Ten Habits of Highly Incompetent Drivers

Nearly all of us spend time driving these days. The unavoidable evils associated with this necessity can be infuriating, even to the most patient individuals--a club of which I am not a member. And for someone like me, who gets impatient when my mouse click doesn't generate the desired response in one-half of a second and starts clicking the same thing endlessly until it responds or crashes, driving can be a little stressful. So as a therapeutic remedy, I have decided to use this post to vent some of my frustration. I'm sure none of you that are reading would ever do any of these things!

The ten habits of highly incompetent drivers is not targeted at people who drive a certain way for a good reason. For instance, if you have young children in your car, you may decide to drive slower than the average driver. Fine. If you like to drive faster than normal because you like funding the local police department, that's okay with me. Fast and slow are only part of the equation. There are things drivers can do or not do that display for all the world that they are either mentally inept by nature, or simply are not applying their brains to the task at hand. Read on.

#1 Stopping in a designated right turn lane when there is an available lane (see image).

Almost every weekday I end up behind one of these people when I get off the interstate on my drive home. That car is stopped in the right turn lane waiting for traffic to clear up when they have their very own lane to drive in that is ALWAYS open. Go!

Clearly there are reasons why you should stop--a pedestrian or bicycle is crossing the lane or there is an accident that happened directly in front of you! But if these haven't happened, go!

#2 Not paying attention to the green light

I bet we've all been in that left turn lane with 74 cars in front of us. We hope and pray the light stays green long enough for us to sneak through. Then what happens? The light turns green and... and... and... why are we not moving? Because genius brain in the front of the pack is doing who-knows-what and has no idea that the light is green. Of course, he gets to go no matter what, so it's no skin off his back that he just caused 17 people to miss the light. 

#3 Slow driver in the fast lane (and no left exit)

Perhaps one of the most cardinal rules of driving is that the left lane is intended for passing. If someone is driving 15 mph slower than the rest of the cars, does that sound like passing? Not to me. 

#4 Policophobia

The presence of a police officer on the road does NOT mean you must drive 10 mph under the speed limit. It's legal to drive the speed limit. You can't get a ticket for driving the speed limit. If you like to drive slow, see #3 please.

#5 "Everyone will just have to wait for me."

You've come across these folks, haven't you? They're in parking lots, on the streets, and sometimes in the aisles of Wal-Mart. They meander around in unpredictable patterns at speeds that would bore a turtle, taking up the maximum amount of space possible. They turn at will, slow down, and even stop without ever giving a thought to how their actions might affect people around them. These people usually drive SUVs because someone who loves them knows they drive like they're under anesthesia and told them they needed an SUV if they want to keep living.

#6 "My car is my office and my kitchen."

For some reason we think distracted driving was born when texting became popular. Nope. People have been distracting themselves on the road ever since their transportation was not based on living creatures (you have to pay attention to your horse or it might kill you). So here is the list of things to stop doing in your car while driving:

A. Doing anything on your phone other than talking
B. Sorting through papers
C. Putting ANY type of cosmetic product on your body
D. Transferring liquids between containers
E. Alphabetizing documents in your glove box
F. Changing your clothes
G. Organizing your purse
H. Getting anything out of your purse
I. Looking at your purse (maybe you should just put it in the trunk to be safe)
J. Programming the preset stations on your stereo (it can wait)

#7 Hesitant merger

If you are planning to get on the freeway, you might want to think about going fast--like over 50.

#8 "Four-way stops are just so confusing."

No. No they're not. There are simple rules, none of which are, "Wait at the stop sign until someone else makes their move."

#9 "Why should I turn my headlights on?"

Because it's dark and/or raining smarty pants. Turn them on or I will get behind you and flash my high beams at you continuously.

#10 "I'm hungry. Look, there's McDonald's!"

I get it. Your stomach sends a message to your brain that survival is contingent upon obtaining an extra double super sized cheeseburger with salty grease fries and a diet coke. It's instinctive to need food, but cutting across four lanes of traffic with no blinker going 55 in a 40 seems a little extreme, don't you think? If you drive another mile or so, there will be another McDonald's. Mind over matter folks. Mind over matter.

Image credits:
Right turn lane image from http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/bicycles/description_of_strat.htm
'Green means go' image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/75797208@N00/2831769141/
Oblivious person image has copyright information in image
Four-way stop image Copyright of How Stuff Works

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