Stop Driving Like an Idiot

I think this is a good one to open with. It’s a very broad topic, however, and I’m sure I’ll touch on it in more detail in future posts.
One thing to remember, as far as driving is concerned, is that getting to your destination alive is really almost as important as getting there on time. Really. Speeding excessively and swerving in and out of traffic won’t get you there any sooner if you flip your car on the way. You may be doing the other drivers a favor, though, by permanently removing yourself from the planet when you crash and die. The big problem, however, is that you’re also risking other peoples’ lives by driving recklessly. I don’t think it’s fair that I need to risk my life every morning on my drive to work because someone else doesn’t value his own life or anyone else’s.  If these people want to off themselves, that’s fine, but they don’t need to be risking the lives of total strangers in doing so.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1902-1932) is credited with saying, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”  I’ve always loved this phrase, which stands for both personal freedom and personal responsibility. Mess up your own life, not everyone else’s. And I don’t want to hear any excuses. If you’re late to work, suck it up and wake up earlier next time. If you’ve got a genuine medical emergency, call 9-1-1* and wait for the ambulance. They’ll be able to take care of you on the way to the hospital, so you’ll be getting treatment sooner than if you just drive on your own.

 At the same time, there is a balance. Some of us really do want to drive a reasonable speed. If you can’t do at least the speed limit, you really have no business driving.  If you’re too scared to make a left turn when there’s a break in oncoming traffic, you have no business driving.
If you can’t do the minimum speed limit on the highway, you’re really no safer than the people who go too fast. Keeping up with the flow of traffic is the key. If you notice everyone around you is either going much faster or much slower than you, it means you’re doing it wrong.  Speed up or slow down accordingly, and you’ll be doing your part to make driving just a little more bearable. It’ll cut down on both road rage and traffic deaths.
Speaking of which, if some idiot has failed to follow my advice and crashed his sports car full-speed into an 18-wheeler, do not slow down to watch as they pull his mangled corpse out of the wreckage. It means the rest of us will have to sit and wait for you to gawk. Mankind is inherently greedy. We have the urge to rubberneck even though it’s at the expense of all of those hundreds of drivers behind us. We don’t care about that, though, because we’re so greedy and self-centered.

In the “driving” category, there’s one thing worse than rubberneckers: people who drive in the emergency lanes during heavy traffic to cut off everyone in front of them. That’s cheating at life and it’s inexcusable. Nothing about driving makes me angrier. If nobody did this, there wouldn’t be traffic jams.  If you do this regularly, then you are a pathetic excuse for a human being and you need to cut your driver’s license into pieces right now (if you even have one). I’m not even kidding.

Let someone in. Not everyone, but when you’re passing an on ramp in heavy traffic, let one person in. If everyone did this, everyone would get where they’re going faster. Don’t be too nice, but don’t be too mean. Just be a decent human being and we’ll all get to our destinations alive and in a reasonable amount of time.

Don’t read while you’re driving. Don’t send text messages while you’re driving. Don’t do your makeup while you’re driving. Don’t shave while you’re driving. Make your kids stay seated while you’re driving. Wear your seatbelt while you’re driving.

Just remember: you don’t deserve to drive. So don’t take it for granted, and do it right.

*Don’t tell me you don’t have a cellphone, because I know you do. I’ve seen you talking on your Bluetooth in the grocery store. I just want to slap you when I see you doing that, you pretentious jerk. Hold the phone to your head like the rest of us, so we know you’re not trying to talk to us.


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