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How about this? If I were a really stupid driver, I would damn well leave the car in the driveway and take a cab. How would I know if I were a really stupid driver? Let me count the ways.

I was at a stop sign, signalling a left turn on to a busy street during rush hour. The cars were coming along in both directions, often at awkwardly-spaced intervals. A driver two cars back was leaning on his horn — beeeep beeeeep — to the point that I wish now I had put my car in Park, turned off the ignition, walked back to him and said, sternly, with no question mark implied, “What!”

I could have said, “Listen, you moron, from where I’m sitting, I’m the one who can judge whether I’m going to pull out into traffic. While you were beeping, I had a bus coming in one direction and I couldn’t see around it, to see if there was traffic in the other lane. I had a pedestrian and two bicycles crossing in front of me at the same time as there was a slight break in the traffic. I know when it is safe — for me and everyone else — to proceed and blowing your bleeping horn is not going to make any difference!”

Should I have done it? He was such a hothead, he probably would have hit me. Maybe with this:


While I’m on the subject, are you one of those people who sits in the middle lane at a red light and then, when the light changes, you put your left turn signal on and hold up a long line behind you — who had no idea you were going to turn? Would it kill you to signal before the traffic builds behind you? Try using the rule of Doug Bethune, CBC Radio Maritime Noon’s expert on “automotive matters.” Doug says to put your signal light on before you start to brake when you’re approaching a stop sign/red light and you plan to turn left. I try — and it’s not very hard — to practice what Doug preaches.

Another thing that shouldn’t be very hard is turning from one street on to another. In, oh I don’t know, about 99 per cent of the cases, the angle of that turn is going to be around 90 degrees. Try to remember that! Stop cutting across the top of the street you’re turning into, hoping that you’ll save a few feet of travel, meanwhile causing me to slam my brakes on and you to swerve foolishly to miss hitting me as I’m innocently approaching the stop sign!

slow down

This is the sign (read “highway” instead of “freeway”) that I would like to see in Sobey’s parking lot. In most parking lots, in fact. What is wrong with you people? It’s a parking lot! Why can’t I push my shopping cart from the store back to my car without taking my life in my hands? Are you really in that much of a hurry or do you just like the sound of your tires squealing as you tear around from one aisle of the lot to the next. If anyone’s doing a survey, put me down in favour of speed bumps. Signs, unfortunately, don’t work.

Before we leave the parking lot (and I’m going to include this even though my sweet husband is sometimes one of the offenders): Stop wasting everybody’s time by trying to back into that parking space while the rest of us are forced to sit there in a pathetic and growing line-up watching as you shunt around, trying to get ‘er straightened out, completely oblivious to the traffic that can’t get past while you indulge this whim! It doesn’t make any sense anyway. You’re at the grocery store/mall/Canadian Tire! Chances are, you’ll want access to your trunk when you come out. Why not park so your trunk is closer and your life will be easier?

That’s all. You know who you are so smarten up. (And please feel free to tell me what bugs you out there on the streets and highways.)

P.S. You will have noticed that I didn’t attribute any gender characteristics to these bad driving habits — maybe with the exception of referring to “my sweet husband.” However, here is an article on the subject from a newspaper in Bangalore, of all places, that amused me.

2 Responses

  1. #1
    Bonnie Arnold 

    Hi Sharon.
    I must admit, I have a heayy foot while driving and it’s good to have reminders from others to SLOW down.
    One of my major beefs is when people tailgate. I find it very dangerous and
    very distracting knowing someone could cause a major pile-up.
    Really enjoy your comments….keep them coming.
    Cheers from P.E.I
    Bonnie (Morrison) Arnold

  2. One thing that irritates me is people who pull up tight behind the line of traffice stopped ahead of them blocking someone trying to, for example, come across the lane and make a left turn into the empty oncoming lane. The unconscious driver isn’t going anywhere and prevents the person to his or her side from going anywhere for no reason at all.
    A driver can often be helpful too by slowing or stopping to let an oncoming vehicle turn left across his or her right of way. Sometimes this slight delay can release a dozen or more vehicles behind the one waiting to make the left turn.
    I do find most drivers courteous and generous. When there is bridge work in Miramichi and traffic is reduced to one lane, vehicles on the main highway and vehicles on the ramps automatically take turns when it is their side of the bridge’s turn.
    I also believe it is best not to overreact when someone makes a mistake. We all do and it is not usually productive to add to the stress of the situation.

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