Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Accidental Disclosure

After coming very close today to plowing into a jackass that pulled out in front of me way too late, while I was foolishly zooming down the right-turn only lane assuming everyone going straight or left would continue to do so, I decided that (a) they’re not accidents, they’re mistakes and (b) we should start including the driver’s name(s) and hometowns in the morning traffic reports when these mistakes happen. Perhaps removing the anonymity people enjoy behind the wheel will make them think twice before making a move they fully know is unreasonable and so often prickish.

Today’s delay is courtesy of Tony le Tigre of the 700 block of Narcissist Row in Westchester Hills. Tony decided he needed to be in the right lane when it was already occupied and didn’t feel like waiting his turn. You can reach Tony on his cell at 202-555-PUNK or drop him an email at selfentitledbastard@alwaysgottabefirst.com and thank him personally for providing you with a cardiac workout and some extra driving time this morning.

Our traffic nightmares in the morning and evening rush are partly due to too many vehicles on highways that weren’t meant to support the volume, or that were poorly designed from the outright. But I contend most of our real delays are due to the mistakes that are entirely avoidable if people had respect for the laws of traffic and more importantly the laws of physics, they paid attention and they waited their mothertrucking turn!

I’m not the best driver by any means, and I really try to count to 10 and not react in any vehicular way like following, tailgating, braking, beeping or even flipping off drivers who f’ up. I wish others would follow suit. We all take it personally of course because the behavior is simultaneously selfish and risky. And when there are kids in the car, yours or mine, it’s really hard not to lose it.

There are times when someone is in a legitimate hurry (getting a pregnant woman to the hospital when the contractions are down to five minutes apart, rushing to your child’s school when all you’ve been told is “they’ve been injured”), but most times it’s because the other driver is an ass. When that’s the case, and they cut you off or cause an accident, I can guarantee it’s not the first time they were an ass and it won’t be the last.

So instead of worrying about them myself, or feeling any need to react emotionally, I’d rather just hear about them on the radio or read about them in the paper (list them right after the crime log).

Sorry I was late to work today, boss. Apparently Paris Hyatt couldn’t be bothered with all those distracting lights, signs and signals yet still felt confident enough in her multitasking proficiency to text her boyfriend as she flew through the intersection of Inconsiderate & Brainless. Actually, she only made it into the intersection before colliding with the truck that had the actual right of way. I’ll be sure to send a flowery eCard to wtfwereyouthinking@heynumberone.com when she’s feeling a little better.

I know my rant is harsh but I have very little patience with those who know better and choose to risk the lives of others all for a few seconds or a better place in line. And half the time it’s to get to work. Who wants to be there earlier? Please, after you.


Mike said...

Karma or Irony? Four hours after I posted this, I hit a deer. I saw him as he came into the peripheral view of my headlights (I swear he was trying to ram me!). I hit the clutch, hit the brakes and hit my horn (in that order). I was able to slow but not stop. He rolled but only lost some fur and took off. My front quarterpanel is slightly dented. So accidents do happen. And I'm pretty sure deer don't read my blogs.

dad said...

What were you doing out at 11;10 pm (ten minutes after your curfew) so close to a deer crossing area?

Mike said...

I know, but my provisional license allows me to be in the car late in the evening if I'm coming home from work or a school function. And the jaywalking deer was still in the wrong. The Deer Crossing sign was clearly marked at least a half-mile farther down the road. So if we all follow the traffic laws, there will be fewer "accidents".

Omar said...

well said! I've long said the problems on the roads are poor drivers, poorly trained drivers, distracted drivers -- all of which can be lumped together as "inconsider ate stupid drivers". Most highway safety, beyond understanding how YOUR particular car handles, is just getting how inertia and friction work. That's it.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where understanding science is looked at only a little more highly than having a disfiguring social disease.

I'm convinced that real change won't happen until the automated or semi-automated highways of the future become reality (google for tests down in SoCal in the 1990s, or read about it in a variety of science fiction).