August 1, 2012

Open Letter to Drivers (myself included)

Excerpt from actual police crash report - I am shown as "Unit 2"
So last week I got in a small vehicular accident - Let's start with I am fine, I was decelerating (is that a word?) when it occurred, no real trauma to me or anything, nobody was injured other than vehicle property damage, etc. though it might be a little bit before my car is back to tip-top.

But it made me think about driving a little bit and how horrible most people (myself included) are at driving.  So since then (while cruising in my sweet rental car), I've been observing stupid things that drivers do (every single day) and so I'm asking, for your sake and mine (and our insurance premiums), don't do these things:

  • Think you are a good driver -Let's be honest, you aren't.  Or at least the percentages are against you based on the number of people I see doing all these dumb things.
  • Use your cell phone for things other than talking - texting, getting maps, or dialing numbers manually to make a call all take your eyes off the road.  And most of you (and occasionally me), think that you are watching the road the whole five miles I drove next to you watching you stare at your phone.
  • Follow too closely - This causes all sorts of excessive braking, and at least one rear-impact collision that I pass on my way to work per week
  • Drive too fast - OK, I'm not going to say you have to go "grandma-style" under the speed limit, but on the tollways, I occasionally see people (and I'm especially talking to you, guy-doing-handstands-on-your-crotch-rocket-motorcycle) driving close to 100 and doing really dumb weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Drive too slowly - particularly in the left lane.
  • Ignore where you are going - Changing lanes?  Might want to check the mirrors and blind spot and use your blinker.  Backing up?  How about you look over your shoulder like they taught you in driver's ed?
  • Try to avoid traffic - TONS of traffic problems that I see are from jerks that are trying to zip up and around all the slow traffic and then merge in at the last possible second - causing, guess what, slow traffic.
  • Think you are more important than other drivers - Let's face it.  This is the crux of it all.  Most of the impatience and crazy driving I see is because you, the bad driver, think that you are more important than the other people on the road, and therefore are entitled to get there faster, with less hassle.  You think that you don't deserve the traffic around you and that you are so important that you must get to your (insert here: job, proctology exam, IRS audit, Kenny Chesney concert) quicker than the rest of us, so you do stupid things to get there faster, and you get irritated when your stupid things (or the stupid things that others do) slow you down.  Say it with me: you are not that important.  And where you are going is most likely not going to be enjoyable anyway.  And if you are that late, perhaps it is your fault, procrastinator.  Leave earlier next time.  Priorities.
Anyway, bad drivers of the world, this is just a starting point.  I am sure there are a hundred other stupid things you (and I) do that are stupid, dangerous, and contribute to the overall bad driving and heavy traffic on the planet.  Just stop it.  Give a little room for the car in front of you.  Leave yourself enough room to stop so the bad driver behind you doesn't slam into you when you have to stop suddenly.  Watch the road, not your ongoing game of Angry Birds or Words with Friends where you finally got to play "quinoa" on a triple letter score against your cousin.

Just be better.  And I hope, as a result, you never get listed in an actual police crash report as "Unit 1" or "Unit 2" or "Unit whatever."  Even if it's the OTHER bad driver's fault.


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