Driving: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Percentage of adults who said they had done these things in the previous 30 days:

Sped up to beat a yellow light: 58%

Exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph on major highways: 45%

Exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph on neighborhood streets: 15%

Deliberately ran red lights: 6%

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Oct. 25-Jan. 10 survey of 2,509 adults.

Amanda Cooke, 21, a computer teacher in Running Springs, Calif., says she used to drive so aggressively that her boyfriend was afraid to ride with her. "I'd cut people off to get into the lane I wanted to get in," she says. "I'd tailgate them if they were going too slow or blink my lights if it was night." Cooke says she stopped driving that way after crashing into another driver. "I didn't think it was as risky as it was," she says.


I spend a lot of time on the road and I see shitty drivers everywhere.  I will never understand why people feel that speed limits do not apply to them, in fact yesterday I got passed by some idiot going at least 60 in a 40 mph zone. They speed, they don't seem to notice that traffic is going slower than they are, they slam on their brakes when they get to a slower moving car, get mad and exchange hand gestures with the person who was not breaking the law.  Don't even get me started on people who speed through residential areas -- killing or injuring a child would not be a good addition your day.

I see people weave in and out of traffic without signaling their turns, people who think that stop signs don't apply to them (one jerk went around me on a two-lane residential street and crossed oncoming traffic while I waited at a stop sign to to turn right -- the oncoming cars had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the stupid bastard).

I see people paying more attention to their cell phones than the fact that they are controlling a ton of glass and steel (like the woman who almost rear-ended me this morning as I turned onto the street my business is on). I see people who think that creeping up on a stop light will make it change green faster, and then when it does they sit there in some sort of daze.

And I'd bet that most of them are like the Ms. Cooke mentioned above who honestly don't think that their driving habits are dangerous.

I was taught to never take the other driver's skill as a given, I treat every car like it's a potential threat to my vehicle and try to never make a move without making eye contact when possible, when I know I am seen I am more secure. I've had too many close calls with people who think they're the only driver on the road to give anyone the benefit of a doubt.

Traffic laws are not there to inconvenience anyone.  Speed limits, turn lanes, yield signs, stop signs and traffic lights are there to make the roads safer for everyone. When someone ignores the speed limit because they were too distracted (or just plain stupid) to leave enough time to get where they are going, they are endangering not only themselves, but everyone on the road.  Being late is better than being injured or getting killed.

People get behind the wheel and turn into selfish monsters who think that everything and everyone is in their way and that needs to stop.  Start driving safer today. Slow down if you speed. Pay attention to your own vehicle and those around you. Above all remember that you're not alone on the road.  If we all do it, the roads will be safer.


Jen said…
Great points, Muggsy. Never mind that I am leaving this comment via text update on my cell while I'm waiting in traffic on St. Germain.

jk. Thanks for the reminder, most of us could use it from the looks of my average drive to work in the morning.
Nataraj Hauser said…
Heh! I rode with a friend from Madison to Mt LaCrosse once to go skiing. If there was a car infront of us, he would follow no more than 15' off their bumper at highway speed. If there was no one in front of us he would speed up until he found someone to tailgate. I was white-knuckled. After two hours of this, I looked at him and said if he planned to drive the same way on the way home I wouldn't ride with him; he could drop me at a Greyhound station. He laughed. He genuinely believed he was in perfect control, and that he could stop in time. He was not to be dissuaded. He agreed to be less aggressive on the way home. Fast-forward 15 years and two kids. Guess who's Mr. Safety? He categorically denies the above event ever occurred. *rolls eyes*

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