Pet Peeve: Crazy Drivers!

It’s not women over 50 who are the worst drivers; it’s the drivers who are totally unaware of their surroundings and other drivers, regardless of age, who are most dangerous on the road.  These people are, plain and simple, clueless and self-centered, and will most probably find themselves in an accident sometime soon.

I didn’t used to be so sensitive to crazy driving.  Maybe it came with age, or maybe it came after two years driving a major interstate 70 miles an hour, 70 miles back and forth for work.  After two years, I noticed I was becoming an edgy defensive driver, so I began to look more closely at the drivers and situations that prompted the most defensive of my driving responses, and this is what I discovered.

There are all types of crazy drivers out there.  The worst of the worst drivers were those who:  drive from behind; drive with excessive speed; talk or text on cell phones; change stations or otherwise fool with the dashboard; and fall asleep or become incapacitated at the wheel;  generally speaking in that order. 

Driving from behind and speeding more than 10 miles over the limit are by far, in my opinion and experience, the most dangerous situations, as it happens often, and often go hand in hand.  Driving from behind involves a driver who is more concerned with what is going on behind them rather than paying attention to what is going on in front of them.  They slow down and speed up for no apparent reason other than to deliberately obstruct traffic and annoy the driver behind them.  When I first noticed this unique behavior, I thought drivers were responding to tailgaters, but I noticed they’d slow down to allow someone to tailgate them just to piss them off (or at least I thought that was the intention).  It was a type of passive road rage. What’s that about?  Often in response, the person behind would quickly change lanes and speed up to pass, ignoring the rest of us and their surroundings, instigating other driving dangers.

Speeders are almost as bad, especially when they tailgate as a plea for you to get out of their way.  I’m always surprised to find someone tailgating me, because I keep pace with traffic.  I will pull over to let tailgaters pass, but sometimes that is not possible.

One time, there was a car in front and to the side of me, so I could not get out of the way; you may have been in that situation. The speeder was relentlessly tailgating, as if he couldn’t see past his own dashboard; talk about crazy!  I became angry at the driver in front of me, and I began to inch my way forward.  After a mile or so of that, I came to my senses and realized it was the typical domino effect.  It wasn’t the fault of the guy in front of me – he was in the same situation.  So, I took a few deep breaths after I said a few choice words about the guy behind me, kept a safe distance, and just waited it out.  I’m sure that aggravated the guy behind me, which brought me some satisfaction as well as a bit of concern, because that could have gotten way out-of-hand.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen more and more truck drivers engaging in this kind of behavior as well; now that is scary.  And that is not all.

I once saw a driver who suddenly slowed down to take a cell phone call or text a message.  And there were others too!  That’s right, they go from 70 mph to 50 in a heartbeat, sending the rest of us scrambling to find a safe spot and speed to get out of their way.  Add trucks to the mix, which is often the case on interstates, and it can get ugly fast..  Maybe these are the same drivers who divert their attention from the road to their dashboard, and who swerve onto the shoulder and back onto the highway at break neck speed.  In my experience, this more often involved trucks than passenger vehicles. 

One morning, I saw a truck driver swerving back and forth, and I decided to pass him on his port side swerve.  As I passed, I noticed he was nodding at the wheel.  I quickly sped up to get past the danger and, yes, pulled out my cell phone and called the highway police; it was necessary in this case.  He was either falling asleep at the wheel or suffering from a health-related issue, and was a danger to himself and everyone near him. I honked my horn to get his attention, but I don’t know if that worked.

Of course, there were other times I should have called the highway patrol; when I saw drivers smoking something other than a cigarette.  Ninety percent of the time they’d be in the right lane, driving slower than mainstream traffic.  Sometimes they’d look over with that look on their face as I passed.  You know that look!

As you can probably discern from this rant, one of my pet peeves in life is dealing with irresponsible drivers.  I only noticed how much worse it had become out there on the roads when I started a daily traverse on an interstate for work.  These drivers are selfish, self-centered, and dangerous.  Probability is not on their side, which means if they keep driving in this manner, they will have an accident and could kill themselves and others.  I’m hoping if you are one of these drivers, any driver for that matter who reads this blog, you will become a more aware and safer driver.   

By the way, most of those crazy drivers I encountered on the interstate were men.

Believe in yourself, and thanks for ‘listening’.

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