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Thoughtful Driving?

March 4, 2013
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” –Ellen Goodman
Greetings, fellow skeptics. It is probably unfair to include all readers of this column as being like me and questioning essentially everything as either being agenda-driven, downright untrue or just plain bizarre. Some may have even read some of my previous offhand critiques of politicians and the “unbiased” news media but, luckily for you we’re not going down that road this time. You may find it hard to believe, but there are other important things to discuss. What is front of mind today is the increasing scourge of idiotic motorists who are taking up valuable space on our highways. Seemingly every time I leave the house, I encounter one or more drivers who convince me they got their license in a Kid’s Meal at McDonald’s.

The first place to stop on today’s adventure is the supermarket. Have you ever noticed the person who is unable to maneuver their electric cart down the aisle or casually runs over your foot without an apology, leaves the supermarket and gets behind the wheel of a car? That, my friend, is just plain frightening.

Out on the street, I encounter a car with its right turn signal constantly flashing. It would appear they want to turn. Or do they? Ah yes, three blocks later they turn left, but it’s from the right lane across all traffic, without even a glance back. Fortunately, I chose not to pass them because, as a certified cynic, I don’t trust any of the little buggers anymore.

Then, as fast as possible, I get on the interstate because there’s a long trip ahead. I merge into traffic, get up to speed and almost immediately need to pass and move into the left lane. When to my wandering eyes what should appear but a left lane twit (because children might be present), hogging the left lane and going 2 mph under the speed limit with no intention of moving. Mile after interminable mile I drive on, looking for space to pass on the right, but he is content to keep his speed the same as the vehicles in the right lane. Now, I am not into road rage yet in my life, but I do wonder if my thoughts make me a prime candidate. Things like, “Now that is really stupid”; “Do you suppose they really don’t know I’m back here?”; “I wonder how many accidents they have already caused?”; “I hope they’re not trying to teach me that speeding is dangerous.”; “Where did they learn to drive?”; “What an idiot!”; “That #!&#!* and the horse he rode in on!”

Then, finally, the cars in the right lane have inched back, and there is space to pass on the right. So I whip around, but I must take a good look at the driver because, you see, I’m doing a personal study on those clueless jerks. Here is what I’ve found, for what it’s worth. Whether they’re driving a Ford Focus, a Cadillac Escalade or a Dodge Ram truck, they are all similar. Both men and women of questionable sexual orientation (so as not to offend anyone), either one hand on the wheel, or two in a death grip, hair a mess and hunched over as in a stupor. In my experience, not one ever glanced over as if to wonder why 30 cars are passing on the right. Oh, and their passenger is almost always asleep with their mouth wide open as if either catching flies or they had the big one 50 miles back, and the driver didn’t notice that either.

If I ever get my three wishes, one would be to have the ability to make those “acquaintances” stall in the middle lane of rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, after they just finished a 32-ounce soft drink. I may be cynical but I’m not mean. Be safe out there.

Ciao baby,

Don Frendberg

Don Frendberg is chairman of North American Technician Excellence and president of
Phase 3 Insights.

Contact him at 614/208-6801 or [email protected].