Tuesday, April 22, 2008

These People Be Crazy...

Based on the driving skills we’ve seen our fellow Minnesotans exhibit over the last few days, I am seriously lucky that I can sit here and blog right now instead of being holed up in an emergency room somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s the sudden sunshine that has everyone all loopy-loo or if seasonal allergy medication is causing for some impaired judgment issues, but Jeff over at View From The Cloud recently had a post on this very same topic, so something has to be in the air.

This weekend we were almost sideswiped by a woman who didn’t seem to understand that the lane she was in did, indeed, continue past the intersection. We went to cross the intersection after waiting at the red light (and given the amount of time we had to wait there, I have no idea how she did not manage to at least glance in the direction in which she was headed and notice that there were two lanes ahead of her) and suddenly, in the middle of the intersection, there she was, right in the very space that our car was occupying. The road curves at that point, so we knew she had just completely misjudged where her car needed to be if she wanted to end up in the same lane on the other side of the intersection as she had been in before she arrived at the intersection. Hubby honked, but she never even flinched. I wonder if she’ll ever even realize what she did.

Then last night we had a similar experience, thanks to the wonderful freeway interchanges known as clover leaves, or as I like to call them, suicide circles. These interchanges have about 50 feet of road where cars that are both getting on and getting off the freeway have to merge. So basically, you have, like .05 seconds to get on/get off the freeway, at 60 mph, while dodging not only the other people trying to do the same thing but also the people who are already on the freeway who were going 50 mph but are now going 237 mph because they will be seriously inconvenienced if you happen to merge in front of them, all while trying not to get killed. Clover leaves are a ridiculous design but because they’re one of the cheapest types of interchanges to build, we have an abundance of them here.

Anyway, we were on just such an interchange, and happened to hit our 50 feet of straightaway just as a guy in an SUV was trying to get on the freeway we had just gotten off. The guy was somewhat behind us but still about halfway even with us when he started to merge, so my husband sped up to avoid being hit, and at the same time turned on his turn signal to let the guy know that we wanted to come over. You would have thought that we had tried to drive a tank over his SUV instead of maneuvering a VW Bug through traffic with the way he honked at us. What’s funny is that this guy apparently thought we might crash into him (even though HE was the one who came close to hitting us), but when a gargantuan SUV and a VW Bug collide, really, who’s going to win that battle?

In addition to the above, I have seen people SLAM ON THEIR BRAKES and put on their turn signal in the middle of the freeway when they realize that the exit they want is now directly perpendicular to them rather than in front of them. Is it too much to ask that you get off at the next exit in a sensible manner and turn around? I have also seen many, many people doing 40 mph in the fast lane on the freeway (or 20 mph under the speed limit on any given street) because maintaining an appropriate speed while talking on a cell phone is NOT a skill that is well developed here.

I never thought I'd miss Los Angeles traffic, but I would so rather share the road with someone who will take out four lanes of traffic at once before you even know what's happened rather than someone who will come to a screeching halt in the middle of a 60mph highway, turn on their signal, and wait for all the nice people to let them over. Traffic laws are useless without common sense.


Colleen said...

Sounds like you have the best drivers in the world! Those people sound completely oblivious to what's going on around them. I guess that's where your defensive driving skills come in. Be safe & have fun driving with all of the crazy drivers.

Jillian said...

LOL. That sucks.

(I'm in Los Angeles!)

My favorite are the people who stop on freeway on-ramps, signal and hope traffic somehow slows down for them to merge.You'd think they were the only ones on the road!!!

Queen Goob said...

I see you’ve met my mother on your local highways. Next time she turns left into the wrong lane cutting you off and making you slam on your brakes while swerving 90 degrees to avoid a collision, tell her I said “hi” and she needs to call more often.

Mrs. R said...

Colleen: I thought I had seen it all in LA...but people here take stupidity to a whole new level while driving...

Jillian: I forgot about those people!! Oooohhh, they piss me off too. You would think that since other cars are visible when you're driving, that people would realize they're not the only ones on the road.

Queen: LOL!!! That was too funny! Thanks for the laugh. My Dad, God Bless him, is one of those people who will make a beeline for the left lane on the freeway, and then go 10 mph slower than everyone else.