Slow Driver Graph

 

We’ve all been behind them. You know who I mean. Those jerks who insist on going 10 under the speed limit. Then traffic starts zooming past you in the other lane, so you can’t even pull out from behind the asshole and pass.

That isn’t what I’m going to talk about today. It’s an annoying situation, for sure. But it’s not inherently unsafe — unless it leads to frustrated people behind said asshole suddenly pulling out into traffic with great bursts of speed while not checking for cross-traffic.

What I’m going to talk about today are driving behaviors that not only make you an asshole, but that are also inherently unsafe for those around you. (Note that shouldn’t have to be said, but that I’ll say anyway: if you aren’t doing any of these, then I’M NOT AIMING THIS AT YOU. If you are, and you get offended, GOOD. Rethink what it is you’re doing, stop doing it, and voila — this is no longer aimed at you. EVERYONE FUCKING WINS.)

 

left turn only

 

Breaking Road Rules For Your Convenience, Part One: Improper Turn Lane Usage

Hey, you. Yes, you. You got in the left turn lane, but then realized you did it too early when you really meant to turn left at the next left turn lane.

If you were less of a self-absorbed asshole, you’d take your fucking lumps, turn left (you know, because you’re in the LEFT TURN LANE), then turn yourself around (either by circling the block or making a legal U-turn or three-point-turn somewhere) and get back to where you wanted to go in the first place. Time lost: a minute or two, at most.

But no, you think you’re actually pretty fucking important. More important than everyone else on the road, for sure. So instead, you suddenly pull right and get back in the straight lane. If you’re thinking at all, you’ll hastily check either your side mirror or your rearview mirror (never both, because that would just TAKE TOO MUCH FUCKING TIME OUT OF YOUR PRECIOUS DAY), and maybe even flash your blinker once or twice before recklessly pulling out in front of the people who are going straight in that lane at the speed limit, and who then have to slam on their brakes in order to keep from colliding with your dumb ass at speed.

Then, maybe, you’ll do the dumbass wave (you know the one, the “Heh, sorry, my bad!” *sheepish grin*) and go on about your business, instantly forgetting the lives you almost fucking ruined. Why? Because you’re fucking selfish, that’s why.

Road rules exist so that everyone is on the same fucking page — at least, in theory. They’re meant to keep us all sharing and using the road safely, so we can hopefully have many years of using the road. Contrary to what you may believe, they don’t merely exist to inconvenience you when you’re late for something.

Here’s my thing: I don’t care what it is you’re doing, or if you’re late for a wedding or a funeral or work or school or your cousin’s baby shower. It’s still not more important than the safety of everyone else on the road. If you’re a minute or two late, maybe it’s embarrassing — but at least it’s not life-threatening. Heedlessly disregarding the rules of the road and fucking pulling out in front of people in unexpected ways because YOU fucked up is a dangerous and assholish thing to do. As my sister likes to say, “It’s not that deep.” Step back and take a look at your life. How many things are that important? Unless you’re rushing a bleeding, dying individual to the emergency room, I’m willing to bet that most things aren’t.

Just fucking own it. Fucking own that you fucked up, correct what you did, and move the fuck on. By simply doing that, you will instantly be making the community in which you drive a better place.

I’ve witnessed this maneuver too many times, both in cars and on motorcycles, to not be absolutely fucking filled with fury and rage every time I see it. Yes, I’m biased. It’s far more likely to seriously injure or kill me or any of my fellow biker friends or family if you do this to someone on a motorcycle than if you do this to someone in a car. Yes, we accept the risks that come with riding motorcycles on the street. We can control ourselves, but we can’t control other traffic on the road. If all of us could play by the rules, I firmly believe we’d all have a better time.

(And if you do this kind of stupid shit when you’re on a motorcycle, you’re not only an asshole, but also a suicidal fuckwit. In any impact match of motorcycle vs. car, car pretty much always wins. I feel no sympathy for you if you hurt yourself doing this, but I do feel sorry for everyone else’s lives your selfish actions are ruining.)

and you have to be more careful if there are bicyclists and bicycle lanes

You also have to be more careful if there are bicyclists and bicycle lanes involved.

 

Breaking Road Rules For Your Convenience, Part Two: Turning From The Straight Lane

The scenario is this: you’re rolling along behind someone in a straight lane. That person makes no indication (through signals or slowing down or even casually drifting to one side of the lane) that s/he wants to do anything other than continue going straight.

Suddenly, that person SLAMS on their fucking brakes and turns from the straight lane. Bonus points if that selfish fuck does it across other straight-lane traffic, such as suddenly turning right from the leftmost straight lane of a multi-lane road.

Just how the fuck is your head wired that you think that’s somehow an OK thing to do? Do you really place that much faith in the driving skills of everyone else around you, that you assume they’re going to notice that you’ve suddenly decided to be a raging asshole and pull this move? More importantly, do you really expect that they’re going to react in enough time to keep from causing a massive pileup? The more vehicles around, the more the danger increases. Big semi trucks may have good brakes, but they’re also exponentially heavier than road cars (especially if they’re fully loaded), and take longer to brake safely.

Seriously, what the FUCK is so important that you think this is a good move to make? It’s another instance where you’re not only endangering your dumb ass, but also endangering the lives of countless others! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?

Don’t do this. Ever. Fucking switch lanes when it’s safe, then turn at the next available opportunity and backtrack to wherever it is that you wanted to go. Is it really that hard? Is it really worth those extra few seconds you’ll gain? Really? You fucking know it isn’t. Just stop.

Oh, and special note if you turn left from the straight lane: now you’re fucking with traffic going in two directions. Two. Just who the fuck do you think you are? Fuck you.

 

Mirrors. Use them. And TURN YOUR HEAD.

Mirrors. Use them. And TURN YOUR HEAD.

 

Oh Officer, I Didn’t See That Car/Bike/Truck/Person/Dog/Thing; It Was In My Blind Spot!

Guess what. Unless you have spine or neck injuries that disallow you from being able to turn your head from side to side, you can clear up most blind spots in any fucking vehicle by SIMPLY MOVING YOUR FUCKING HEAD AROUND AND LOOKING.

Maybe you’re too distracted by your in-dash media control unit, or talking to Siri, or arguing with your significant other, or the food you’re hastily trying to grub on while you’re driving to work. THAT’S NO FUCKING EXCUSE.

This should be a personal rule to determine what constitutes “distracted driving”: if whatever you’re doing either significantly slows or completely eliminates your ability to fucking PAY ABSOLUTE ATTENTION to the road? YOU’RE FUCKING DISTRACTED. SHUT THAT SHIT OFF, PUT THE BURGER DOWN, AND PAY SOME MOTHERFUCKING ATTENTION.

Turn your damn head. Look in ALL your mirrors — not just one. Lean forward and back in your seat when checking your mirrors, as your viewing angle will change and you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of EVERYTHING that is fucking going on around you. EVERYTHING. ISN’T BEING OMNISCIENT FUCKING NICE? FUCKING RIGHT IT IS. DO IT.

Also, if you hit something or someone while backing up, you’re not only an asshole — most of the time, you’ll be held liable by both police and insurance companies*. So don’t think you’re just doing me a fucking favor by turning around and looking. You’re really doing yourself a favor.

 

You could do this to anyone at any given time. Be careful.

Pretend that you could do this to anyone at any given time. Be careful.

THE BOTTOM LINE

I’m confident that a lot of basic problems could be solved if we’d all just remember that driving — WHATEVER WE DRIVE — is a privilege, not a right. Also, whatever you’re driving is potentially a weapon — and a very heavy one, depending on your vehicle of choice. Once you start thinking about it like that, maybe you’ll start thinking about all the harm it can do to other people — and maybe, JUST MAYBE, you’ll drive more carefully and courteously.

Or, you know, just FOLLOW THE FUCKING RULES OF THE FUCKING ROAD. IT’S NOT THAT FUCKING HARD. JUST FUCKING DO IT.

 

* = knowledge borne of personal experience — and no, I wasn’t the one backing

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