Today let’s talk about driving. There are two rules of driving:
1) Never make another driver use their brakes.
2) See Rule #1.
That’s it! Those are the only rules! You might think people could remember so few rules. Well, you might be thinking something very wrong.
I really don’t care what the heck another driver does, as long as I don’t have to brake. Texting and driving? Rock. Open bottle of Jack Daniels in your lap? Nice one. Barrel-rolls on the freeway? Knock yourself out. I suppose I should mind when you actually injure a pedestrian. As a human, yes, I find it a bit troubling that you have chosen to use a non-gun as a lethal weapon. But as a driver on the road, meh, just keep the blood off my windshield.
When it comes to driving, I’m more libertarian than Ayn Rand. That whole DMV manual? Balderdash! Traffic school? Please. I mean, no thank you. Well, you might have to learn a thing or two just to keep up with the rest of us who actually bothered to read it. It covers little minutiae like reading signs and signaling and watching for other cars. But hey, maybe you’re one of these geniuses who gets these things by instinct. That’s awesome, just make sure you don’t instinctually ram your bumper into mine.
The minute I have to brake because of your behavior, there’s a problem. But wait, you say. Don’t you have to brake at red lights and stop signs anyway? Right, but then we’re braking because of the light or stop sign. Not because of your erratic behavior.
How erratic? Let me assure you that over 50% of drivers are absolutely peachy-fine at driving. That’s why I’m writing this in the “populism” column – I’m speaking for the 51%+ of us here. What a beautiful moment in Scandal when everyone’s favorite ex-spy, Huck, told Quinn to make sure she used her directional signal on a tailing job – “otherwise you call attention to yourself.” Thank you, Huck, thank you. We are a silent majority, us good drivers. Our percentage is WAY higher than the amount of good-looking people in the world as measured by Jerry Seinfeld (10%) or even his friend Elaine (25%). A majority of drivers maintain a very reasonable pace on city streets – about 25mph on one-lane roads, roughly 35mph when appropriate. The vast majority of freeway drivers go at least 60mph.
Now, there are some other minorities I’m not wild about, but that’s not what this is about. Which ones? Well, I’m not crazy about Mr. Slowpoke, especially on a one-lane road where I can’t get around him. If you’re going to look for a parking place, can you at least let me get around you first? I would do that for you. Not sure where your friend’s house is? Couldn’t google map it before you left the house? If you’re gonna live in the 20th century, can we at least agree that the 21st century should have a passing lane on your left?
No, not wild about that guy. But there are people far worse than him roaming about. For example, the lady at a 4-way stop who follows the car in front of her – follows it immediately! Uh, excuse me, are you guys part of a funeral train? Journeying together to the hospital to see your sister give birth? Is it too much to ask the leader to pull over in the next half-block and wait for your ass? I was about to exert my normal right-of-way, and I had to brake for your ass. Makes me want to carry a paintball gun under my seat and write “LEARN TO DRIVE” on the side of your vehicle.
Everyone needs at least one credo that rhymes. Makes life easier…to remember. Mine is “On the freeway, give ’em leeway.” When we’re all out there doing 70, the standard cut-off actually doesn’t bother me all that much. Half the time, that person just moves into the next lane anyway. What drives me (ha ha) up the wall is a person who cuts me off by simply drifting into my lane without any noticeable change in speed. Hey I’m not saying you have to put your gratitude-hand up every time you make a move, but try not to act like you’re the only person on the freeway and thus, for you, changing lanes at a casual drift of 45mph is no big deal. Jellyfish-brain.
How about the guy who pulls away from a curbed parking spot and into my lane as I’m humming along at normal (25mph) speed? Now, there are degrees of wrong on this one. Let’s say there are about ten cars in front of me and ten behind me – but I’m chilling about fifty feet behind the car in front of me. At that point, when you pull out in front of me, you’re still a dick, but you may have had very little choice – maybe no one was ever going to let you in. At that point you get partial credit amongst us, us being the majority (did I make this clear?) of good drivers. On the other and much more common hand, what if there’s absolutely no one visible in back of me except perhaps Shane riding a horse way off (and away from us) in the distance? In other words, after starting your ignition, checking your seatbelt and mirrors, and everything else, all you had to do was wait three more seconds for me to pass you. Yeah, that puts you on top of a pedestal made entirely of crusty douchebags. Anytime any of you pedestal people want to join us in the good majority, we’d be happy to have you.
Bottom line: driving has two rules. And the second one doesn’t count. So listen up, people who change into my lane when we’re both in left-turn-only lanes, people who turn right on their red while making me slow down on my green, people who approach stop signs barreling at about 50mph only to slam on their brakes after the white line (while I’m part of non-stopping cross-traffic), people who don’t know (or don’t care) that downhill-driving cars yield to uphill-driving cars in cramped situations…all of these people need a lesson. A seven-word lesson. Is that really asking so very much? (No, that last sentence wasn’t the lesson. Nor that one.) “Never make another driver use their brakes.”