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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pet Peeves of a Chronic Traveler: California Driver's Edition


After getting back from yet another whirlwind visit to SoCal, and sneaking a peek behind the Orange Curtain to see what my peeps have been up to, I've decided that besides sitting fat & full on the memories I made I should also blog about something that's been bothering me.

The goddamn drivers in this great state of mine.

[Caution: post contains strong language]


People always talk a lot of smack on Californian drivers -- we drive too fast, we're too aggressive on the road, we don't pay attention enough, we're always talking on the phone or texting, etc and so on -- but I've found in my travels that most of the worst drivers I've ever met have been the tramps from places like Indiana, or Michigan, the Texan family with their ginormous motor-home, and even the uber-rich socialites blaring past at over a hundred in some sporty deathtrap.

However, I'm not here to relate specific anecdotes, but provide a "helpful" outline for the rest of you shmucks out there who will be on the road. Hopefully these tips will increase your overall life-expectancy and enjoyment. The road-rage you avoid may even be my own!

1. DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT.


In California, there are two basic laws of speed. There's the posted speed limit, which is a pretty good judge of how fast -- or slow -- you should go, but there's also a second speed limit law, called the "Basic Speed Law" which regulates speed with the flaw of traffic. So, if traffic is going a certain speed, then drivers should adjust their own speed to reflect this, even if it goes above or below the posted limit.

Unfortunately, most people tend to drive really slow or really fast. (Most go slow however.) I tend to go 10 over the limit, because when I'm driving I usually to have someplace to be and can't dick around. But, I've seen many drivers going either 20 below or 20 above. And worse, drivers also don't regulate their speed so they're constantly going from superslow to superfast and which creates unsafe driving conditions.

So for the love of Baby Geebus and his Mama, just drive the speed limit, alright?

2. SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT.


Seriously! Does nobody understand this? I've seen signs posted from Los Angeles to Timbuktu that tell you slower traffic drives on the right side! I mean, do the prevalence of trucks and buses in the right lanes going 55 not tell you that slower traffic should be in the right lanes? (Which in California are called the "slow lane".)

The most annoying thing is to be set on my cruise control at 75 in a 65 zone and see a car lazing about at 50 in the left-most lane and then I have to slow down and swerve around them because they don't understand that the fast lane is for fast drivers!

3. FOG + HIGH-BEAMS = FML.


For those of you people not used to driving in variable climates, then pay attention, because this just might save your life.

DON'T TURN ON YOUR HIGH-BEAMS WHEN THERE'S FOG.

Okay. Whew.

I don't know how people think this is a good idea, because it's so clearly not when all that light suddenly blinds the fuck out of you and everyone else on the road. Your douchebaggery in this situation cannot be understated. You just took a tricky driving situation and made it go horribly wrong. Thanks buddy. You just killed a poor sweet child in the backseat of some family van because you don't know how real life physics work. Gold bloody star.

(And for good measure, don't pump the break when it's raining, or make sudden stops. I've nearly killed a few people with a rear-ender because they didn't realize that rain makes wet roads which make your breaks work less like an invisible rope and more like a banana peel.)

By the way, speaking of lights...

4. TURN OFF YOUR BRIGHTS.


I'm not sure if it's bad vision, fear of driving at night, or some other factor I can't determine, but the vast majority of drivers have their headlights on too high, or are driving with their regular lights on too high. I'm sorry if you're blind as a fucking bat and scared out of your mind that you won't see the road, but I'd like to think the ten million street-lamps would be helpful in seeing where you're going and provide ya with some comfort.

As for me, your bright ass lights are so blinding that I often can't see where I'm going as they reflect off my rear-view mirror and side-mirrors into my poor darkness accustomed eyes. Keep it up and I'll probably see so many spots I won't be able to tell a stop sign from a headlight and send your car over the road to your fiery fucking doom.

So... yeah. Turn that shit down, okay?

5. SIGNAL.




For fuck's sake please! How difficult is it? All you need to do is move your finger TWO INCHES to set the signal alert on, and it helps so much! It really does. Why? Because when you signal, I, the other driver, can understand what you're doing with your car so I can let you do it without accidentally being crashed into by you or someone else while you swerve towards the exit you almost missed and cause a sudden traffic jam. I mean, good goddamn it's the most basic driving technique there is!


The kind of people who don't signal are the same kind of callous inconsiderate people who make the world a shittier place off the road too. For my part, while driving and someone cuts me off because they didn't think to signal, I just want to grab a motherfucking shotgun and blow them to bits like Resident Evil.

Seriously, this is my biggest pet peeve, because it's the simplest thing to do, and the most useful thing too as far as safe driving goes. But somehow, people still get licenses without ever learning how to signal properly. I guess they got it at bumfuck driving school for the suicidal inept.

So remember: signal, fucking signal.


Anyhoo, hopefully these tips to good driving will help and entertain ya'll in the future. Maybe next time on the road you'll actually practice decent driving, and who knows? It could even start a trend that will save the great majority of people who are so bad at it they probably shouldn't ever be allowed behind the wheel of a motor-vehicle.

Cheers

2 footnotes:

Stoner With a Boner said...

Y'know what's interesting is when it hasn't rained for awhile, then there's a good rain. Then half the people drive super slow and the other half driver super fast.

Total Carnage!

Zek J Evets said...

Stoner,

Haha, carnage indeed!