What is the worst traffic sin you can think of?

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What traffic crimes make you crazy?

Most things involving cell phones make me glad I don't own a handgun.

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999


Living in D.C., you sort of have to develop a tolerance for traffic crimes. There's a lot of tourists, a lot of taxis and not a lot of signs that might help tell you where you're going. Plus there's the usual one-way street and gridlock that every city has, not to mention the fact that one of the major streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, is blocked off now so nobody will take a shot at the President. I think the traffic system here was developed by wild sea otters.

So I can take people darting over three lanes at the last minute, or tying up traffic while they try to fit a cadillac in a space too small for a Yugo, or even delaying traffic off the Memorial Bridge trying to make an illegal left onto 23rd street, which only backs cars up about thirty miles or so. Nothing else works here, so why should traffic?

There is, however, one thing that have me thanking the Lord for the Brady Bill. Memo to drivers: If you're in the far left lane, you're supposed to be going faster than the cars in the far right lane, particularly if it's a major highway and there's nobody in front of you. It might be a sign you're going too slow if about 30 cars in a row dart around you like they're Jeff Gordon and you're some punk on a moped. I can't even count the time I've been stuck behind someone going 35 miles an hour on the Beltway, wishing I had a gun so I could shoot out the driver's tires and force the car to the shoulder.

Road rage: More effective than therapy, as long as you keep the windows rolled up so nobody else can hear you.


-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

I got into a cab the other night and I was really happy convinced I had the best cab driver in the world (he didn't give me any guff about going to Brooklyn at the tailend of rush hour) so we are zoomin along and he goes to turn on to 2nd ave at 14th street when this guy cuts him off and all of a sudden he turns from greatest cab driver ever into crazy road rage man. He speeds up moves into the other lane side swipes the guy and KEEPS DRIVING!!! I was scarred for my life the rest of the ride home. But I did get there in one piece. Since I don't drive that is about the worst I know of.

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

When I am Queen of the World, it will be a crime punishable by beheading for anyone to be on the road AT ALL when I'm trying to drive anywhere. Non-blinkered turns, driving slowly in the left lane,and not taking off IMMEDIATELY when the light turns green will have the added punishment of torture.

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

I recently moved to North Carolina after living in California all my life. I just want to know what it is about people out here that makes them unable to understand the concept of merging?

People out here refuse to get over and let you on the freeway, they just pretend they don't see you. It doesn't matter that absolutely no one is in the left lane, they are going to hog the right lane. Which leads to what I consider the ultimate traffic sin...... Being from California, an on ramp on the freeway to me says "fucking accelerate and get your ass over" But not out here...no no no just as I am picking up speed and checking over my shoulder to see which car I am going to have to cut off to get over I look up to see some ass completely stopped at the end of the on ramp with his blinker on. What the hell is that????? And I am not talking in bumper to bumper traffic. I am saying that everyone on the freeway is going 65 and this loser is at the end of the on ramp with his blinker on. So I end up having to whip out my race car driving moves to avoid killing both myself and the ass with the stopped car. I try not to be a road rager....but damn!!!!

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

The jerk yesterday who, when Broadway narrowed and I had to move over, decided that I could not be allowed to do so, and he had to floor it so he could go from 10 feet behind me to right in front of me just as I started to move over.

The most recent entry in Why Ashley Isn't Allowed A Gun.

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

Note to Detroit drivers:

That lane in the middle? You know the one, it's the one with no one drivng in it. Just so you know, it's not a merge lane. It's a left turn lane. If you are driving in it to merge while I'm trying to use it for it's originally intended purpose, you will kill me.

I don't like being killed, in general...

-- Anonymous, August 25, 1999

People who have something important to do other than driving their car, while they're still behind the wheel; usually, it involves leaning over into the passenger seat and disappearing from view for a few seconds, while still, theoretically, controlling the vehicle, so they can swap the tape out of the player or retrieve the toy that junior just tossed from the back seat. Thank god they have their priorities in order.

People who talk on cell phones fall into this broad category, but at least they're keeping their eyes on the road.

-- Anonymous, August 27, 1999

I've got a couple of new ones.

One: this morning I was walking down J Street, and an elderly man with a cane was trying to cross at about 26th Street. (Whichever block that is that has the light and the crosswalk.) The man wasn't walking particularly slowly, especially for someone using a cane, but some woman turning left actually honked at him. You know, unless you're driving an ambulance, your trip is not so fucking important that you can't wait 30 seconds or a minute for some poor guy to cross the street.

Two: bicycle riders, get off the fucking sidewalks. They just tore up my entire city to keep the cars away so you'd have nice quiet streets to ride on. Use them, or I'm going to start carrying big rocks and throwing them at your wheels.

Three: if you assholes at the bicycle shop don't stop parking in my space, I'm going to let the air out of your tires. Aren't you supposed to be riding bikes or something?

-- Anonymous, August 27, 1999

Okay, so last night I was racing home to get there in time for Buffy (which turned out to be not as good as I was hoping). Got to the merge from the highway to my byway....the guy in front of me looks left, sees open lanes, goes; I look left, see open lane and WHOMP! right into the guy. He moved forward about 15 feet and then just stopped. (why? please, can someone tell me WHY??)

Total damage on his car is about $20 (a bit of my black rubber bumper rubbed off on his bumper) but he insisted on calling the police to get a police report because "I don't even know you!". Man, whatever happened to the common civilities of traffic accidents???

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

The only bumper sticker I have ever been remotely tempted to drive around wearing is the one that says HANG UP AND DRIVE!

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

Stupid fuckheads who hit your car and then take off.

This happened to me on Friday after leaving work at the corner 6th and W. I was on W and she came across four lanes of traffic and hit me and then just kept on going.

The satisfaction: the police caught her and charged her with felony hit and run and some other vehicle code violations.

Bad news: I've been fighting contractions ever since and I still don't know if she has insurance. :/

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

I don't know what's the worst, but traffic sins that make me crazy include:

Not signalling

Not letting other drivers in when they signal

Not knowing how to get on the freeway (hint: you're supposed to accellerate)

Slowing down to like 5 miles an hour when you make a right turn, even if the intersection is totally clear, you can see clearly that there are no pedestrians, etc.

Last night I was driving on one of our local expressways and the car next me 1) was a Range Rover; 2) had his dome light on 3) would not let me into his lane even after I signalled for a long time; 4) the driver picked up his cell phone and made a call.

I finally got into that lane so I could make my left turn, wishing I had a gun.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2000

Driving when you don't need to.

Pedestrians are getting annihilated all over my town -- one death a week. We're too impatient, too quick to accelerate through an intersection, and don't have time to notice the kid or mother pushing a stroller or older person in the crosswalk.

San Francisco police have just said they're not going to go after cars that speed through crosswalks and endanger people because it's too dangerous for the cops. Not only that, but when people have been killed while crossing WITH the light and IN a crosswalk, the drivers are almost _never_ charged because 'it was just an accident.' What happened to the law - "the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right- of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk"(CVC 21950)? Some wonderful law enforcement officials we have.

Enough lip service of about "careful drivers" and how the "vast majority of drivers are responsible." That's bullshit. Everyone speeds. No one uses caution. No one respects life when they're behind the wheel, no one realizes the death, pain and sorrow that 'accidentally' hitting someone will cause.

So I wish people would just stop using their cars for every little thing. At the very _least_ you could be saving your conscience from an awful burden.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2000

Sorry, Dean, but I have to take extreme exception to this:

That's bullshit. Everyone speeds. No one uses caution. No one respects life when they're behind the wheel, no one realizes the death, pain and sorrow that 'accidentally' hitting someone will cause.

Not everyone speeds, many people are cautious, and most people respect life, or there would be a lot more dead pedestrians than there currently are. I'm with you in spirit, because I walk almost everywhere and I nearly get killed several times a week. But most drivers do see me and try not to kill me. It's a healthy percentage who don't, but I'd never say that ALL drivers are terrible and out to endanger my life.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2000

Everything on this list applies for all Americans (not just some Americans in some states). We have to be the worst trained and behaved drivers in the 1st world. I have travelled extensively and lived in Germany (7 years) England (9 years) and Holland (2years) I have also lived in New York (metro area) and I now live in NC.

1. People speed up when you are trying to merge onto an Interstate or similar multi lane road. Instead of moving over to let you in they just stare ahead pretending they haven't seen you and try to close the door on you (figure of speech)

2. People not moving over to a slower lane when you want to pass them

3. People passing on the right (very dangerous, the right hand side has a huge blind spot) before even giving you a chance to move over.

4. People staying in the far left lanes even though there is no one left on the other lanes to pass. You are supposed to drive right and pass left. Always keep to the right unless you need to pass someone. It's not a fast lane it's a passing lane. If you have more than two lanes in each direction all lanes except the far right are passing lanes.

5. People who don't have the foggiest idea how to use a traffic circle (Most of us Americans).

6. People who imaptiently creep forward over the pedestrian crossing at a red light and when the light changes to green take 30 seconds to react.

7. People who tailgate. Almost no one knows what the safe following distance is. You often hear 1 car's length or two cars' lengths per ten miles an hour. What kind of car Town Car or Festiva. The correct follwing distance is a minumum of 2 seconds (Not distance, but time. 3 seconds is even better) that way regardless of your speed you always have enough time/distance to stop (time x speed = distance) Pick a fixed object at the side of the road, once the car in front has passed it you should be able to count 1 one thousand 2 one thousand before you pass it. If you can't, you are too close. Because you are using time to measure distance required the faster you are traveling the great the distance will be between you and the vehicle in front even though the time remains the same. Time x speed = distance

8. People who read maps or even papers while they are driving.

9. People who use their cell phones while driving. (It's ok to use your phone if you can do it remotely and dial the number reuired by voice command)

After having lived in Germany, a country with no speed limit at all on most of it's Autobahns (Freeways) After seeing that even with such high speeds they still have less accidents and less road fatalities than we do (per capita), I think we need a much more stringent test and we should also require much more stringent driver education.

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2001

It seems a lot of people on this site, are blaming other people for their own impatience. If someone won't let you in slow down a little and slot in behind them, it's not worth having a heart attack over. If you side swipe someone because they slowed or stopped and you didn't look to see if it was clear, it's not their fault it's yours. I now live in Raleigh NC and find the drivers there no worse than any where else in our lovely country. Most of us are really quite bad drivers in one or more ways. Fast doesn't mean bad, bad means bad, that's what you a taught in Germany, I lived there for several years.

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2001

When I owned a little VW Golf, it never failed; a big truck would see me zooming along the highway, and just when I'm close enough, he would pull out. It wouldn't hurt him if we collided. Well, until he went to the big house and became his cell-mate's honey, then it would hurt but not at the moment of collision. Lucky for me the brakes were damn good on that little car. I don't know if that counts as a sin, but how about this: Guys (usually guys) zooming along like racecar drivers weaving in and out of lanes. One time there were two such assholes and almost slammed into each other right in front of me.

And that woman who honked at the man with the cane? A pox on her. May she be doomed to drive nothing but lemons for the rest of her life. I've almost been hit by people like that myself, and usually it is because they are trying to turn on a straight arrow.

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2001

People in my residential neighborhood seem to thing that the stop signs are optional. They barely slow down for blind 4-way stop intersections. I nearly get hit at one of the three stops in my neighborhood at least once a week. (I almost get hit from behind at least twice a week because I actually STOP. Then I get yelled at and raged upon.)

The other thing that drives me batty is my fellow residents speeding through my part of the neighborhood. I live at the very back of the subdivision. Do these people understand that driving 40mph around a blind curve with a plethora of kids about is NOT a good idea? I guess they're willing to sacrifice the life of a child so they can get home 30 seconds sooner.

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2001

I used to do the DC commute on the capitol beltway for three years. I could handle most anything that came my way. Now I take public transportation. The commuter train, which is much nicer than the regular metro rail. I used to think that I had a high tolerance, was a mild mannered person, could handle anything. Now I realize how LESS stressful my commute is and I can't believe I put up with traffic for as long as I did.

but in response to the question: the worst traffic sin I can think of would be when you are coming off an exit ramp and the person behind you darts around and cuts you off. How rude!

-- Anonymous, March 08, 2001

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