb isn't yellow, I'll park. Who cares how many feet it is?
I've been hit by a bus. I fell asleep and crashed into a telephone pole. I've done property damage. I hit a fire hydrant. The night that I got my first photo license, I got hit by my friend Craig Jacobs. Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm the last person who should be critiquing other drivers. But despite my shortfalls, I'm still a better driver than most of the people out there. I'm a genius driver. I must be because the people with whom I share the road can't seem to grasp the simplest of tasks.
This isn't only a New Jersey phenomenon (although we do have the stupidest drivers). I was just in a van for 25 hours driving to and from North Carolina and saw my share of morons. But maybe I should lighten up. I'm not perfect. I can see how people can screw up.
The turn signal. This is a pretty hard thing to master. It has one function: to tell people where you're going. And because you're not the only one on the road, it helps avoid accidents. You're basically saying, "excuse me 1974 Pinto, but I'm planning on coming into your lane." But extending the left pinkie out a tad and using this lever is apparently too hard for many people. Are they busy doing something else? Certainly not putting on their seat belt.
The seat belt. Yeah, this is another toughie. I don't know why I care about this one. It doesn't effect me at all. But the excuses I hear for not wearing one are pretty lame. One person I know won't wear one in case he drives into a lake. He's read about people who can't escape because the seat belt jammed. Put it on. You'll forget it's even there. And you won't end up with a face full of glass.
The cigarette butt. I had a more valid complaint when car makers stopped putting ashtrays in cars. I love zooming down the road and seeing a still-burning cigarette flying at my car. It's not a safety thing. I know my car isn't going to explode. But you have a number of other places to store your butt. Why are you flinging it out on the road? Do you fling other garbage out on the road? Yeah, you probably do. My favorite excuse was from someone who said they didn't use the ashtray because it smelled up the car. Huh.
The speed limit. I drive too fast. I admit it. And I can't be angry at someone who is obeying the speed limit. But on highways, there are special lanes for you. Move out of the way for the people who want to break some laws. Because you're not G-d, you don't get to regulate traffic by driving 65 in the fast lane. If anything, you're causing road rage. I have a friend who's philosophy is that people should leave themselves plenty of time to get where they're going so they won't have to speed. Fine. Stick to your standards from the slow part of the highway.
Have you ever been a passenger in a car with a slow driver? Maddening, right?
And don't get me started on pedestrians. Man, some of you out there walk the same way you drive. And you're fucking killing me.
Posted by Michael Liebowitz