By Chuck Mai, AAA
All the world may be a stage, but Shakespeare never had to share the road with the jesters and clowns you and I encounter every day.
Maybe we should give awards to these characters: “Worst Performance by a Driver on an Urban Highway,” “Most Blatant Display of Distracted Driving,” “Dubious Achievement in Visually Terrifying Effects” – that sort of thing.
My list of actors and actresses is a who’s who of road-worthless evil-doers:
• Lane-jumping Johnny. This is the guy who is determined to get there seven seconds before you do. To him, driving is a game to be won at all costs. Or, to be fair, maybe he’s a doctor rushing to an emergency at the hospital. At any rate, give Johnny a wide berth.
• Tail-gating Terry. What’s scary is that sometimes Terry’s not even aware he’s doing it. He just wants to get there so bad, he gobbles up every available square foot of real estate between you and him and constantly wants more. Pull over, let him have it.
• Left-lane Louie. This guy lays claim to the left lane (the “passing lane”) of a divided highway, whether he’s passing anybody or not. Sometimes I think Louie’s just asleep.
• Blind Spot Doggers. Here’s an interesting personality. There’s tons of unoccupied divided roadway in front of this joker yet he persists in driving a car length behind me, one lane over, right in my blind spot. I figure he has a fear of passing (doesn’t want to appear to be speeding) or perhaps driving in synchronicity with me affords him a certain degree of security. Or maybe, like Left-lane Louie, he’s just asleep.
• Cruise Control Connie. This driver seems loathe to switch off her cruise control on the highway, so it takes her seven minutes to overtake a vehicle going in the same direction. It’s like she has found that perfect cruise control setting – within the speed limit – and she’ll be darned if a lawbreaking speeder is going to make her have to reset it.
• Cell Phone Charlie. It’s as if Mr. Multi-tasker is so important, he has to yak on the phone while driving. Many women do this, too. And the teenagers who text-message while driving? Well, I am at a loss. Where are the parents? Who’s coaching these kids on the dangers of risky driving? Text-messaging requires that you look at the phone a lot. Glance up at traffic for a second, look down at your phone for three seconds. Glance up at traffic for a second, look down at your phone for three seconds. Glance up at traffic for a second, look down at your ph . . . crash! No wonder teens pay more than anybody else for car insurance.