Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Most Irritating Driving Move

I've been trying to think of the most irritating driving move. For a time, I thought it was the guy who weaves through traffic under the premise that no one else will change speeds or switch lanes. But that's not it. That kind of person is actually interesting in a way. I imagine he thinks everyone else is an automaton, whereas he is a rebel, a maverick -- someone who stands high enough above the crowd to push everyone out of his way. There's something about that guy I respect. I wouldn't even mind listening to his collection of self-actualization cassettes.

What about the Bloomington woman who yields her rightful turn at a four-way stop because she's a very nice person. No, I know I stopped here before you, but you go ahead. No, you go ahead. I've very nice. Go ahead. Oh, I'm sorry. We both started to go at the same time! You go. Just go ahead. Oh, and maybe you should turn that frown up-side-down! She's in the running.

There's the guy who tailgates, and there's the guy who turns without using his blinker. I'm a little reluctant to throw stones at those guys, because sometimes I drive too close to the car in front of me, and if I'm holding something in one hand, a lot of times it's much easier to make a turn without turning on the blinker, and only later do I realize someone was behind me and had a moment of confusion due to my failure to use a blinker. So I'm inclined to give those guys a pass.

There's the oblivious cell phone driver. Yeah, Dude, I'm totally gonna buy pretzels. I said I'd buy pretzels and that means I'm going to buy pretzels. Don't bring up the Doritos again. I never said I'd bring Doritos. I said I might bring Doritos. Dude, you're pissing me off, and there's some dude in a Rodeo giving me the bird.

As a commuter cyclist, I have to call out the people who drive too close to me when there's no oncoming traffic. If I happen to dodge a pothole or broken glass at the wrong time, there's going to be an ugly collision. I could get bounced backwards off the windshield and go flying in the air, and maybe strike a speed limit sign, which would knock the wind out of me. Then I'd have to fish for my cell phone to call Wendy and tell her to come pick me up because my bike is jammed in someone's wheel well.

Or there's the classic goofball move of speeding up to pass a cyclist and then cutting him off with a right turn. I'd guess that happens to me once a month.

Or there's the person who gets grouchy and honks at me when I roll through a red light, even if it's a red light at a t-intersection where there's no danger to my right, and no reason for me to stop, other than the law. I've dealt with enough guilt and shame as a Mormon without having to fight off the guilt imposed by jealous honkers. But let's forget about cyclists and get back to drivers.

I just thought of a winner. It's the guy who's behind you when you approach a bus or some other slow vehicle, moves out in the left lane and doesn't make it clear whether he's going to pass you or let you pass in front of him. He just kind of hangs out behind and to the left of your rear bumper while you approach the bus. If he zips past you, fine. If he hangs back and lets you pass, fine. But just sitting there, zoned out, thinking about his dog and how much he likes his dog and how much his dog means to him and how much meaning his dog adds to his life, well, I think we have a winner.