Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Driving slower than me? Moron. Driving faster than me? Maniac.

Note: This post has been written keeping in mind my own flaws (Really? I have flaws?) as a driver. All incidents hereby mentioned are absolutely factual; they have been experienced first hand by this author. Any resemblances to any of my readers or their life experiences are strictly coincidental.

Disclaimer: Don't judge me after reading this! This is just the way my mind thinks sometimes. I'm only human.

How often do you feel while you are driving that you could teach a lesson or two to the fellow who just sped past you or the one who is chugging along at 15 mph lesser than the permissible speed limit?
Recently, I have been coming across more than my share of those drivers who according to me, passed their driving test either because:
a) The examiner was way too happy to deny anyone a licence that day (maybe he won a lottery).
b) The examiner was way too sleepy to even notice any of the errors made (maybe he/she was kept up by his/her spouse's snoring).
c) The examiner was swayed by the examinee's good looks (This reason didn't just occur to me; I have seen it happen in movies).
d) Some reason I am still blissfully unaware of.

Listed below are the categories classifying the various types of nut jobs a normal driver is subjected to:

The TORTOISE group: The name gives it away, it's no rocket science. These are the ones who will drive at the speed of 45 mph on a freeway having a maximum speed limit of 65 mph. No care in the world? Maybe. I admit, when I drive past them I sneak a quick glance in their direction in true Indian style, to see who this person is. Definitely not an angry glare, but a peek to see who is bothered to take the freeway and still drives at the normal road speed limit. Seniors over 60 are exempt from this rule of mine. If I see white hair, glasses, a neck craning over to look beyond the windshield, I only smile to myself and move on. They deserve nothing but respect. Taking control of your life and being independent by driving yourself places earns you brownie points in my blog at least!

The 'WE DON'T NEED NO INDICATORS' group: Really? Changing lanes without signalling that you are going to? Tch tch. Poor driving manners. Not only is that extremely dangerous, but also seems like an annoying attitude of 'I will do what I want to on the road. The others will adjust.' OR 'I am such an experienced driver. Who needs indicators.' We're sorry. Maybe we missed your bright personality which would indicate which lane you're getting into next.

The 'SPEEDSTERS' group: This happened to me. Just a couple weeks ago, I was changing lanes to exit (after flashing my indicator lights of course), and while I was almost mid-way through, by some stroke of good luck and good road sense I immediately turned right back into my lane. The reason? A white bright flash of light just sped past me at easily about 95 mph, and cruised away before I could even register what happened. I thank God multiple times that I did what I did. I missed my exit, but heck, I'm alive! So people who think they're the incarnations of Michael Schumacher, here's a news flash! YOU'RE NOT. If you still think you are, then kindly take your car and your rear to the track because that's where (you think) you belong.

The 'RULES ARE MEANT TO BE FOLLOWED RIGIDLY' group: Alright alright, this might seem paradoxical. You may think 'If she is preaching about driving rules, what is this all about?' Well, I never said I break rules. But bending them now and again is okay, and also officially acceptable by law. Why else is there a +/- 10 rule for speeding? The Speeding Rule: If the speed limit is 35 on the road, I do occasionally cruise on about 40. Likewise if it is 65 on the freeway, I subconsciously am cruising on about 70/72. Just seems like the right thing to do if the road is empty! But there are some people who wouldn't dare go beyond the '35' or the '65'. To them it seems like the right thing to do though, so will restrict from commenting too much here (because technically they aren't in the wrong).  The stop for 3 seconds before turning right at a red light rule: Believe me, this IS a rule. In California at least. And I can say that with a 100% confidence and surety because I just got a big fat ugly traffic ticket for not doing so. Readers, please DO follow this rule. I have seen a lot of people not follow this rule and get away scot-free. I was one of those too, because honestly I didn't know this rule existed! I thought it's stop-and-go. Unfortunately it isn't. So I felt like it's my moral obligation to include this rule here, just because I have been there (not) done that, and in the bargain had to spend 4 hours online passing my traffic school in addition to paying a hefty fine of $300. SO NOT WORTH IT.

The 'TALKERS & TEXTERS' group: Talk on the cell phone by all means if it is hands free and if you can exercise common judgment! I am not saying this because I talk on the phone myself during driving, but because it is permissible in California by law (I checked the DMV site twice and confirmed my research before putting this down in a public blog: If you don't have a hands free headset, use earphones or even the speaker option. But no, there are some who INSIST on holding the phone in their hands and let the car swerve anywhere from left to right! Especially the texters. We understand you're happy that you are now a grandfather, we understand that you're mad at your son for getting bad grades, we ALSO understand that you're yelling at your husband because he did not bring the detergent you wanted; please, just do it over the speaker.

The 'BEAUTY QUEENS' group: Being a girl, I understand the need to look pretty before stepping outside the house. I also agree that waking up early to get your hair or make-up done and sacrificing on those extra minutes of sleep IS a big deal. But what I don't get, is holding your phone between the ear and shoulder while applying lipstick quickly (which is a health hazard too; torticollis anyone? ). Or eye shadow-ing yourself at a stop light and not moving until someone is forced to honk for the line of cars to move. I'm sure there are perfectly nice restrooms at all our workplaces. Go use them.

I'm sure there are tons of other kinds of drivers who might be irking everybody at some point or the other. I'm not including all of those because firstly I do not want to be responsible for inducing driving rage in any of you (even if it is passively through my blog), and secondly I have to get to my yogurt for a quick recess before my next student shows up for his therapy session.

FOLLOW THE RULES! Bend them, don't break them :)