Nothing reveals a person’s true character more than driving. It does not matter how decent a human is face to face, behind the wheel of a car sits someone with a different demeanor. Think of it in terms of watching a show like Supernatural or Grimm where the seemingly handsome or beautiful person turns, and suddenly the demon under the outer layer is shown for everyone around to see it. In Freud’s terms, that superego disappears faster than candy on an unattended teacher’s desk. Sans superego, there are many different types of drivers out there.
You have the retired drivers; we used to call them the blue hairs, but that seems sexist, and I think men are just as poor at driving and hair dying as women. These folks don’t have to hurry at all because they have nothing else to do, save for visiting doctors and lawyers. That is not a poor character trait, but it does seem to bring out the worst in the rest of us. It is probably to their advantage that they don’t go anywhere quickly in case they forget to stop or stay on their side of the road. I used to think that for population control, the powers that be would open the nursing home doors and say, “Go forth and maim!” Now as I close in on nursing home age, I think it is a terrible way to look at things, and I am sure that I never actually thought that (See benefits of dementia). Most of us reveal our own lack of character as we scream at them, “Good grief, Gramps, get out of the road, for the love of Bob!”
Then you have the big-haired Texas SUV driver (indigenous to Texas, but has counterparts in every state, with the exceptions of Hawaii and Alaska), whose male equivalent is the gold-chained luxury car driver. They are the ones that believe the entire world should cow-tow to them. They cut you off in traffic quite often, and they always win the parking wars. No matter how long you have been sitting with your blinker on waiting for that parking space, they swoop in and dare you to hit them, all the while giving you the “You-have-some-nerve” and “it-is-always-your-fault” look and gesture (we have all experienced the one-fingered wave, which is a different finger on dirt roads than on the highway).
Next, you have the people who either do not understand taking turns or refuse to take turns. This is very apparent at a four way stop. There is a saying for that: “If you don’t know what to do at a four way stop, give up. Life only gets harder from here.”-Unknown. I honestly believe that people know what to do, they just refuse to do it. These people make you angrier than a cat dressed in a Halloween costume, and in case you are not familiar, that is as angry as a woman falling into a toilet with the seat up at 2 in the morning. If you still cannot relate, then you have indeed led a charmed life.
You have the people that have stickers all over their vehicles proclaiming themselves Christian, frequent urinators, political savantes or most likely to sexually harass someone. Most of those are pretty selfish drivers, and I find it ironic that a person who advertises himself or herself all over the vehicle still thinks that the cloak of anonymity keeps them from having to behave on the road ways.
Let me take a moment to address the outlandishly expensive sports cars and monster trucks who drive as though they compensate for small anatomical parts, brains and beyond. These people are often stereotyped as drug dealers, pimps or just big-ego-small-IQ people. Their narcissistic attitudes can cause them to be a nuisance on the road as well as in bars. While I am going down this slippery slope, I must make mention of the pickups with the “decorative” (I use this term in the loosest sense) testicles hanging off the back bumper. I would call that redneck, but my family is full of rednecks, and I have never seen those at any family reunion of mine. I think that those are a whole other level of uncouth, and more than compensating for lack of size, they must be prostheses for those who actually have none. You know, even if we ignore the classless side of this accessory, I would think that it would bother someone to have something so unattractive adorning the vehicle, and even though I have long thought that we need to quit revering youth and honor age (only because I got old, of course), the saggy and droopy-looking genitalia looks like it belongs in a Speedo thong on Miami Beach with the wrinkled and retired. That is something I could not unsee from my vacation day on that beach one year, so my mind made that comparison.
The drivers that confound me the most are the texting drivers. Time and time again it has been proven that texting while driving is worse than playing Russian roulette, yet on a daily basis I see people texting while driving and in many cases, speeding as well. Just like drunk drivers, if you want to kill yourself, it is up to you, but in the names of my future grandchildren, don’t take someone else out with you! If we all put “Go Pro” cameras on our cars and snapped pictures of them texting along with their license plates every time we saw someone do this, and then we assigned a task force to show up at their homes to give them a $5000 fine, perhaps we could eventually stop this practice. But realistically this task force is not going to happen. Perhaps someone could invent a car that disables all phones the driver touches while the car is in gear. I know it’s another long shot, but if a car can drive itself for Google, then that technology might be possible.
Finally, I address the school zone drivers who commit egregious fouls, the least of which is driving too fast. Let’s focus on parents. Their children learn from them very quickly that rules do not apply to their family. Am I the only one out there that has always thought all rules applied to me? Even rules that are not applicable to me, I think are made for me! Just today I nearly ran into a vehicle that did not wish to wait in the drop off line, so she went ‘in” the “exit” lane and passed vehicles in line to double park and let her child out. Clearly she is far too busy and important to wait with everyone else.
Delving further into the drop off issues, I see four types of parents dropping off children. First there is the teacher pleaser, and as a teacher, they please me. They do it by the book, but this is a very small percentage of the population. Next you have the helicopter parents who will not have their children ready themselves in any way before the ultimate drop off point, nor will they do anything to help expedite the process. These folks do this whether the weather is 30 or 70 degrees, rain or shine. They are going to make certain that their babies do not take one unnecessary step. To further exacerbate that situation, the child usually has to stand at the window and have the talk that they should have had the night before about when they want to go shopping for prom dresses and whether the guy in the blue cap totally glanced their way. This practice actually causes other people in the drop-off line to embrace the practice of breaking the rules. Then there are the parents at the opposite end of the spectrum; they are the ones who drop their child off in four lanes of moving traffic to play real life “Frogger” and dodge all of those other rule-breaking drivers. And last but not least, we have parents who have no time or patience for the entire child rearing process. They just get within 200 feet of the school to slow, and as they pull away you can hear them yelling, “Tuck and roll, find a way home, now tuck and roll.” Pretty sure that there are a lot of “tuck and roll’ drivers out there teaching us about life on the roadways.