Are you ready for Christmas yet? There are only a few days left you know? Time to hit the streets and get some Christmas shopping done.
Over the weekend I "muscled up" and decided to visit the local mall and get some Christmas shopping done. You know, people are so damn friendly at the malls. They are all smiling and helpful and jolly and having cute things to say to you like: "Hope you are having a great Holiday Season" and "I hope Santa is good to you" and "Merry Christmas to you" and crap like that but you know what I noticed today?
That ends once you get inside your car. That's right. No more Holiday cheer. No more Merry Christmas. Once you are in your car and out on the street it becomes an "every man for himself", "no-holds barred", "get out of my way" automotive full contact roadway cage fight.
Basically, it's enough to drive you crazy.
But it's not just the Baby Boomer and older generations that cause this heightened driving stress on our roads.
- Drivers aged 15-24 represent 13.2% of all drivers and commit 21.2% of all fatal accidents and 27.2% of other accidents.
- Drivers from 25-34 represent 17.4% of all drivers and commit 18.3% of all fatal accidents and 19.8% of other accidents.
- Drivers from 35-44 represent 18.2% of all drivers, but only commit 15.6% of fatal accidents and 17.6% of other accidents.
- Drivers from 45-54 represent 19.9% of all drivers, but only commit 17.3% of fatal accidents and 16.7% of other accidents.
- Drivers from 55-64 represent 15.8% of all drivers, but only commit 12.3% of fatal accidents and 10.4% of other accidents.
- Drivers from 65-74 represent 9.1% of all drivers and only commit 7.3% of fatal accidents and 5.0% of other accidents.
- Drivers over 74 represent only 6.5% of all drivers, but they commit 7.9% of all fatal accidents and 3.3% of other accidents.
See....Baby Boomers are pretty safe drivers.
So what are the "stress builders" we encounter on the roads?
I'm sure you will agree, it doesn't end there.
So, as my first Christmas public service blog, I am going to list my top driving "nuisances" that are putting a damper on my Holiday spirit. Hopefully, everyone in the world will read these and decide to carry their Christmas spirit with them when they get behind the wheels of their cars.
A young Stephen Hawking or maybe an advanced civilization from another planet may have the ability to text and drive, but humans do not. Yet every day we see more and more drivers staring at their smartphones rather than oncoming traffic, mindlessly tapping away instead of mindfully tending to business.
STOP IT !!!
Penalties for texting while driving should be just as severe as those for drunk driving. Every time I see it happening, I wish I owned a paintball gun. I would just open my window, lean out a little and "SPLAT" a huge green or purple mess on their side window. That might get their attention because I know my yelling doesn't.
We are not mind readers on the roads folks. You need to let us know what you are planning on doing, hopefully in plenty of time for us to react.
How many times have you been behind a car that turns with no notice and no signal? You had better be paying attention or you’ll wind up in their trunk or worse. This is just damn inconsiderate and it shows laziness and a lack of accountability on the part of the driver.
I knew a guy back in the Midwest that welded a huge section of jagged railroad track on the front of his truck in preparation for moments like this. If he was going to get cited for rear ending someone who didn't use their turn signal, then he was taking a chunk of their car home with him as a souvenir.
It simply drives me to the edge when I get stuck behind a driver that is on a neighborhood street or in a parking lot and they think the rules of the road can be suspended for a while because they want to stop in the middle of the street to chat with the neighbors or talk over a football game with a friend that they saw at the mall.
Get your ass and your car into a proper parking spot where they belong.
Or they are too damn lazy (and yes, I am going to say it.... overweight) to park in and walk from a regular parking spot that is fifty feet away, so they stop at the curb outside the store to let out the passengers to go shopping................and then they have the audacity to wait for them.
That's a beauty.
Does anyone know the rules for making a left turn at a traffic light anymore?
You’re supposed to pull halfway into the intersection so that you can make your turn and, depending on oncoming traffic, enable drivers behind you to do the same.
Nowadays, people don’t pull into the intersection at all — figuring they’ll wait for the turn arrow on the next cycle, if they’re figuring at all.
What in the hell is wrong with these people?
Don't they they know that having a semi-domesticated, carnivorous mammal that typically has claws, a long, wet snout, an acute sense of smell, and a propensity to bark, howl, and chase anything that moves behind the wheel or for that matter in the front seat is incredibly dangerous?
This behavior is just the epitome of stupidness.
Where in your driver's exam did it say this was OK?
Lose the dog before you hurt somebody.
While left turn idiots are mainly annoying, red light runners are downright dangerous.
In a crazed desire to save a minute or two at a stoplight, they barrel through an intersection, putting their lives and the lives of who knows how many others at grave risk. It’s insanity. The big discount you saw on TV will still be at Target when you get there two minutes later.
Be smart, slow down and be prepared to stop at intersections. As much as you like to joke about it, the yellow light does not mean speed up.
How hard is it to put your vehicle between two white lines or against a curb?
The variety of different kinds of parking rudeness is both aggravating and mind numbing.
There's the parking lot schmuck who leaves their vehicle 45 degrees off parallel.
And many times this involves leaving part of their vehicle resting near or right on the white line, making it almost impossible to get out of your car if you park next to them.
That's why I always drive a used car with big doors. Yeah, that dent in your door...........that was me. If it's too big to park, then it's too big to drive..........trade it in for a Fiat or Smart car.
How about the selfish moron who intentionally takes up two spots so nobody parks too close to and dings their precious new car?
But the worst offender in my book is the person who takes the time to apply for a handicap permit so they can park close to the stores because they are too freaking lazy or fat to walk from the normal parking spots. If you can't walk 50 feet, then you shouldn't be able to drive. Handicap spots are for handicap people with true and honest disabilities. I intentionally go out of my way to question the people I see parked in handicap spots if they don't appear truly handicapped.
The left lane is for driving at least the speed limit. In most cases, that means nine miles over the speed limit. It is used for passing slower-moving vehicles. You don’t drive in the left lane for any other reason.
Get your slow moving ass back into the right lane.
How hard is it to make a turn in your car?
You don't need to swing way out into the next lane just to navigate a turn. If you do then you are either going too fast, the vehicle is too big for you to handle or or you have no idea how to drive a car.
Stay in your lane when you turn....wide turns are only for semis.
Freeways are for high speed traffic. If you don't know how to drive on them then don't use them. You should be at the speed limit by the time you are merging into traffic. Plan ahead as you roll up/down the entry ramp. Look for an opening and for Pete's (Who the heck is Pete anyway? I'll find out for a future blog) sake speed up.
Don't slow down to let cars zoom past thinking you are being polite.
All you are doing is making it harder for everyone else trying to get on or off the freeway.
Oh, by the way, if you see construction or a lane closing ahead, then it's the proper time to begin safe merging procedures. Do not race ahead and merge as the lane ends cutting everyone else off and saving a precious 30 seconds of your time.
If you try a sneaky merging move on me I'll make sure you end up behind me at the very least.
I know, I promised you 10 annoyances and here I am dumping number 11 on you.
So what is so bad about being a "Good Samaritan" especially around Christmas time? Aren't we all supposed to be a little more courteous and considerate during the Holidays?
Well, behind the wheel is a bad place to showcase your over-generous spirit.
- When you have the right of way take it.
- Don’t stop out of the blue to let someone out of a parking lot.
- Don't let everyone through a four way stop before proceeding.
- Don't slow down to make a lane change.
- Don't put your turn signal on two blocks before you are turning.
All you do is confuse everyone around you and set the stage for road rage or an accident.
Hey, being a stupid driver is no way to insure your spot on Santa's "Nice" list. Why not concentrate on helping others in need? Why not take some time to cloth the hungry and feed the poor?
I'm sure you can find better and safer ways to spread your Christmas spirit.
My advice: Drive careful, follow the rules and have a safe and stress-free Holiday Season.
It's easy to tell them about it.
Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.
The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!
Thanks for joining me..........................................................