Monday, January 3, 2011

Some Post-Road Trip Thoughts

I just got back from Christmas vacation, which we spent in southern California with my parents. Not counting the multitude of stops that the five-month old Son of Atomic Spud requires, the trip involves 16 hours of driving each way (which we spread over two days). Now I'm a cautious and consistent driver. I use my cruise control as much as possible and never set it more than five MPH above the speed limit. I would prefer to always maintain the speed limit (which I do when the limit is 75 MPH or higher) but I would get rear ended if I actually went 55, 65, or 70 MPH. Unfortunately, many drivers are a bit less cautious than I am. Here are a few annoying/dangerous habits that my fellow drivers displayed during our 32 total hours of driving:

How Hard is it to Use a Turn Signal?
It's a small lever that you use to signal to others that you're going to be changing lanes. It's there to protect you and those around you, so why don't you use it!?! I saw dozens of drivers make lane changes without ever signaling. Often they did so with very little clearance between them and other cars. One truck almost clipped me when he cut in front of me without ever using his turn signal. Fortunately I had seen him do the exact same thing to someone else a few minutes earlier and was keeping a close eye on him.

It Defeats the Purpose of Speeding if You Kill Yourself Trying to Get There
Every so often you would find some speedster weaving in and out of lanes just to get a few feet ahead. They would start in the fast lane, but when that was just too slow for them, they would zip into the next lane (or two) over in an attempt to pass other cars. The worst of them would actually use the Carpool, Express, or Truck/Slow Vehicle lanes (which are separated from the rest of the freeway with solid white lines) in order to do this. Californians did this far more often than drivers in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, or Idaho.

Stop Riding my Bumper!
The rudest speedsters would follow cars they thought were going too slow with about three to five feet between them. I don't like to park that close to another car, let alone drive that close to them at 75 MPH. In a couple cases the car in front would try to change lanes to let the other guy go ahead. However, since the guy in front didn't use his turn signal, and since the guy in back got tired of waiting for the slowpoke (who was actually going well above the speed limit), both cars ended up changing lanes simultaneously. The five foot space became two and they almost had an accident.

I've lived a significant period of time in California, Utah, and Idaho and have gotten to see how people in each of these states drive. I have to say that the best drivers are Idahoans. They're not perfect, but they're more courteous and have more respect for good driving habits and the rules of the road. And since they have a lot more of it than California or Utah, Idahoans are a lot better at driving in poor weather.

1 comment:

  1. There's also less traffic in Idaho. I suspect if Idaho had traffic like SLC or SoCal, Idahoans would be worse drivers.



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