Friday, December 14, 2007

Stop Driving Like An Idiot


And, just in case you have any questions as to whether or not I'm serious about this, let me quote Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite:

"Oh, I'm dead serious."

Ok America (and Canada), it's time to share the road like responsible adults. I'm going to push this pretty hard for a while. Call it a soapbox. Call it a lone voice in the wilderness. I don't care. Here goes...

I have about a 45-50 minute commute to work (one way) every day. I see the best and worst of the drivers that share the road with me. For the most part--it's the worst. I know that in the past, I've driven like an IDIOT--but I stopped. As a result, it's drastically reduced my stress level in the mornings, I'm saving a lot of money on gas, I doubt that I'll be getting many traffic tickets, and I'M SAFE (which makes other safe).

I'm asking the rest of you to join with me. I'm just sick and tired of dealing with it and I don't know what else to do. Join me. If you're not driving like an idiot now--great. Spread the word to others. If you are driving like an idiot, repent. We will forgive you. Stop driving like an idiot and share the joy with others.

Safer roads.
Saving money on gas.
Less stress.
An end to war and starvation*

*Ok, maybe those things won't end, but I think that the way we drive is a reflection of what's going on in our hearts. When your mission on the road is to get to wherever you're going as fast as possible--regardless of the other drivers in the road--you're reflecting just how selfish you are. My experience tells me that this selfishness will be reflected in the rest of the things you do.


(I'll update this list as I think of new things to add or you give me ideas)

1. Drive the Speed Limit - Yes. You heard me correctly. You don't have to speed. If you are constantly running late and "feel the need for speed" get your own fighter jet or, better yet, adjust your schedule accordingly. When you drive fast, it endangers others. In many cases, you also use more fuel when you drive fast.

2. Use the Right Lane - Speeding is speeding, so I'm not sure that the law will back you up on the "fast lane" notion we have in our country. However, it only makes sense to get into the right (as in "opposite of left") lane and allow the yay-hoos to go around you. If we work hard enough at this, there will be less yay-hoos to worry about.

3. STOP TAILGATING - Not only is it annoying, it's very dangerous. Note: I'm not talking about what you do when you arrive three hours before the start of a football game.

4. Don't Drive Angry - That's a quote from one of my favorite movies, Groundhog Day. If someone IS driving like an idiot, it's not your job to correct them. Let them go on their way.

5. Two Lane Round-a-Bouts Are Not Passing Opportunities
- This is a very specific one based on something that happened to me yesterday. The person who gets to the round-a-bout first should have the right to enter the round-a-bout first. Let him or her go and THEN you can enter.

6. Be Considerate - If you see someone using a turn signal because they need to get into your lane, see if there's a safe way that you can accommodate them. You'd like it if they did the same for you. Don't guard your place in line by speeding up. When you do that you're driving like an idiot.

7. Don't Cut
- This goes back to grade school, folks. You don't cut in line just because you can get away with it. Imagine that you're in the check out lane of a grocery store and you see a little space between two people ahead of you. Would you simply shove your way into the space with your cart and ignore the others around you? Sometimes, things happen and you have to find your way onto a lane (see #5). When that happens, use your signal and be considerate.

8. Consider Your Cell Phone Use
- I'm not convinced that using cell phones while on the road is flat out wrong for everyone. But you know who you are. If you cannot have a conversation and drive at the same time, pick just one thing to do and leave the rest of us alone. Like I said, you know who you are.

9. It's Not a Racetrack - If you're finding that your NASCAR viewing is affecting the way you drive, pick another sport. Actually, I'm an IndyCar guy, but I will not get into that here.

10. Obey Special Speed Zones - School Zones and Construction Zones are designed to keep people safe--not to tick you off. Slow down accordingly. Furthermore, when someone in front of you slows down to adhere to a special speed zone, don't get irate with them (you know who you are, angry man in the black truck from two days ago!). They're just obeying the law. You have no right to get upset with them.

11. Slow Down In Neighborhoods - You were a kid once. You may have kids now. They run around in the neighborhoods, so low down. Ok, look at it this way. Imagine how horrible you'd feel if you kid a kid with your car. For that reason alone, you should slow down.

That's it for now. I'm sure this is one of the longest posts I've ever written, but I'll keep adding to it as necessary. I'm serious about this and I think you should be, too. Spread the word. Send others to my stupid post to read it for themselves. Use the dumb graphic that I created (above). Start driving safely and courteously. It's worth it.

Here's the link to the page you are on (in case you cannot figure it out for yourself):


Sniz said...

I don't think I drive like an idiot, but sometimes you disagree with me. It's those times that you ARE the idiot for not recognizing that I'm NEVER one. (I'm just joshing, honey, you're NEVER an idiot.)

ClaireBoe said...

"ID.I.OT" is the word I most frequently use while driving. My son thinks my salvation may be in jeopardy because I don't love my fellow human beings very much when I'm in a car. I can't really argue with him!

I live in SoCal, and we're considering moving to Texas. The one thing I am in complete acceptance of is that idiot drivers are everywhere, not just here. Although, I'm pretty sure we have more per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.

I'm constantly amazed how someone will do some ridiculous move to save themselves ONE CAR LENGTH. Makes me want to return to the horse and buggy days.

Uvulapie said...

1. Blame the illegal immigrants.

2. How about the MERGE LEFT/RIGHT issues for construction. There's a long line stopping and starting on the correct merged side and a few cretins in the other lane, driving fast up to where you absolutely have no choice but to merge. Then the polite drivers let these bumkins in line, thus causing the huge backup of stopped and slowed traffic.

Randy said...

Mr. Shumway,

You were right on target about the driving thing. Just yesterday my brother was rear-ended by a seventy-five year old woman who claimed my brother was stopped in the road! Duh! He was. He was in a stopped position, brake lights on, and left turn signal blinking. She just plowed right into him and his head hit the steering wheel. She barked at him and said, "You were stopped." And the point is...? What ever happened to ACD (Assured clear distance)? What if a car stalled for some odd reason? So, this woman has a right to slam into a stopped vehichle? Well, the good news is my brother is okay after being checked in the ER for two hours. However, the car is another story! Great post!


Anonymous said...

I drive like a grandma, do you have link for me? This was hilarious, btw!!!


Hannah J said...

"if you kid a kid with your car."