Idiots Shouldn’t Drive

Driving should be an easy thing. You sit in a chair, which is typically comfortable with good cushion to it, maybe leather and even heated. Then, you turn a key, push down the break, and then do one of two things:

1) You pull a little lever behind the steering wheel down until the little light or marker lands on a “D” for Drive

or

2) You pull a lever back that’s down near your right leg, until that light or marker lands on the “D.”

 

From there, driving is cake. You just push down a peddle when you want to go faster, and hit the brake when you want to go slower, and always moving the big wheel in front of you left, or right, if you want to turn. This process makes it sound like it’s too easy to screw up, but I think we all know people find ways to create problems. I’ve had several things happen to me in the last two days, and I share them with you now, listing them as the three biggest problems I feel come when driving on the road today.

 

PROBLEM #1: The Multitaskers

– This problem is deadly, and it’s also everywhere. It often happens when people are running late for an appointment somewhere, or they are in a hurry to get someplace for any reason. This involves those who eat using both hands when they drive, as well as people who are texting. Just to note, texting while driving isn’t that bad, as long as you do it ONLY when the vehicle is not moving. Still, even in this situation, you better pay attention to the light when it switches. I’ve heard stories of people attempting to change their clothes while driving, even as much as swapping pants while going down the freeway. That is crazy dangerous. I really hope you people reading this now are not one of these people.

It can also happen with your a teenage girl who thinks that their exterior beauty is more important than watching for the dangers outside her vehicle. Whatever the case may be, there are times when the multitasker is a great person to have around. They are usually talented with all sorts of things, and can easily tackle a majority of their daily tasks simultaneously. This is because they can delegate their attention span effectively, dealing out just enough attention to each task so that it gets done. No need to give more attention then necessary right? The problem begins when people underestimate the amount of attention required for a given task. In this example, Driving is the most important task, and it is always underestimated.

(Not the actual woman from the story below)

 

Luckily, I’ve found an indirect way to cope with these people, that protects myself, them, and the rest of the drivers on the road effectively, even if only temporarily. It involves a simple act that causes the multitasker to feel somewhat annoyed, or more effectively, embarrassed. In the case of yesterday, it was a middle-aged woman who was pretty much doing exactly what the girl in the photo above was doing, putting on some kind of make-up (I wanna say eye shadow, but I cannot be sure… I don’t really know these things) and talking on the phone just like above. In the other hand though, she held a lit cigarette, and I watched as she puffed away at it in between putting on this make-up with her face in her mirror. As you can see now, this driver is one of many multitaskers, and she needed to be stopped.

I watched as this woman accelerated her car, in the lane to my right, and drove while still talking on the phone and smoking. She then was forced to stop at the red light ahead. She hit the breaks hard as she nearly hit the car in front of her (I guess she didn’t see the light? Must have been looking at her face). – My car came to a halt right beside her, and after seeing the accident that nearly occurred, I decided to try something a friend had once said he wanted to try. We had been having a talk about this very thing in class one day, and he mentioned something along the lines of what I did just then.

Since she was smoking, her window was about half way down. This presented me with an opportunity. As she began to once again put on her make-up, I lowered my passenger window and yelled out to her. “Hey! You missed a spot!” – the woman looked over at me, confused for a second. Then she gave me one of those “Who the hell are you and why are you talking to me” faces. It was all that needed to happen. I don’t know if she was annoyed or embarrassed that somebody have been watching her do what she was doing, but she put down the lip stick. It likely had nothing to do with what I did, but she also ended her phone call at this time as well. With the main distractions out of the way, and her window now rolled all the way up, the woman was fully prepared to accelerate her car forward with the rest of traffic as the light turned green. There was now one more attentive, even if freaked out, driver on the road. Mission accomplished. The way I see it, I’ll likely never see her again, so what do I care if she hates me? :D

 

PROBLEM #2: Abnormally Slow Drivers and The Infamous “Red Light Snoozers.”

– We’ve all seen these ones. These are the people who drive INSANELY SLOW, and almost always take more than 2-3 seconds to respond to the lights when it changes to green. These are the drivers that get us frustrated and angry almost every time we are stuck behind them, and they are almost always either Elderly, or one of the Multitaskers from above. They slow down everyone behind them, and are often a few feet ahead of a honking horn or a revving engine. What I don’t understand though… is why are the elderly going so slowly? It seems like, with less time left, they would be in a hurry to fit in as much activity in a day as possible. Maybe it’s something that a young guy like me could never understand until age takes it’s toll. In that case, I’ll be the first to say “I’m sorry” and metaphorically shove my foot in my mouth.

I understand their motor skills and respone time has slowed down, but I’m not asking them to play dodgeball or anything, I’m just asking them to move their foot from the brake, to the gas pedal in a reasonable amount of time, and to keep the little arrow on their speedometer pointing to the number that corresponds to the current speed limit. This isn’t difficult, in fact… they’ve been driving longer than anybody else. They should know how this works (unless they have alzheimer’s or something… then perhaps they have forgotten how to drive).

It should be noted that I do not hate the elderly, and I rarely would ever pick on them, or poke fun at any condition related to the elderly, unless it was a safe bet that people would laugh at it over getting upset.

If these people cannot drive in an acceptable manner though, there needs to be something done. I’m a big supporter of making senior citizens with a physical condition (which includes sight) being required to re-take a drivers test. I mean, they’ll likely pass it, but if they don’t then they shouldn’t be able to drive. I mean, come on.

Enough with the elderly though… Multitaskers are often the cause of this insanity too. I mean, I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing to multitask when you drive. I’m simply saying that if what you are doing is interfering with your ability to operate the vehicle in a way in which other drivers notice it, or are affected by it… then you need to stop. When the light turns green… hit the damn gas! I got caught at a left turn light for THREE CYCLES today on my lunch break, because the old guy (and I can confirm his gender and age, because I could see through the window of his Buick Lucerne) waited over 4 seconds to respond to the green arrow. We all know those left turn arrows never last long enough as it is, so having him leading the way was a disaster on my work schedule. Again, I’m not asking for people to hurry and hit the gas and blaze through the light like a bat out of hell or anything… I’m just asking that they pay attention, and respond promptly. There are other drivers.

PROBLEM #3: The Idiots

– Ah yes, the idiots. Everybody knows who I’m talking about. These are the people who are not multitasking, and not old. These are the people who are paying attention to everything and care about what is going on, except the part where other drivers can see them. This list includes a variety of people, but it’s essentially comprised of the people who squeal their tires when pulling out of the parking lot, the people who burn out just to do it, the guy who pulls a wheelie on the freeway (or on a crowded stretch of road in the city) and the people who think it’s cool to attempt to RACE the cool looking sports car with their GMC Sierra 2500HD Super Duty Diesel. Seriously dude? Your truck weighs three times what mine does. I don’t care if your engine is 2L larger than mine… it isn’t going anywhere quickly. You just end up looking like a jackass.

 

The diesel truck also thought it would be cool to tailgate me before this. I mean, if he was more than 5 feet away from my bumper when we were going down the street at 40mph, then I’m impressed at how bad my eyes were. I could hear his engine over my radio (and for those who have rode with me before, I play my premium sound system at a reasonably decent volume at times). This guy was very close, and I suppose he didn’t like it very much when I tapped my breaks on him. He must have hit the breaks very hard when he seen my red taillights light up, because he was instantly 3 car-lengths back (which made me much more comfortable). I say he must not have liked it, because he decided it was appropriate to switch lanes quickly and ride up beside me. It wasn’t as if there was a car a head of him preventing him from passing either… he rode next to me on purpose (maybe he wanted to see who I was?).

That wasn’t all though. We reached a red light (this was after I had gotten off work, and was driving home on the city road) and his truck ends up slightly ahead of my car. He revs his engine up, and for whatever reason, thought it would be cool to burn out… right there in traffic. Smoke goes up in the faces of the red Cobalt behind him, and the wind carries it over by me. His truck slowly moves forward while he does it, and when it’s all said and done, the woman in the small car ahead of him had moved forward a few feet to keep the truck from bumping her. His truck was right on her tail still. This guy… was an idiot.

Idiots also include anybody that places a wing on their trashed car. Seriously, you aren’t fooling anybody. Your exhaust pipe is loud as hell, and your car sounds like a gocart. It’s not going to be racing any faster with a shitty little wing on the trunk lid. Also, on that note, turn your radio down… I can hear your entire car rattling apart and it’s louder than the bass.

 

So these are the little stories I have to share today. Driving in Grand Rapids is usually pleasant… unless there is a Multitasker, a Slow-ass, or an Idiot next to you. Then, I hope to hell you are paying attention to what’s really going on… because they won’t be.

Charlie Pryor

Charlie is a media producer, writer, and a traveler. He grew up in Michigan, all of his life and attended Grand Valley State University for a B.S. in Film and Video Production. He's married to a wonderful woman named Hang, and simply hopes to one day turn himself into a man that many will remember long after he's gone.

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