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Pet Peeves #003 – On the road7 min read

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This post is part of a series.

slowProbably nowhere else do we get more annoyed than when driving.  Here’s my most treasured peeves.

  1. People who speed up to prevent you from merging – I understand that, if I am cheating by scooting up the exit lane or squeezing that extra car length out of the merging lane, you might want to squeeze me out, but most of the time, I am just trying to merge legally.  Why do you speed up?  Because you are an idiot.
  2. People who don’t wave ‘thanks’ after you let them merge – As a former east-coaster, I am used to people generally obeying the rules of cordiality on the road – let people in, and thank them when they let you in.  Here in CA, only about 1 out of 10 people wave ‘thanks’ when you let them in.  Jerks.
  3. People who try to merge too early or too late – ever been in a merge lane, and you are merging in, and Joe speedy wants to scoot around you and merge up ahead?  What I usually do in such cases is take my half in the middle of the merge, putting the butt of my car in a place where the next guy CAN’T get around me.  Get back in line where you were.  Even worse are people who try to merge too early, stopping traffic behind them when there is a mile of highway left in their lane before it disappears.
  4. Trucks leaking pebbles or liquid – Look, my car is not a museum piece, and I am OK with normal wear and tear.  But I don’t need a shower of pebbles cracking my windshield and chipping my paint.  Even more annoying is that leaking liquid – is it just foul water, or some carcinogen that is now coming in through my vents?  Yuck.
  5. People who cut off big trucks – the height of stupidity is seen in cutting off a tractor trailer while you try to get ahead.  I mean, he left space in front of him so he could STOP in time – now you took that away.  If the traffic stops, you will DIE, and probably cause the rest of us to die as the truck sweeps us all up in a swath of destruction.  You want to weave through traffic, no problem.  Just don’t cut off a truck.
  6. People who refuse to get out of the fast lane when they should – some people feel that it is their duty to restrain the rest of us to the speed limit.  If the limit is 65, they seem to have every right to stay in the fast lane as long as they are going the limit – to heck with the law-breakers behind them!  But in general, if there is a line of cars behind you, and lots of open space in front of you, GET OUT OF THE WAY!  If people are consistently passing you on the right, honking and gesticulating, move over!
  7. People who get pissed when you flash your headlights at them – as I said, on the east coast, if someone flashed their high beams at you from behind, it means “please move over.”  But out here on the west coast that polite gesture is interpreted as “get out of my way you stupid jerk.”  What they don’t realize is that LEAVING my high beams on means that.
  8. People who speed up when you try to pass them on the right – OK, pokey won’t get out of the fast lane, so they force me to pass on the right.  On seeing me, instead of doing the right thing, which is to slow down, let me by, then move over, they suddenly feel like going fast.  This is the time when I get the urge to cause an accident by driving very near to their car, or getting in front of them and slowing WAAY down.  But I don’t.  I usually accelerate hard, get in front of them, then drive at the speed that I was trying to go at when I was behind their slow butt.
  9. Slow pedestrians with attitude – we all know that pedestrians have the right of way, but some pedestrians like to smear it in your face when they are crossing. They lollygag as if no one is waiting for them, rather than moving a little faster and waving thanks to the car that obeyed the law and failed to run them over.  Now me, I *try* to avoid fighting with idiots, but once in a long while, I scare them with the horn or drive so close that their clothes clean the soot off my mirror.  Heck, my car has 200K miles on it, what do I care.
  10. People who are too polite at 4-way stops – look, four-way stops work really nicely, but not when you are so polite that you let someone else go when it’s your turn.  Stop confusing everyone!  When it’s your turn, go, and hurry up about it.

Things that don’t bother me, but probably should:

  1. Cars that look like unmarked cop cars, but aren’t – usually Grandpas who drive an old white Crown Vic, they can slow down traffic to the speed limit instantly until you pass them and figure out that they’re not cops.
  2. Spray from someone else’s wiper fluid – most people don’t realize that when they wash their windshield at highway speeds, the spray goes over their car onto the cars behind them.
  3. Diesel exhaust – stinky, sooty, bad for your health.
  4. Rubbernecking – we all do it to some extent, and I don’t mind it if there is something to see.  But usually, it is nothing that has slowed us down for miles.
  5. Old folks driving slow boats – you know, when you get old, you are just less attentive and more careful.  It happens to us all.  I like to give old people a little grace.
  6. People who weave and speed through traffic – partly, I don’t mind it because I sometimes do it, and also, sometimes I admire a nice move through traffic.  However, some guys RACE one another in their rice-rockets, which I think IS dangerous.  Otherwise, have fun.
  7. Motorcycles that split lanes – it’s the law out here in CA, motorcycles can split lanes.  It’s dangerous, but legal.
  8. Loud motorcycles – this doesn’t really bother me, except when my macho neighbor revs his Harley at 11PM after my kids are already in bed.