Pin It There are two vehicles I don't like to be anywhere close to on the interstate: logging trucks and the Batesville Casket Company eighteen-wheeler. I was done with logging trucks after the first installment of Final Destination, and there's just something Twilight Zone about sharing road space with a really big truck advertising for caskets. And I see them all.the.freaking.time here lately. It's creeping me out, even with their utra nice "Please Drive Safely. Heaven Can Wait," message plastered across their big metal side.
I guess that's why I got to thinking about all of my driving peeves on the way back from Knoxville yesterday, and trying to find humor in them rather than getting all riled up by them. I have a fair number of them, which is pretty comical, because I'm not the world's best driver. Maybe the world's most mediocre driver. I drive too fast, according to people who drive too slow. And I drive too fast.
But anyway. I take full responsibility for my faults--and my tickets. And believe me, I've never gotten out of one yet. I'm not a sweet talker.
The Pull-Out and Crawl
You know the one. You're cruising along, minding your own B, and out they pull. You see them coming, and stomp on the brakes. Everything in your passenger seat and all of your backseat passengers are flung forward helplessly toward the dash, then yanked to safety by the harsh grip of seatbelts. You sigh, and wait for the puller-outer to get up to the proper speed, which should be somewhere around 45. Three minutes later, he's still going...30. You check the road behind you for the long stream of traffic you're sure is there--maybe he just had to make a break for it and chose then to do so. Nope. Clear as day. Really. He could've waited to pull out, make you slam on your brakes, and then CRAWL. @#$%*!
Left Lane Creepers
Did you realize that there actually signs on most highways that say "Slower Traffic Keep Right"? Signs everywhere except Virginia, I think. That's because Virginia is for Lovers, and not drivers. But really--just in case you missed this question in driver's ed--the left lane is traditionally for passing, not cruising. It's for those people that want to drive faster than the traffic in the right hand lane. This is probably one of The Most Aggravating things for me as far as interstate driving. When you see someone coming up behind you in the left-hand lane, and they are going considerably faster than you are, get over and let them pass you, then, if you must, get back in the left lane. This is not difficult.
It's not a question of, well, the speed limit is 65, and that young man looks like he's going 80, and I think I should slow him down a step. That's not anyone else's call but the state trooper's. If you see someone behaving really irresponsibly, call highway patrol (I've actually done this before), but don't react offensively--just get out of the way.
Side-by-Siders and Up-the-Butts
There are then the people who don't really want to pass you; they just want to either drive right beside you, or right on your butt. Now, some measure of close driving is unavoidable on the interstate. There are some busy interstates out there and it's hard to get away from people. But as a rule, it's not necessary to hold door handles or kiss bumpers.
I'm a ten-to-fifteen over, so it really makes my back teeth clench--painfully--when someone wants to go fifteen under. Anywhere. And I try to be polite about it, I really do. I figure if I have the right (even though I really don't--I'm going to get a ticket) to speed, other people have the right to not speed. It just irritates me. It irritates me because I'm going to be late. Can't people just go the speed limit so they don't make other people late? Please? But then of course there's that perfectly obnoxious, perfectly TRUE statement that's been going around in my head lately: if you're not early, you're late. Blah, blah, blah. I think God's trying to tell me something.
I'm saved one of my favorites for last.
Sorry--there's a lot rolled into this one. This is the person that rides your bumper until you gladly pull over and let him pass. And then he pulls over into the right-hand lane in front of you, and after a few minutes, you realize you're creeping up on him fairly quickly. But wait. Something's wrong, because your cruise control is set. It has been all along. No worries. You check your blinds, pull on out in the left lane again, and go your merry way. After a few more minutes, however, you realize the psycho is once again on your bumper.
You play the game for around ten minutes until you get tired of it, clearly mouth the words "CRUISE CONTROL!" as you make the inevitable creep back toward him, and make a big show of punching the resume button as you pass him for the fifteenth time.
But...ooops...you're in front again, and that just won't do. It's a race, after all, even if you're not headed to the same destination, and this loser just has to be first. He puts on another spurt of energy and comes up behind me for the pass. This time, I set my cruise control back a few mph. The frustration of going back and forth, in and out of lanes, is just not worth the extra time.
Now, I don't want to leave you with the wrong impression. There are actually things I like about driving, and roadtrips. Music, for example. I just got an Ipod and a car adaptor, and it was so nice to have five uninterrupted hours of music I love and an excuse to listen to it. Scenery's another thing. I wish I had time to just drive all over the place, stop the car at will and whim, and explore with my camera. You can't really do that with places to be, and people waiting on you. Kind of crimps your style. And then there's food. There's just all sorts of interesting food on the road--like Slim Jims and YooHoos.
Riding in a car is the only good time for a Slim Jim and a YooHoo.
This is a trip, I think, that could go on forever, so I'm just going to end it now. I respectfully await submissions of your driving peeves.