I just got back from a trip to Walmart, so it might seem natural if I’m a little on edge.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t the Walmart Experience that most tested my patience today.  It was the traffic on the way home.

BadDrivers2When we first apply for a driver’s license, we’re given a booklet that prepares us for a multiple choice test and an actual driving test with a DOT examiner. We’re expected to study the booklet, take a multiple choice test, and finally, a driving test with the DOT officer.  In that spirit, try just one multiple choice question.

Choose the best answer:  A)While using turn signals is recommended, they are not required within the city limits or at low speeds.  B)When waiting to make a left turn at a green light, do not enter the intersection until all oncoming traffic has passed.  C)When merging onto a freeway, slow down until a space opens and you can merge into traffic.  D)None of the above.

“None of the above ” will get you a passing grade at the Morgan School of Driving, and if you won, congratulations.  But, if real life observation of traffic means anything, too many drivers would be seriously confused by at least one of the choices.  In no particular order, these are the six most maddening things other drivers do:

1. Playing pace car in the left lane.  I’m talking about the slow pokes who cannot bring themselves to move over for faster traffic.  A close competitor, maybe worse, is the driver who passes for no particular advantage and then slows down.  Driving 5-10 miles an hour under the speed limit, especially in the fast lane, is unforgivable (not to mention a safety hazard).  The only thing worse is speeding up to prevent a faster car in the right lane from merging left in front of them. How often have you signaled to merge left so you could make a left turn at the next corner, and had a driver three car lengths back speed up to block your move?

2. Failing to use turn signals.  I’m not sure what motivates these drivers, but  sometimes I suspect they just don’t plan anything more than one or two seconds in advance. That, I guess, might be preferable to the possibility that they just don’t care about the rest of us or our safety.  Even more annoying…  that driver who flips on his directional signal only after the turn or lane change has been initiated.

3. Tailgating and all of its ramifications.  This includes racing up behind traffic andtailgating1 then slamming on the brakes at the last second, as if the sight of his aggression will make the first driver speed up.  Just as bad is the driver who charges up to stop lights or traffic stopped at lights, slowing only at the last second.  The only thing that can make this guy more annoying is leaving his bright lights on as he continues to follow you as closely as possible.

4. Texting in stopped traffic. Talking on the cell phone is bad enough, but at least most of those yakkers have their eyes on the road.  When this driver’s attention is on her lap, she can’t see when it’s time to move.  Worst case scenario, she’ll wake up just in time to make it through the yellow light, leaving you to sit through another red light cycle.  On second thought, maybe worse case scenario is when you stop for the light and she runs into you from behind.  Better to have her in front of you where you can keep track of her activity.

5. Waiting forever to make a left turn with a green light.   I’m talking about the left turning driver who refuses to pull into the intersection while she waits for oncoming traffic to pass.  Then when oncoming cars finally clear the intersection,  she accelerates quickly through the yellow light leaving you sitting there for another red light.  Driver education texts instruct that the driver should move straight into the intersection when the light is green, so there will be a shorter distance to travel when it is safe to complete the left turn. Not just coincidently, that makes room for additional drivers to position themselves for the left turn.  While I didn’t find it in print, minimal consideration for other drivers would go a long way.

6. Parking inconsiderately. Often, this is just one more logical result of Driving a carBadDrivers1 too big for your abilities (yes, that could be a seventh category). but just as often it seems to be associated with complete self-involvement.  It’s too much trouble to back the car up and align it correctly with the painted lines.  It’s too much trouble to pull all the way into the parking space.  Or, “I’ll just be here for a moment, so that handicapped person with the heart condition won’t really mind.”  I took the picture on the left when the young lady managed to fill most of the handicapped space and take up a good portion of the next parking spot all at the same time. There was only one other car in the parking lot.  And, no, she did not have a handicapped permit.

I planned to call this “The Six Most Annoying Drivers,” but that might be too kind.  Most of these people aren’t necessarily short on driving ability.  They know better than to let the poodles or corgis sit on their laps.  They just don’t give a damn.  What we’re actually talking about here are the six most inconsiderate things drivers do.  Either that, or they’re just idiots.

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