Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Road Tolerance

Here's something that I've been thinking of posting but never seem to get around to because it doesn't have (much) to do with politics.

It is, however, one thing that enrages me at least as much as Lefist politics. It shows the sheer stupidity, self-centeredness and uncaring attitude that is ruining this country. It sums all that up in a real-life setting that is our roadways. I'll write about the rules of the road here in Minnesota, but it probably applies to where you live, too.

I keep hearing people say that nobody obeys the speed limit anymore. I agree. However, what these people usually mean is that people are supposedly flying down the highway at excessive speeds. In reality, what I seem to run into more than speeders, are people who are going well under the speed limit.

I don’t speed very much. If I’m in a big hurry, I might go 5 MPH or so over the speed limit, so it’s not as if I’m trying out for the NASCAR circuit out there.

But time and time again, I run into people who are driving in the left lane at speeds well under the posted limit. I’ve also been behind a lot of truck drivers, who are cruising in the left lane, doing 10 MPH under the posted speed limit. It used to be that you could at least trust the truck-drivers to do the right thing.

These people don’t seem to know or care that the left lane on any two-lane road is for passing. It’s actually the law, though I doubt that it’s ever enforced. I also doubt that the vast majority of people who are on our roads know that it’s the law.

Here’s a simple rule: if another vehicle is coming up behind your vehicle and you’re in the left lane, get the hell out of the way!!! How hard is that? If you’re too frightened to change lanes, you shouldn’t be on the road to begin with! If you won’t go into the right lane because you’re afraid of merging traffic, you shouldn’t have a license!

But apparently our Legislators here in Minnesota heard our call, because they responded by posting signs that say "Slower traffic move right" every 50 miles or so along major Interstate highways. Yeah, that'll help.

The preceding paragraphs should be written in the same 13 languages that the welfare office uses for its forms and also printed in large type so that the elderly can read it.

And if I am in the right lane and doing the speed limit, get off my ass. I'm obeying the law and if you have a problem with that, the left lane is for passing (see above).

Usually when this happens and the car finally gets around me, it's some twenty-something-going on-thirteen-year-old girl who's pissed at the world because she's been convinced that she's a victim and therefore has to prove to the world that she's just as tough as the guys.

There's usually a sticker in the back window that says "Bad-Ass Girlz Drive Bad-Ass Toyz". The "toy" in question is usually some dented little piece of tin that's worth maybe $1000. Yeah. Bad-ass. Put it on a GTO and I'll be impressed.

Some day I'm just going to hit the brakes and she can buy me a new truck. I'll take my driving skills and the survivability of my SUV over her skills and Dodge Neon any day.


If you’re mystified about who goes first when there’s a tie at a stop sign (hint: it’s the vehicle to the right), get off of my road. You're too stupid to drive.

Left and right turn lanes are not just to get you out of the main roadway, they are also a lane to allow you time to slow your vehicle down. If your vehicle can’t stop before the stoplight in the distance allotted by the turn lane, you should either fix it or junk it.

I understand that there are times when the turn lane is full of cars, but I’ve seen thousands of people do this when the turn lane is three blocks long and there isn’t one car in it. Move into the turn lane and then hit the brakes!

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen people: a) step on the brake, b) move over into the turn lane and then c) turn on their blinker. Here’s another hint: your blinkers are to let people know what you are about to do! They don’t do much good if you’re already in the turn lane and then you turn them on!

But, of course, people do the exact opposite of what they're supposed to do. The correct sequence would be: a) turn on your blinker, b) move into the turn lane and c) hit the brakes. When you do it the other way, you're slowing down all of the traffic behind you.

I'm convinced that people just never actually think about what they're doing while they're driving. These people are in control of 3,000 pounds of fast-moving steel, but they can't be bothered to actually think about what they're doing.

And that includes exit ramps. There’s a particular exit ramp on my way home from work that has to be at least a quarter-mile long. Every day I get behind people who step on their brakes before they go into this exit lane. They could coast to a stop before they came to the lights! Why are they hitting the brakes and slowing everybody down before they get off the highway?

Which brings me to blinkers. How lazy do you have to be to not “feel” like sticking out a finger to turn your blinker on? Is it really just too much effort? Whether making a turn, changing lanes or exiting a highway, it’s really not that hard to stick a finger out and flip your blinker on. If it’s too much effort for you, then you should get off the road, go home and get some rest

And, again, it’s the law. According to the statutes, you’re supposed to signal at least 100’ before any turn.

Unless, of course, you’re on a cell phone and it’s plastered to your left ear. Then you have no fingers available to turn your blinker on; or to drive, for that matter.

Cell phones need to be banned from automobiles. Period. Quite frankly, from what I’ve seen, I’d rather share the road with a drunk. Most of these people who are babbling on their phones aren’t the best drivers to begin with. The law doesn’t let you watch a movie or play video games while you’re driving, why should you be able to talk on the phone?

I’m no technophobe. I have a degree in computer programming. I love new technology. But when I used my cell phone while I was driving, I realized that I would go blocks without really noticing what I was doing. Once I realized that, I wouldn’t even answer the thing unless I had a place to pull over.

I was watching a documentary about the German Autobahn on the History channel last night. They showed a guy doing 212 MPH in the left lane and not once did he have to slow down because some moron was doing 40 MPH in the left lane.

It occurred to me that we could never do that in this country because too many people here are too selfish and uncaring to follow the rules of the road. They feel that they are entitled to do whatever they feel like doing, and who cares if they're interfering with other people's lives?

Does that sound familiar? If it feels good, do it. Rules are Ok unless I don't feel like obeying them; then they're oppressive. I don't care if my actions get in your way because I should be able to do whatever I want to.

Anyone out there care to do a study of the voting patterns of people who are doing all of the above? Judging by bumper-stickers alone, I think I already know the answer.

- The Exile


  1. I HAVE A GTO! '73.

    You know what drives me crazy? People who stand in line at McDonalds and stare at the menu. Like it ever changes. I think these people must be the same with every decision that they make in their lives. Just staring at the list of options, just thinking about what they might want, just whiling away the minutes while hungry people stare at the back of their heads.

    Drives me crazy. But then, again, these are the same people, probably, who are blissfully unaware of the posted speed limits, or the State Trooper parked by the side of the highway.

  2. >>I HAVE A GTO! '73.>>

    I Love You. Marry me! I'll drive!

  3. My theory about the McDonald's menu is that they keep hoping for the McLobster Thermidor extra value meal to show up.