My Driving Pet Peeves

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We all have pet peeves. We all have things that set us off. Mine seem to all do with commuting - driving, mostly. I've decided to start a collection of them.


Item 1: Unrestrained children.

Yes, I know this isn't directly related to driving, but it just pisses me off to see kids jumping around the back seat of a car. Even worse - kids playing around in the back of a pickup truck. It even pisses me off to see kids just sitting in the front seat without a seatbelt. You idiots. This is your opportunity to teach these kids a little about safety. If they're old enough to sit in the front, make sure they're buckled-up. It's called the "Child Passenger Protection Act". Oh, then I might as well add:
Item 1a: Unrestrained pets. The two that really upset me are the unrestrained dog in the back of the pickup (one bump and "goodbye") and the people who must drive with their dog in their lap. I can't imagine what's going to happen if there's an accident and the air bag deploys. If you love your pets, keep them safe! Forget about how cute they look behind the wheel or how much "they love sitting there"! Wake up and smell the danger!

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Item 2: Cell phones

I don't care what you think, the use of a cell phone augments the stupidity of the driver. The driver may be a normal, good driver, but once that cell phone goes up to the ear, he/she turns into an idiot, becoming totally unaware of their surroundings and their responsibility to the safety of others around them. They cause accidents - and not necessarily their own - with their reckless driving. Cell phone usage requires the driver to pay more attention to the road when they are more inclined to just "shut-off" that part of their brains so that they can chat. Put it down, pull it over, hand it off to a passenger, or pay more attention to the road than your conversation.

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Item 3: Intersection incursion

You are on a local street, or a multi-lane street and you are in the right lane. You are either approaching an intersection (where you don't have a stop sign or stop light) or the exit of a parking lot on the right-hand side. A vehicle approaches from the right at a high rate of speed. The driver doesn't look in your direction. YOU HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA IF THIS GUY IS GOING TO STOP and you panic a little, either hitting your brakes or attempting a last-minute lane change to avoid what could be an accident only to have the idiot stop (maybe). The least you could do, you idiot, is look in my freakin' direction so that at least I have some sort of signal that you see me coming and you will stop before I take off the nose of your car.

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Item 4: How long is your nose?

Somewhat related to Item 3. You approach someone in a similar manner as Item 3, but they do see the traffic. They continue to watch as you are passing, but see a break in traffic directly behind you, so they start to pull out into traffic early. They have no idea that they almost buried the nose of the car into the side of yours, scraping it along the side of your prized possession. Pay attention when the traffic passes and don't tromp on the gas to get into traffic! If you needed to do that, perhaps the "hole" in the traffic that you wanted to get into wasn't as large as you thought. If that's the case, WAIT, you idiot!

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Item 5: "Unnecessary" speed

WHY do people have to speed? Look, I'm not talking 10 miles over the limit - we all do that. 65 in a 55? Big deal. I'm talking 80-90 in a 55. Why? WHY? WHY? And if I'm doing 65-70 in the left-hand lane of a highway and you come screaming up at me doing 80, expecting me to move - SCREW YOU, BUDDY. I'm going over the limit as well, I'm in the left-hand lane, but YOU are a freakin' idiot for going at that speed, so how about SLOWING DOWN A BIT?!?!?! You make me want to tap my brakes a bit to slow down to see if I can get you to swerve and crash, because, damn it, you deserve it... And, damn it, why is it when someone is doing 90 mph on a highway there's never a cop around? Is this part of the big ME FIRST attitude (Item 17) that we've been taught as Americans???

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Item 6: Lack of awareness of the speed of the traffic around you

Somewhat related to Item 5. If the posted speed of a highway is 55 mph, you are driving 55 mph, but the traffic all around you seems to be going 65-70 mph and you insist on being in the center of left lane, berhaps you need to get the hell over to the right lane to get out of the way of the people going just over the limit or the idiots of Item 5.

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Item 7: Slaloming

Usually directly related to Item 5. Not satisfied when the straight, single lane, these guys must accelerate to a high rate of speed, approach a slower vehicle and swerve into another lane to avoid slamming into the slower vehicle in their lane, only to accelerate again to the back bumper of the next vehicle and slalom into another lane and continue to do this through traffic, whether the traffic is light or heavy. Now the even more idiotic idiots that are even more aggressive, usually have an issue related to Item 4 - over time, the lane changes become sloppier and wind-up almost taking off the back quarter of a vehicle their trying to pass... IS THIS NECESSARY????

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Item 8: Do you have to slow down in a left hand lane before you pull into a left-hand turn lane???

Chances are, people are travelling at a good rate of speed behind you in that left lane - PULL INTO THE TURN LANE and then slow down, before someone winds-up in your trunk.

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Item 9: If you make a turn, must you turn in the opposite direction first?

The occurrence of this seems to be declining, but why do people have to swing out to the left before they make a right hand turn????

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Item 10: Driving behind a SUV, van, or panel truck

You are in a car, following behind an SUV, van, or panel; truck. You are travelling at a "good rate of speed", when all of a sudden that vehicle in front of you quickly changes lanes because there is something stationary in the lane ahead that you couldn't see because your vision was blocked. Hey! you may be a cocky SUV owner, but damn it, you block the vision of "normal" cars! You must exercise more caution because even though you may be able to see better (being higher above the ground), you can get somebody killed if you aren't aware of traffic around you. In fact, I believe you have more responsibility because of your size to look out for the "little guy". Oh, and hey, how about a freakin' turn signal????

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Item 11: Behind vehicles in a left turn lane

You are behind other vehicles in a left turn lane. The traffic signal is green, and there's oncoming traffic. Hey! Pull into the freakin' intersection so some of us guys behind you at least have a chance of making the turn before the signal turns red!

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OK, not an item, but...

did you know that a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found accidents in 2000 are costing $230 billion a year $820 for every man, woman and child in the United States. $80 billion in lost productivity, $59 billion in property damage, $33 billion in medical costs and $26 billion in costs associated with travel delays.

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Item 12: The Stop Line

When you approach a stop sign or a stop light, do you see that wide, white line painted on the pavement? That's called a Stop Line. You're supposed to stop before any part of your car crosses the line. It's not a suggestion! STOP before you cross the line! Most of the time, it's before a marked crosswalk. If you're in the crosswalk, you're an idiot! Pay attention! Also, if you're on a multi-lane road, sometimes the Stop Line is painted in different places for each lane. Pay Attention!!! It's usually painted like that because either the intersecting street is at an angle, or turning traffic could hit the traffic on your road if the Stop Line wasn't painted further away from the intersection. It's that core driving pet peeve - PAY ATTENTION!!! Oh, and if you're one of those drivers that stops three car lengths before the Stop Line, could you at least crawl your lazy ass up to the line?

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Item 13: Entering a busy street

You are trying to exit a parking lot onto a busy street, or you are at an intersection trying to turn onto a busy street. There's a lot of traffic, and it's requiring you to watch for a good opening. All of a sudden, someone pulls up next to you. But not just next to you, they pull ahead of you totally blocking your view and any attempt to safely enter traffic. Worse scenario: you're in a car and the vehicle that blocks you is a friggin' SUV. The damn driver is oblivious to your predicament. You attempt to roll forward to clear your obstruction without pulling too far forward to get the nose of your car clipped-off. Sometimes this is not possible and you are relegated to sit still until the idiot is out of your way. Sometimes, you can actually inch forward into the clear. And then you get another worse scenario: the friggin' obstruction decides to move as well. Why the hell is he moving! He's probably over the friggin' Stop Line (see Item 12). Again this brings up the theme here - Pay Attention! You're not the only driver out there! Cut out this asinine ME FIRST attitude! Your actions are affecting others! Knock it off!

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Item 14: Commit to a left turn

While making a left-hand turn while in traffic, do not under any circumstance actually start your turn and stop! You are now actually in the oncoming traffic's lane! People now have to drive around you to avoid clipping you and possibly causing mishaps with the rest of the traffic! You're an idiot! Stay put! Oh, and you looking at me like I'm the idiot??? 'Fraid not, my friend...

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Item 15: Tailgating

No excuse. No reason. Period. Get off my ass you friggin' idiot!!! Want to make me go faster! Screw you! You want to slalom (Item 7)? You want to go faster (Item 5)? Go around me, you bastard! You're making me want to slow down or even tap my brakes to make you spin out of control and crash your damn car! You can cause an accident that will involve you, me and probably too many innocent bystanders. What's with this ME FIRST crap?

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Item 16: Working lights and knowing how to use them

Item 16a: Headlights. God knows, having headlights that work are a good thing, but also make sure they're focused correctly! There is nothing worse at night than to have someone driving in oncoming traffic with one of their headlights pointing up in the friggin' air, usually right into your eyes, or have somebody tailgating (Item 15) behind you, at night, where the unfocused headlight feels like it's burning your skin off your face as it's reflected in your rear view mirror, causing you to quint (at night, which is such a safe thing to do) just to be able to see the freakin' lines on the pavement!
Item 16b: Hi-beams. Brights. Whatever you call them. Really effective when used correctly. THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR ACTUAL WORKING HEADLIGHTS. I'm talking about those vehicles that you just know their headlights don't work, so the brights have to be used instead. Fix the friggin' headlights! Flashing them when tailgating (Item 15) just makes you a prick. Know what? You're not special, YOU'RE AN IDIOT. Oh, and at night? You know, when it's dark outside? Turn your friggin'' headlights on!
Item 16c: Brake lights. What, are you nuts? Do you really want to go out in traffic and get yourself killed??? This is a no-brainer (which may explain some of these people). Make sure they work!
Item 16d: Turn signals. Oh, God, where do I start...
Item 16d1: Turn them on.
There's too many examples here. Look, when you are going down a street, any street, and the guy in front of you slows down, you've got no freakin' idea what he's up to. Can you go around him? No idea! Why? Because he's going to turn, and he didn't tell you! I don't know what's worse in this situation - an unannounced right-hand turn or an unannounced left-hand turn. It doesn't matter - in either case, if you were going at a "good rate of speed", you're going to come up on this guy's bumper pretty quickly because he didn't "tell you" what he's doing. Makes you want to go up to their car, reach in the window, yank off the entire turn signal stalk from the steering column and yell at the guy "It's obvious you don't need this since you don't use it!!" Worse situation? How about the idiot out in the suburbs who pulls into the right lane and slows down only to make a left hand turn into a driveway across the street!!! (Happens too often in my neighborhood and it pisses me off!) Oh, and turn signals are not just for turning - they're also used in lane changing. If I see a guy with his turn signal on that wants to get into my lane, at least I know what he's doing and I'll let him in. Who doesn't use them? Slalomers (Item 7) and those totally unaware of what they're doing because they're on a cell phone (Item 2) and their brains have disconnected from the responsibility of driving. Again, YOU'RE AN IDIOT - GET OFF THE FRIGGIN' ROAD if you want to talk - oh, and use your turn signal to get there!!! Oh, and here's a courtesy thing: If you're in a crowded parking lot, cruising the aisles looking for a parking space, and you stop and block the aisle because you see someone getting in a car to leave, use your turn signal to let the people know behind you what you're up to. Otherwise, you're just in the middle of of the friggin' aisle and no one can get around you. People may get less excited if they knew you actually found a potential spot and you're waiting for it.
Item 16d2: Turn them off.
Yes, we all know about the Senior Citizens that seem to go for miles with their turn signals on. I've got news for you - they're not the only ones. There's nothing worse than being on a highway with a guy with a turn signal on. Can you pass him? How do you know that he's intending to make a lane change? YOU DON'T KNOW. Approach with caution because, whether he knows it or not, he's causing problems. At least he used his signal at least once, so you can't fault him for that.
Item 16e: Hazzards. When you are going 35 mph on a highway the least you can do is turn on your hazard lights to let us know that you know you're doing 35 instead of being oblivious to those around you doing the speed limit or, heaven forbid, those people doing well over it (Item 5).

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Item 17: Me first. ME FIRST. ME FIRST!

Why? What makes you so damn important? What makes you want to speed excessively? (Item 5) Tailgate? (Item 15) What makes you so damn important? "Well, I'm a lawyer!" "I'm a CEO" "I'm the hottest PR Man in town!" "Huh huh huh!.. I'm just goin' down to my job a the gas station!" I've got news for you buddy - YOU ARE NOBODY! You're just a guy in a car just like me, a nobody just like me. And you know all those traffic laws? They're written for all of us. You may be something within your circle of friends or at your job, but on this piece of asphalt, you're squat, nothing, bupkis. You're not special. You have no right breaking laws and endangering the people around you. Screw you. When you're dead on the pavement, being first in line won't mean a hell of a lot, will it?

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Item 18: Blocking traffic

I've been seeing this more and more, usually from younger drivers. You are on a city street. Oncoming traffic is heavy - so heavy that it's stopped. Your lane of traffic may be relatively empty. Somebody on a side street decides they need to either cross the street you're on or turn onto it. They pull out into traffic and they either can't get through the traffic because there's no hole for them or there's not enough room for them to turn into the lane of traffic. They have now completely blocked your lane, because they couldn't wait for that opening (ME FIRST, again?). So now, as you are staring at them because they are now just a inches from your bumper as you have stopped to avoid them, they are looking at you Like you are the idiot. Excuse me? What the hell are you doing blocking traffic? What made you want to pull out into traffic in the first place? Oh, I see, you are important enough to block this entire lane of traffic just so that you can cross? You're just lucky that I stopped and I didn't just broadside you right in your driver's side door - because you expected me to stop, because you are you, and you are important. Perhaps I'm giving you too much credit - perhaps you are just an idiot and you just don't know what you are doing.

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Item 19: Emergency Vehicles

OH MY GOD, PEOPLE. Let's pay attention out there. Don't ever, ever, EVER try to out-run or pass an emergency vehicle. If ever there was anybody on the road more important than you, it's them. Pay attention - yield - pull over - just get out of their way. Let them do what they need to do. You know, it's not hard to see those lights and hear those sirens - unless you're on a friggin' cell phone. Pay attention. You are NOT more important than them - don't try that ME FIRST crap, you idiot.

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Item 20: Loud Radios

Look, we all crank up the radio/CD/cassette/8-Track(!) when one of our favorite songs comes on and you just have to sing along (making for what just may be the most entertaining things to observe while driving, especially if you use the steering wheel for percussion). I'm not talking about that - I'm talking about those 300-watt systems in a tricked-out Honda Civic, whose subwoofer is causing my rear view mirror to vibrate. I'm talking about that bass beat that you can hear, not just outside the car, but in my house over a block away as you come though my neighborhood at 1:00 AM. There's a purpose to this??? There is no way in hell that you're going to hear a siren. Do you need - not want, need - something that loud? A side note - there is nothing so sad - or strange - as seeing two white kids, listening to hip-hop blaring in a car, just staring straight ahead. mouth closed and not even moving to the music. Weird. Makes you wonder why even bother.

Oh, and A car stereo that can kill you?

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Item 21: Double Parking

I hate double parkers, but I understand that it's one of those things that can't be helped. The thing I can't tolerate, though, is disrepecting your fellow drivers. If you need to double park, get the hell out of the way as much as possible! If you have to do this on a tight side street in the city, get over to the side as much as possible so that you are not TOTALLY blocking traffic until you decide to show up! BE CONSIDERATE!

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Item 22: Entrance ramps are not passing lanes

Again, part of the "ME FIRST" jackasses, I just LOOOOOVE it when these idiots decide to change lanes from the right hand lane onto an entrance ramp while in heavy traffic just to be able to jump forward what - 3 or 4 vehicles? Let's ignore the fact that they usually never check the traffic on the ramp itself (as most of the time the ramp is usually slightly above or below the other traffic), but it's just another case of flipping the bird at everyone else that had patiently waited in traffic ahead of you. You ain't special, pal - get your ass back in line.

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