I’m hardly a blame-free driver. My wife admits that I’m technically more in control of the car than she is, but I’ve never properly absorbed the rules of the road — especially about who goes first at intersections. Fair enough.
But this column isn’t about me, it’s about you — the other drivers I encounter "out there" in the great American highway diaspora. And here are five dumb things you habitually do on the road:
Failure to move on green lights: I don’t know what you people are doing in your cars (actually, I do know because I can see the cellphones), but you’re curiously oblivious to signals. I have a fair level of patience (actually I don’t, but that’s another story) and have actually sat through whole green light cycles as the driver ahead dithered. This issue is compounded when they wake up at the last minute and make it through the intersection, but leave you stranded as the light goes yellow and then red.
Relentless signaling: Are you ever going to make that turn? I’ve been following you on the highway for 15 minutes, as your car relentlessly signals a right turn that will seemingly never occur. Can’t you hear the annoying noise and see the little arrow blink? What are you doing in there? (OK, I see the cellphone.) Maybe you need a primer on how to use a turn signal.
Gross polluters: I understand that you can’t afford a new car. Times are tight. But there’s really no excuse for spewing out a cloud of dense black smoke as you drive. If the car’s that bad, you should leave it at home and make other arrangements. Especially if you’re going to be ahead of me on the highway. You’re also really doing damage to our poor planet. Gross polluters like your hunk o’ junk are only 10 to 15 percent of the vehicles on the road, but they’re supposedly responsible for more than half of all auto-related smog.
Limbs hanging out of cars: I don’t know why this bugs me so much — it just does, OK? Feet are the worst. Suppose a tractor-trailer passes within inches and takes that leg off at the knee? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It's illegal in Australia, where "a person must not travel in or on a motor vehicle with any part of the person's body outside a window or door of the vehicle, unless the person is the driver of the vehicle and is giving a hand signal." (We still have hand signals?)
Stupid bumper stickers with small type: It’s not my fault I’m riding your bumper to read the insulting prose. If one sticker assails gun control and another supports Ron Paul for President, I should be able to intuit the third one, but that’s still me on your tail, straining to see your other libertarian positions.
This is just scratching the surface. I’m leaving out smugly superior Ferrari drivers speeding near schools, people who park gas cars in EV-only charging spots, numbskulls who take up two spaces in crowded parking lots and huge SUVs wasting my time as they try to squeeze their bulk through tight corners.