Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fun on America's Highways




I've been driving for many years. Each area of the country has it's own driving style, but there are "trends" and generalities regarding driving styles that are nationwide.



We've all seen the teen and twenty-something drivers' tendency to have the seatback angled so far back, that the B-pillar obscures the driver's side vision, (and they can barely see over the dash). I call this "Hip Hop Driving" posture. It's a driving style that crosses all races and cultures at this point in time, but seems to be a "youth" driving style, only. (Luckily, it's now starting to fade as a fad).

Then you have a whole genre of driver that uses cellphones in traffic, and becomes a completely distracted asshole driver, without even realizing it. There are "leaners" that hold the phone to their ear, and lean their head in the direction of the phone, and actually spill into the lane next to them (that they are leaning toward). Then there are the Bluetooth users, who think they are "driving safely," but are so distracted by their conversation, that they are driving 15 MPH slower than the traffic around them. And then there are the worst of the bunch...people texting while driving. This started as a 16 to 26 year-old driver phenomenon, but I now see it being used across most generations. "Aren't I cool; I'm a 40 year old Soccer Mom, and I'm texting back to my daughter while driving on I-35, during rush hour."

Sometimes there are very apparent signs that you should avoid a driver. You can spot the clueless or uncourteous driver from afar, very much like seeing a porcupine with it's quills out in the wild. Of course, I'm talking about the "too many magnetic ribbons driver," and "too many bumper stickers driver."
You know, one magnetic ribbon to show that you support the troops (or are patriot) is totally cool, but when you have an entire platoon of the damn things stuck to the back of your car; well...it usually means you are trying to over-compensate for something, or your are trying to shove your particular message down the public's throat. (The same holds true for having too many bumper stickers).

In fact, I think that the number of ribbons or bumper stickers is directly proportional to how big of an asshole driver you probably are. Too generalize further, (at least with the mag-ribbon phenomenon), these things are usually stuck to the backs of full-sized Buicks, Ford Taurus', Mini-vans, and American-brand SUVs and Pickup trucks. So, if you see a tope-colored Taurus in front of you with 6 mag-ribbons on the trunk, beware: he or she is about to change lanes (with no notice) and slow down or stop in front of you, for no particular reason.
I'm not a psychologist, so I'm not even going to hazard to guess why there appears to be a relationship with the multi-ribbon and sticker set and their anti-social driving habits, but I'd love to see a study done.
Peace-out, and drive carefully, please!

16 comments:

Dirt Runner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dirt Runner said...

My mom has 3 of those damn ribbons on her car. A "Support the Troops" a "Katrina Survivor" and the "Pink" ribbon. When ever she visits from New Orleans I take them off her car and keep them in a shoe box. It takes about 2 to 3 days to realize that they're missing and then the emails start to show up to me and my siblings. You should here some of the conspiracy theories she comes up with.

I have 12 ribbons now and she's coming the week prior to the WS training run. Maybe I should bring them to CA and stick them on the rental car.

meesha.v said...

any carwash has piles of these ribbons.they make me jealous that I didn't come up with this idea to make money on stupidity and fake sense of patriotism.

shliknik said...

I may sounds like a young whipper-snapper (is that a 'southern only' phrase?), but the driver's who scare me the most are OLD people!! (sorry to any reader here who is older than 70).

I encountered all the types of drivers Ben mentioned in his post...and their mostly predicted (and avoidable to a degree).

But you NEVER KNOW what an older driver will do! They usually driving way too slow then will immediately cross lanes and brake BEFORE they get into the turning lane. Honestly......

shliknik said...

Another story.....

I was getting my license renewed a few years back and noticed an older lady (OK..REAL old lady) stepping up to the vision machine.

First of all, she couldn't hear the employee say 'step up and place your forehead here' and forced the person to repeat every phrase multiple times. When she finally realized what she had to do (read the numbers/letters), she COULDN'T do it....at all....with glasses..but this lady got a license!!!!! Unbelievable!

After I got mine, I left in a hurry to avoid the crash that was going to occur when the lady left the DMV.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

I think maybe I will put 10 or 12 of these on our rental car. That'll make everybody else give us a wide berth on the road. We'll have the freeways to ourselves!

Doug said...

If you need a study location, K10 between I-435 and Lawrence would be ideal. I pass three 80-86 Volvos loaded with bumper stickers just about every evening. The speedometer obviously still has the 55 mph point clearly highlighted.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

It doesn't matter if their politics are to the far left or the far right; their actions still smack of total stupidity. My father-in-law definitely isn't a "Vintage-Volvo-driving-hippy-bumper-sticker" type, but he is a "multiple-magnetic-ribbon-and-ultra-patriotic-multiple-American-flag guy."

He insists that the top speed that anyone should need to drive, should be 45 MPH. He will usually drive in the passing lane at this speed, in his bid to "self-police" the American highways.

Drivers such as these are VERY AGGRESSIVE drivers, but they are in denial about that fact. They honestly think they are being "safe" by being "pebbles in a rushing stream" of traffic.

Total infantile stupidity!!!

Doug said...

Oh yeah...politics do not matter, just the ratio of bumper sticker/magnet to exposed paint. I just see a few more of the lefties on their way to Lawrence. At least they have 42 different causes plastered on the back of their cars and don't limit their trunk to one cause multiple times.

Yeti said...

Same rule applies to owners of PT Cruisers. They are they typically are the worst drivers, and that’s magnified times two if they have the simulated wood-type grain style.

Jeff said...

Bill Maher compared the flag bearers to Rommel's staff car.

I remove my bumper stickers after awhile. I get sick of seeing even my own opinions all the time.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Yep, also:
Chrysler Town & Country vans, Chevy Venture vans, and Ford Windstar and Freestar vans seem to be likely candidates for magnet, sticker and the resultant asshole driver collection.

AND, if you see a bumper sticker that says, "I brake for Renaissance Festivals," you might as well aim your vehicle right at the next tree, and get it over with.

jenny said...

... and if you are going to have bumper stickers - at least make them interesting. My favorite one so far: Visualize using your turn signal.

Coach Tammy said...

Bumper stickers are dumb. Unless they say "140.6". Bahahaha!

Shane"CRASH"Jones said...

What about truck nuts? What do those say? A more accurate term for a blue tooth is "ear douche"

Brooklyn said...

I'm a motorcycle rider. That's the only vehicle I own. All you cage drivers scare me and I am convinced that turning the key in the ignition is, for 90% of drivers, the equivalent of turning off the brain.

When the real gas crisis comes - and it will - when we RUN OUT OF GAS, it's the drivers Bad Ben mentions that'll die first, I think.

Keep up the rants, Ben; always amusing.