Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yet Another Post About Bad Drivers: It's Cliche, but That Doesn't Make it Any Less True

I can't say that Utah has some kind of corner of the market on bad drivers, because I don't drive out of state enough, but my goodness, I know we have our fare share.  I know because I drive with these people everyday, and I don't think we could handle many more without rivaling third world countries for accidents.

Let me start with the least complained about and move on to the most.  Parking at my University is a joke, and not a very funny one.  I know this is a common complaint, and it's not the parking in and of itself that bothers me (in every life, a little rain must fall).  What drives me crazy are people who park in non-parking spots.  The lines have been repainted a number of times that I am aware of to award maximum occupancy to the lot.  In other words, if you don't park in a painted stall now, you're screwing up traffic in the lot.  I drive something of a beater and am not ashamed to say that there have been times when I've wanted to "lose control" of my vehicle and scrape by one of these offenders, or in lesser moments, walked by, key in hand, and by a power that I can only explain as divine intervention, not scratch the side of their car.  I recognize that finding parking is frustrating, but none of us have a corner on human suffering, let's not act like we do.

Moving on, but not past the parking lot.  I get to school a little early occasionally and do the flight of the vulture.  This flight is taken when you really don't want to park out super far so you drive around the lot over and over, sometimes slowing WAY down to follow someone walking to their car, only to watch them switch backpacks (why do they have two of these?) and walk back into the school.  It's not these people I'm bugged about though, far be it for me to be annoyed by people who can't gesture that they aren't leaving, the people who bug me are those who park in unassigned spots so that they can wait for cars to pull out of stalls down a particular row.  Who are these people?  I have the same issue with them as I do the folks who park in non-stalls: they hold up traffic.  We're all trying to drive around them, in hopes that some magic person will suddenly pull out and we'll get a spot (the way were supposed to do it).  What I've always wanted to do to these people is this:  pull out in front of them, and then back up until my bumper almost meets theirs and wait in front of them.  I think that would be hilarious.

Just two more.  Let's all look at the speed limit sign, it's 35.  I drive on the same road to school everyday, and it's 35.  That isn't terribly fast, and for the most part I leave the house earlier than I need, but occasionally I'm a little late.  Regardless, I plan on driving 35 on that road in order to get to where I need to be on time.  Several people (mostly in trucks) drive 25 on the road.  For a certain stretch I can understand that.  Two cities converge and when they do the limit changes between them, and if you drive the wrong speed in one for a block or two I understand, but you should have noticed the change after that block or two grace period.  In short, you should not be driving 25 when we get to the University.  I've noticed it's trucks a lot.  And this is by no means making a blanket statement about all truck drivers, but I've noticed that many people who own trucks seem to feel some kind of entitlement when it comes to the road, like they are the Big Dinosaurs running around and us Lesser Beings need to just get out of the way because rules and even mediocre driving skills are below them.  I have a lot of family who own trucks, and for the most part they don't seem to be these people, so let me just say again that it is not ALL of the truck drivers, I'm just saying a good percentage of truck drivers fall into this category.

Last, but certainly not least, roundabouts... what the hell people?  Roundabouts are not that tough.  For starters, we'd remove half of the problems if we'd remember something we learned in driver's ed: when your car is going to change direction, use your blinker.  If I'm going into the roundabout, but plan on turning right immediately, my right blinker should be on, so the person getting in knows it's safe.  If I'm not turning right immediately (this means going straight too), my left blinker should be on, so that people know that I'm not in la-la land and am entering the roundabout, until I am past those who need to see that I'm staying in, and then I should put my right blinker on to signal my leaving.  None of this is rocket science.  Now, near my college there is a roundabout with two lanes.  I know this is confusing, but let's try to figure it out.  If you are turning right immediately, and only if you are turning right immediately, start off in the outside lane, no one cares if you get in and get out because you're not in any one's way.  If you are doing anything else, you should be starting in the inside lane, and should not leave said lane until you are past the turn just before yours, and you should be using your blinker so the person in that lane knows what you're doing, then merge into the outside lane and leave.  Every time I drive in this round about I think of driver's ed and echo the words of Sheldon Cooper, "Yet another child left behind."  Things are so bad that I am forced to drive poorly in this roundabout so that I'm not driving in the inside lane all day long.  If you get on the inside when it is busy, either plan to be an ass by butting in to the outside, or get ready to get motion sickness from driving in a circle over and over.

I hope this wasn't too much of a downer, but I drove around the parking lot for about thirty minutes, nearly escaping the loss of paint about three times, and this was after I was late because people didn't know the speed limit.  I bypassed the round about, which is good because my head may have exploded if I hadn't...

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