By on May 8, 2013

Left Lane Priuses courtesy zazzle.comWe are bombarded with messages about the dangers of drunk driving, of the hazard of talking and texting on cell phones while driving, and the need to give a wide berth to folks driving Zipcars. We think there are many other varieties of unsafe motorists that get no attention from the media. As a public service, let’s take a look five subtle, but equally scary, drivers that make the highways a real challenge.

Prius Drivers NOT Blocking The Left Lane

These drivers scare me the most: Prius pilots running 20 miles per hour under the flow of traffic while in the right lane of a freeway, eyes glued to their fuel consumption gauge. They clearly did not read their owner’s manual, which spells out they are required to hold up traffic in the left lane. They are an unpredictable lot, prone to uneven speeds and sudden braking, unlike their left-lane brethren who you know are never going to yield to faster cars and thus you can adjust accordingly.

Drivers With Cars With Too Many Bumper Stickers

Van with bumper stickers Courtesy commons.wikimedia.org

Question: When was the last time you saw a vehicle with more than two bumper stickers running quickly and unobtrusively through traffic? Answer: You never have. To these motorists, a car is not even an appliance – it is a bulletin board used to express their political views. I don’t think they realize that people cannot read their messages due to the clouds of blue smoke belching out the tailpipes of their beaters.

Driver Who Insist On Holding Fluffy In Their Lap

Dog in Car Courtesy gopetfriendlyblog.com

Your cell phone won’t poop or pee in your lap or yap at other cars. Besides distracting the driver, dogs can and do get injured or die by falling out of vehicles. The state of Hawaii has already banned motorists from holding animals while driving and three other states can ticket you under distracted driving laws. If they sport more than two bumper stickers, call the highway patrol.

Drivers Of Dump Trucks And Gravel Trucks

I hate gravel trucks courtesy ladiesofthegrove.blogspot.com

I have the greatest respect for professional truck drivers. These are not professional truck drivers. They are usually minimum wage, minimum brain and, in my neck of the woods, minimum English speaking individuals. Whether cracking your windshield – always directly in your line of sight – by shooting up an errant rock or mowing down a group of motorcyclists, these goons may be the very worst drivers on the road. And good luck going after the trucking company to replace your windshield: did you ever see a dump truck with a readable license plate?

Drivers Who Brake With Their Left Foot

Audi braking Courtesy montecarloforum.com

Anytime you spot a car with its brake lights stuck on, you can bet the driver is resting his or her left foot on the brake pedal. (I give Land Rover drivers a pass on this one, as their taillights may genuinely be stuck on permanently.)  If you are behind one and they slam on the brakes, you will have no way of knowing they are stopping and if you hit them you will be deemed responsible. Any old-time used car manager can tell you they used to judge brake wear by the scuffing on the left side of a brake pedal. I really thought these folks had all died off, as the teaching of left footed braking in driver’s education ended decades ago, but it appears to be making a comeback.

I know you can add many other obscure terrible drivers to this list…

 



			
    	    


        
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127 Comments on “Tales From The Cooler: Disregarded Dreadful Drivers...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ll add the left footed braker’s cousin, Mr./Mrs. stabby brakes.

    Your speed krept 3 mph above the speed limit? Better stab the brakes.
    That car 2 miles adead put it’s brake lights on? You better too.
    A car is approaching quickly from the rear? Jab the brakes.
    Merging onto the freeway and there’s cars? Better slow down.
    Fleeting thought on a lonesome country road? Tap the pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I totally agree – I was always taught that braking on the highway should be avoided if possible. Just take your foot off the gas.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m a huge fan of looking far ahead and coasting. Using your brakes wastes fuel by releasing stored energy in the form of wasted heat, no thanks.

        I burnt that fuel and now I’m gonna roll on it as long as I can.

    • 0 avatar
      bjchase55

      Those people annoy me, especially when I can maintain a comfortable distance without using the brake at all. Sometimes I like to play a little game with those people. Everytime they tap the brake, I flash my high beams. I have no clue if they get what I am doing, but regardless it lightens my mood some.

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        I play a similar game, but when people change lanes without using a turn signal. Whenever someone shifts lanes without a turn signal, and I am behind them, I flash my lights. I think that they are always utterly confused. I always wished there were a way they could ask “why are you flashing your high beams”, so I could answer “I just wanted to let you know that you have a turn signal out and should probably get it fixed”.

        • 0 avatar
          cannyfriar

          When I moved from the UK to Germany, I had to learn two languags – German, and Autobahndeutsch. In the UK, if someone’s indicating to overtake a truck, the vernacular is that you flash your lights to say “I see you, chap, come on out.” I did that one time when I first moved – and boy, did that have an effect, more to the tune of “Get outta ma way!” (expletives to be added at liberty, in a variety of languages)

  • avatar
    jmo

    Also, having recently come back from a Florida vacation, can someone recall when the Florida legislature decided that the left lane should be travel land and the right lane should be passing lane, on the highway?

    • 0 avatar
      Battlehawk

      Funny you should mention that. The state Senate only last month passed a bill making impeding traffic in the left lane ticketable. I hadn’t yet heard if it passed the House.

      • 0 avatar
        parabellum2000

        Almost 10 years ago the FHP patrol released a study that cited slow traffic in the left lane as one of the primary causes of accidents on the interstate. They stated that something like 10% of drivers would speed excesively no matter what the speed limit was set to, 60% would tend to speed at between 75-80 mph because that was a comfortable speed and kept up with traffic. A certain percentage would never do the speed limit because they weren’t comfortable at highway speeds.

        They recommended ticketing people obstructing the left lane and raising the speed limits on the Interstates to 75 or 80mph. Both houses past the bill and Jeb Bush Vetoed it.

        He made a comment about how we shouldn’t be ticketing safe drivers and speed limits were fast enough. I remember thinking at the time that he probably had not driven himself anywhere in the past 8 or more years and we should force him to drive from Tallahassee to Miami and see if he reconsidered.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    You got me pegged. I plead guilty. I am in the right lane in my Prius often going less than the speed limit. But to make matters worse, I am often over the limit too.
    However sudden stops just are not part of the program, they waste kinetic energy.

    This should be a fun thread. After all, stereotyping other drivers is a near universal thing people do.

    Let’s talk pimped out pickup truck drivers, Toyota FJ40 drivers (lots of them where I live and are frequently very aggressive), beetle drivers, semi-truck drivers, elderly drivers, (In my case) tourist drivers, bike riders, motorcycles, pedestrians, drivers on cell phones, fast and furious small sedans with fart can mufflers, and many many more.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      I get your point. But naw, why bother with all those others. Prius drivers are much more fun to target. They can’t be missed because they are going “nowhere”. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I have yet to see one of the lane-blocking Prius drivers on the interstates around here. The Priuses I see are usually traveling at 75 mph or higher.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          I see them all the time in California, along with many other people who block the left lane. Priuses seem disproportionate among this number, however, compared to overall freeway traffic.

          As I mentioned yesterday, it’s against California Vehicle Code for slower traffic not to stay left, no matter how fast the passing vehicle is going.

          Pimped out trucks are another bad one, but I don’t run across as many where I typically drive. Bigger problem going towards the Sierras or the Central Valley.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            I think Priuses seem disproportionate because there are so many of them on the roads in CA. I see quite a few of them genuinely hauling ass. It’s bizarre.

            I actually have more problems with pickup trucks blocking the left lane. Not the jacked up and blinged out trucks either – regular contractors and landscapers.

            For all the complains in the comments about left lane banditry in CA, I remember the problem being far worse in MA. It might just be the highway I typically drive on (280 down the peninsula). Driving skill/etiquette varied quite a bit depending on the highway in MA. Maybe it’s the same in CA?

            On the CA Vehicle Code, did you mean to say it is against code for slower traffic to stay left?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve always hated the Mister/Miss Goody-Goody. You know, the people who insist on going exactly the speed limit despite having zero traffic and being on a completely un-policed back road.

    If you’re THAT afraid of getting a ticket, then just stop driving.

    • 0 avatar
      ChrisKeeley

      I do this if and only if there’s something wrong beyond my control that bad enough to get stopped for alone but would cause a hefty ticket if I was stopped for speeding.

      In the past this has usually been driving with an ancient flatbed trailer with a short SOMEWHERE in the wiring so the lights didn’t work. I spent several months trying to figure out how to fix it (not constantly obviously, I’m busy) but only got it down recently. The needs of my job meant I had to use it despite the light issue.

      The trailer was safe to drive with – I only go out during daylight and nothing I put on it would obstruct my tow vehicle’s taillights – but it still would have caused a nasty ticket.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Well see, that makes sense. You have good reason to avoid the fuzz.

        Of course, I see plenty of people with tailights out that never get caught…

  • avatar
    strafer

    Hate the traffic directors at 4 way stop signs.
    If you have the right of way, just go instead of waving everyone else to go first.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      This is the one that makes me crazy. I guess at some point they decided they just couldn’t handle looking and thinking at a 4-way stop, so their solution is to just pull up and wave everybody through. Except it just wastes everybody’s time.

      John

  • avatar
    wagic

    Drivers that engage their turn signals AS they are turning. Please, they are not intended to assist you in your turn. They are intended to indicate your UPCOMING turn to other drivers. If you engage them as you are turning you may as well not use them at all.

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      Many people DON’T use them at all (at least where I live), so 1/10th of a second notification is maybe marginally better than no notification. But yes, generally speaking I agree.

    • 0 avatar
      wsimon

      Unfortunately, up in Philly and NYC during rush hour this is a requirement; if you signal for any reasonable amount of time someone will have already cut you off.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yeah, people are stupid. How many times have you seen someone driving like a maniac, weaving from lane to lane, tailgating people, cutting people off, etc., all the while you are driving your normal steady pace and not being an asshole, and you find yourself next to that guy at your exit ramp several miles down the road?

        The incremental gain from not letting someone into your lane is often nil.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yeah, people are stupid. How many times have you seen someone driving like a maniac, weaving from lane to lane, tailgating people, cutting people off, etc., all the while you are driving your normal steady pace and not being an a-hole, and you find yourself next to that guy at your exit ramp several miles down the road?

        The incremental gain from not letting someone into your lane is often nil.

  • avatar
    parabellum2000

    I’d add the wannabe traffic directors to the list. These are the people who will stop moving traffic with their car to let other cars out of parking lots or merge into traffic.

    To be clear, I’m not talking about slowing down a little to let someone over, I’m talking about stopping dead and waving 5 or 6 cars making right turns into a 6 lane road with a 50 mph speed limit. Recently an old man stopped in front of me, at a green light, to wave pedestrians across the intersection. Of course, no one in the other lane stopped so the best the pedestrians could do was making it half way across the street, but he waiting until the our light was red, to make sure they got across!!!

    As for the evil rock trucks, can anyone comment on the legal validity of “we are not responsible for damage to your vehicle” sticker plastered on the back of those trucks. In my area these guys almost never properly secure their load, speed, strew debris everywhere. How can a sticker absolve them of responsibility.

    • 0 avatar
      jd418197

      “As for the evil rock trucks, can anyone comment on the legal validity of “we are not responsible for damage to your vehicle” sticker plastered on the back of those trucks. In my area these guys almost never properly secure their load, speed, strew debris everywhere. How can a sticker absolve them of responsibility.”

      It all depends (how’s that for a lawyer answer?), but generally a sticker that claims “we are not responsible” means very little as to actual responsibility. If a dump truck driver/company has a load that was secured negligently and something flies off and kills you, of course they’re responsible for the negligence. Those notices are just that – notices that could help limit some liability – but they’re not the total disclaimers they purport to be. Now, if people assume they’re total disclaimers and never seek any recourse when a rock flies off one of these trucks, they sort of served their purpose anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I’m guessing that one goal of those stickers is to encourage drivers to back off from following the gravel truck too closely. If you can read that sticker while traveling at 55 mph or higher, you’re probably too close to the gravel truck in the first place.

        If your car is damaged, and you took the company that owns the truck to court, I doubt that this sticker would absolve the company of ANY liability. Of course, most of the time you’ll pay more in court costs and attorney fees than you’ll get back in damages. That is a bigger deterrent to suing the owner of the truck than the sticker itself.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          And of course it may well be that they’re *already* not responsible, legally, and the sticker is just *reminding you of that*, to tell you to keep back.

          (And in the worst case to keep Mr. “Already Cracked” from tailgating and then claiming “They Broke My Windshield!”

          I’ve only ever seen gravel trucks driven pretty responsibly, around here, myself. Turns out, though, that gravel is both a) necessary and b) impossible to keep 100% in the truck.

          Try not following them so close if you’re worried about a windshield.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “How can a sticker absolve them of responsibility.”

      It doesn’t, but people who don’t know better believe it and won’t sue.

      Same thing with those valet tickets that say they aren’t responsible for anything — it’s nonsense.

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    Ok, I admit, I’m a left foot braker. My only excuse is that I learned to drive with a stick shift and moving over to automatics few years later with right-foot-only felt weird. So I rest my left foot on the floor/dead pedal but do use it apply brakes.

    Also, I dare anyone to try driving an old turbo Volvo without occasionally two footing it at left turns. You need that extra second to pick up boost if you want to make that gap.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      How does that make any sense? With a stick you’re right foot braking. I don’t know what kind of cars you learned to drive on, but a brake and clutch pedal SHOULD feel completely different.

  • avatar
    Wacko

    I’ll add the drivers who press on the brakes when they see a cop car. But the worst ones are the toyota drivers who see a cop car.
    First they are already 10 under the limit, but once they see a cop they are at half the speed limit.

    • 0 avatar
      DemosCat

      A big peeve of mine is everyone putting on the brakes for a cop car with the lights on and ticketing someone. Hello people! That cop is busy – there’s no need to slow down. It’s the cop hiding behind the bushes you need to worry about.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Depends on what lane you are in. If you are in the right lane, you are supposed to slow down or move over. Not buzz the cop exposed on the shoulder while driving at the speed of traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Or when the entire freeway slows down for the cop in the median who’s LIDARing the OTHER SIDE!

      (In that case, if you can do so without pi$$ing-off other drivers in front of you, it’s thoughtfull to blink your lights a couple times to warn oncoming traffic of the trap.)

  • avatar
    justgregit

    I’m going to expand the left foot braking to anyone who has to use their brakes period in moving traffic. If you are on the freeway, are giving proper following distances, and there isn’t some sort of major delay (construction, accident, etc), there should rarely be times you actually need to use your brakes (other than when people cut you off, but that is somewhat less likely if you are leaving space in front of you where someone can fit in).

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    Observation, anticipation and planning are the solution to many of the problems highlighted here – for the perpetrators and victims alike. You can usually tell if the car in front is going to do something silly if you watch it (and the vehicles and road ahead of it) carefully enough and give it a wide berth before it swerves or slows down with little warning.

    Signals are for warning other road users of your presence or intentions, never for giving instructions (waving, flashing or honking another car out of a side-road could be misinterpreted by a pedestrian that you may not have seen yourself as you saying that it is safe to cross the road) and should only ever be used after checking that it is safe to use them first.

    Overtaking is something that should only ever be done when you judge it to be legal, safe and necessary. Speed limits are usually there for a reason; a seemingly quiet country road may have any number of vulnerable road users just around the next hidden bend, junction, dip or crest.

    The golden rule would be that if you can’t stop in the distance that you can see, you should slow down.

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      Another_pleb must be a prius driver

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        If you’re going to revert to ad-hominem then fair enough, but please show me where in my previous post that I made any statement that makes me one of the ‘dreadful drivers’ in the article’s title.

        I haven’t written or alluded to anything that isn’t commonly taught to advanced drivers anywhere. The ‘system of car control’ and ‘limit point vision’ are fairly well-known and easy to comprehend concepts and they allow me to have excellent vision, awareness and control so that I can make swift and effective progress safely and courteously benefitting me, my car, my passengers and other road users.

        For the record, I am passionate about driving, I have never driven a hybrid car in my life and you sir, are a prick.

        • 0 avatar
          Wacko

          I may be a prick, but at least I ain’t a whinny little bitch.

          I just made a joke since your comment sounded like a momma’s boy.

          For the record grow some balls!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Be cool man.

          • 0 avatar
            another_pleb

            Hardly, I was merely explaining how to avoid getting into a situation where you will become stressed out by the actions of your fellow motorists.

            Not everything has to be about you, you know.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Wacko, maybe you should have spent some time in school learning to spell.

            “Whinny” is a soft neigh. It is not an adjective, and it makes no sense as you have used it in your sentence.

          • 0 avatar

            Wacko sure sounds like a “whinny little bitch”.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Mummy! Is that you?

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I-94 next to me in IL is 55mph. 4 lanes each way, large shoulders, flat.

      Just east of I-94 are some 1 lane each way no shoulder, hills. Same speed limit.

      WTF?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Speed limits are usually there for a reason”

      Yea, to write more traffic tickets.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Exactly. If they aren’t set to 85th percentile, they’re set too low. Please read above where Jeb Bush didn’t understand this principle.

        It actually makes traffic less safe to have huge speed differentials in traffic. When you set the speed limit too low, there are a large number of people who disregard it and a large number of people who will mostly obey it. If you set the speed limit at 85th percentile, you have a lower speed differential generally, and the safety statistics are generally better.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      The general rule of thumb is that speed limits are two generations out of date.

      When the Interstate was laid out and built to accommodate 75 MPH traffic composed entirely of 1950s-era technology, there is no justifiable reason for a 65 or 70 mph speed limit.

  • avatar
    SkiDad

    Drivers who slow down to the speed limit when they see a cop pulled over with another driver. On the other side of the road. Going the other way. Across a median.

    Like the cop is going to drop everything, do a u-turn in front of traffic, jump the median, and then come after you for doing 8 over.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This always amuses me. If anything, consider it a free pass and keep up the pace. He’s already got someone!

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      The problem is, at least out where I live, revenue collectors often work in a wolf pack. So, when you see one there is a better-than-average chance that there are others on the prowl. This is especially true with motorcycle cops.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        So true. I never see only one speed trap during a trip. I swear they pick enforcement days. One morning I saw four cops taking radar in a three mile stretch. Well, three taking radar. One of them already had someone.

  • avatar
    mountainman

    I’ll add this – Not keeping a constant speed on the highway.

    They come up, go down a hill, pass me, then move to the right lane. Hill approaches…. they slow down. I attempt pass. Road levels. They now approach my speed, now riding beside me. I gas it, pass, and move to right…. until the next hill.

    This annoys the crap out of me. Use the cruise.

    The other thing, similar to this, is when you see someone on the highway, obviously going faster than you, approach you from behind. They then slow down, and tail you for 10 miles, now 15 miles. Hey douche, do your OWN thing. I was doing my own thing, and now you are doing my thing too. To get around this, I get in the left when safe, cut the cruise, and slow down so that they pass on the right. Then, I get back in the right.

    Third one – Why won’t you turn right on red? I know the horn will only piss you off. Perhaps a love tap is in order. Gheeze…..

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Third one – Why won’t you turn right on red? I know the horn will only piss you off. Perhaps a love tap is in order. Gheeze…..”

      Some people get confused as in some areas turning on a red isn’t allowed. As a rule, if there isn’t a sign telling me I can’t turn right on red, I’m doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      92golf

      For me, I agree about the turning right on a red. Just go already!!

      Just to throw in a little counterpoint though, some jurisdictions don’t allow it, signed or not (I would agree that’s not normally the reason people don’t do it though).

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yes this is true. But since I feel like a complete dummy sitting to wait to turn on a red when the lanes are obviously all clear, I figure if I ever got stopped where it sin’t signed, I’ll use the out of state excuse and hope for the best. In Michigan it’s allowed except where signed, so I go by that.

        Even if I end up with a ticket or two for it over a lifetime, it’s still better than the rage that would have been built up inside me from waiting needlessly at a clear intersection.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        It’s allowed almost everywhere in the US and Canada. The two exceptions in the US and Canada used to be Quebec and NYC (but not NY state), and now Quebec changed it so that right turn on red is allowed except in Montreal. See this exchange between JuniperBug and me:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/driving-tip-of-the-day-quit-being-nice/#comment-2038466

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      This reminds me of two more.

      One is the person who is driving 45 in a 55mph speed zone. The speed limit drops to 35, and they continue to do 45. At first I may have thought you were just a nervous driver, but then I realized you just have no idea what you are doing.

      The second is just to add on to the right on red. This is slightly more understandable, but in most (if not all?) states, one way to one way Left on Red is also legal…

      I live in a city, so you can always tell the rural drivers who have never encountered a one way street as they will sit at that light all day until it turns green.

      • 0 avatar
        bjchase55

        And this reminds me of something. I’m driving down a 2 lane road with a 55mph speed limit. The car in front of me is doing 45mph. Annoyed, but can’t do anything about it. Shortly the speed limit drops to 45mph. What does the car in front of me do? Reduces their speed to 35mph. What the eff?! The driver was comfortable doing 45mph. Why must they go 10 under the speed limit?!!!

        • 0 avatar
          justgregit

          Haha. I was thinking about this this morning.

          I grew up on the east coast, and “speed limit” more or less meant the minimum speed you would drive, with the maximum “safe” speed (i.e., don’t get ticketed) set at about 10 over that. So if the speed limit is 65, the minimum speed you drive is 65, and the maximum is about 75. Therefore, if you were to say, “I always drive the speed limit”, it meant you were a safe driver, because if it was speed limit 65, you drove 65, and didn’t drive over it.

          I now live in Colorado, and the opposite is true. If the speed limit is 65, and you are driving that fast, you are passing cars all over the road. Its normal to have 70MPH limits here, and if you do that you are very likely the fastest car in the road. I have now had to redefine the phrase “I drive the speed limit” to mean that I’m apparently reckless enough to drive that fast.

          It’s been a very difficult adjustment period, to say the least. Especially because very few people like to adhere to the unenforced “keep right except to pass” laws.

        • 0 avatar
          PhilMills

          One possible reason: aftermarket wheels or non-stock tire sizes may have their speedo reading way off of reality.

          My motorcycles (most motorcycles, really) have a chronic problem with this, even on stock wheels/tire size. I’m /always/ reading 3-8 mph low according to the GPS or roadside speed radar trailers.

          Occasionally I’ll forget to “speed” and only think about it when I’m getting aggressively passed by somebody.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “but in most (if not all?) states, one way to one way Left on Red is also legal…”

        Not everywhere for sure. Last I checked, it was illegal in NC, CT, RI, and VT, in addition to NYC (and Montreal, see above). Here’s a list current as of 2003 — looks like I only missed Missouri:

        http://www.driversedguru.com/driving-articles/drivers-ed-extras/can-you-make-a-left-turn-on-red/

        Connecticut
        Missouri
        North Carolina
        Rhode Island
        Vermont
        New York City

        • 0 avatar
          justgregit

          Huh. I’m surprised to see Vermont on this list. I grew up in Vermont and when I got my license (I think around 1999) and was taking drivers ed, we definitely learned that one way to one way left turn on red was legal, which it apparently was not.

          I remember this because we had a traffic circle in our town that was technically 4 one way intersections, and one of them had a stoplight. You were allowed to go right on red on that (or so I thought). Everyone did it and I never saw anyone get pulled over for it.

          Then again, it probably doesn’t matter much, as this may have been the only place in the entire state where two one way streets intersected. I can’t recall ever seeing a one way street anywhere else while growing up there.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        For Christ sake YESSSSS!!!

        “One is the person who is driving 45 in a 55mph speed zone. The speed limit drops to 35, and they continue to do 45. At first I may have thought you were just a nervous driver, but then I realized you just have no idea what you are doing.”

        This happens probably 2 times a week.
        I CANNOT STAND IT. Absolute biggest BS.
        Exact thing happens, I’ll be on a 55 mph road, they will be doing 45, then it goes to 45, 35, 25, all the while their still going 45, I almost pray for a cop at the hideout spot in the 25.

        • 0 avatar
          justgregit

          What is especially bad is when its a two lane road so you pass them. You have some good space between you and them (maybe you don’t even see them anymore in your rearview). Then the speed limit drops, as you say, 35, 25, and suddenly they are tailgating you angry that you passed them and are suddenly driving so slow, when all you were doing was obeying the law the entire time.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          These people also drive 45 mph on 65 mph highways.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      Berthoud Pass in Colorado is notorious for this. There are two lanes going uphill, and I pass at least a dozen slow-moving drivers on the way up. On the way down, I’m traveling at a safe speed, and the same cars I passed are now riding my bumper.

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        Hahaha. I live in Colorado, and regularly drive Berthoud. Its horrible, but I think this goes for pretty much all the mountain roads. I don’t understand why everyone needs a 450HP pickup truck if they are going to drive up I-70 at 45 MPH. Then the same trucks are blasting 2 tons of steel at 85 mph riding your bumper on the way back down, but maybe that’s just because the brakes are incapable of slowing those monstrosities.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          Engine braking alone on a super duty truck will keep you at a safe speed without even touching the brake or gas.

          No, it’s because the idiot driver is incapable of applying different pressure to the gas pedal between uphills and downhills.

          • 0 avatar
            justgregit

            Haha. I was just playing; Obviously brakes still function for any vehicle to be highway legal. I am agreeing with you that its just silly drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            PhilMills

            @justgregit: well, those brakes MIGHT have been functional when they started their trip, but that’s no guarantee after they’ve been riding those same brakes for 10 solid miles coming down a pass.

            There’s a reason Pikes Peak has a ranger station with a thermal camera at the halfway-down point – if you’re glowin’, you ain’t goin’.

            I’m pretty sure I’ve followed tourists on Trail Ridge Road who’ve been on the brakes for the whole 5,000′ elevation drop back into Estes Park.

  • avatar
    jonathanir

    I live in Proctorville, OH (which is in South Eastern Ohio – aka the smelly, uneducated armpit of Ohio). Everyday I’m driving to work and these a-holes pull out in front of me from their side streets on to the main road… They never speed up and attempt to match my speed before I reach them, they just piddle along and never reach within 10mph of the posted speed limit. They also typically drive cars who’s only working brake light is the one bulb in the CHMSL that’s clinging to life.

    Awful.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Lane-change vigilantes. Those folks who, upon observing your intention to move over, speed up to take the place next to you in the lane you want. At epidemic levels in NE Florida. Probable cause of no-blinker and last-second-blinker syndromes.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yes, this is super common. I’ve even seen people do it even when there are several car-lengths available and they had previously been traveling at a relatively constant speed.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    For city/suburb traffic, a couple of peevs.

    The traffic circle is not the thirteenth level of Dante’s inferno, created by the intelligencia to befuddle morons in their SUVs as to WTF is going on. It’s a circle. It’s like NASCAR, everyone is going left until they’re going right to get out of the circle. Please figure it out.

    That wide extra lane on the right side of the two lane is for MERGING, so you don’t have to slam on the brakes and wait for approaching traffic to merge into the two lanes. Just carefully merge into the merge lane, put on your left turn-signal and then…you know what, if you can’t figure this out, not sure how you’re breathing.

    Stop signs are for stopping, not looking left quickly and vrooming out in front of the oncoming traffic at ten miles below the speed they are traveling out. This seems particularly bad in the Kansas City and surrounding suburbs.

    Fast food evidence belongs in the garbage bin at your earliest convienance, not on the road ’cause you’re done with your Big Mac and don’t want the smell in your car. Looks better out there on the road, don’t it?

    Absolutely agree with highway drivers not using their Cruise Control. Met a few individuals who’ve driven me over my army career that made me sea-sick as they vroooomed forward and then slung back and then vroooomed forward and slung back. When asked, they told me they didn’t trust the CC to do it’s job, that they were the keeper of the speed. Funny, they didn’t have an issue with the automatic tranny knowing what gear to have the car in, but why argue with small minds.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “Met a few individuals who’ve driven me over my army career that made me sea-sick as they vroooomed forward and then slung back and then vroooomed forward and slung back.”

      Yeah, I’m completely baffled by the idiots who can’t even pretend to approximate a constant speed. It’s just bizarre. I set my cruise, and someone will zoom past me at least 5-10 mph faster than I’m going, then next thing I know, they’re going 10 under. Sometimes it’s because they picked up the phone to text, but sometimes it’s just idiocy.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        This. I’m tooling along with the cruise on, a car catches me, passes, then moves back into my lane. Fine. Then cuts its speed by 5 MPH. WTF?

        Left-foot brakers, beware, unless you have a death wish. My wife will tail gate you, unless I’m there to point out that there’s no way in hell she’ll be able to avoid hitting your car because your BRAKE LIGHTS ARE ALWAYS ON!!! To which she’ll reply “Really? I didn’t notice” and “I’m not tailgating”, to which I’ll passive-aggressively reply “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand…”

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Not that I advocate this on the highway, but when I drove for the Army we changed speeds regularly as a constant speed allowed the enemy to better lock in the IED. And what are these Army vehicles you speak of with Cruise? Throttle lock, yes…Cruise, not so much. Perhaps on the GOV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I don’t see the point in traffic circles, the closests ones are probably 20 miles away from me, and there is always either two little cars and somehow managed to wreck in the wierdest fashion or a line backed up 1/4 mile on every lane(or both).

      The circles they installed are absolutely pointless, two of them are back to back right beside a local college.
      One of them is utterly dumb, it connects the main road to two small roads that dead end at small dorms, it was an absolute waste of money where the previous setup of two stop signs never caused problems.
      There was another a couple years ago that was torn apart to remake the original design, which was more efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Are you talking about roundabouts? For those who actually study this kind of stuff, generally roundabouts are more efficient than 4-way stops for many types of intersections that would otherwise have them. I’d rather have a yield into a roundabout than waste momentum stopping at a stop sign at a low-volume intersection, or wait for non-existent cross-traffic at a low-volume intersection.

        They are somewhat unfriendly to pedestrian traffic, however.

        I’m confused as to how two small roads that dead-end at dorms could produce 1/4 mile backups unless everyone was leaving at once.

        “Traffic Circles” are slightly different — makes me think of the UK or France. They usually have multiple lanes and you are generally required to stop before entering.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Oh, your correct, roundabouts.

          But the issue I saw is that the places that now have the roundabouts previously had free-flowing traffic on the main stretch, and a stop sign for smaller offroads that get little traffic anyhow.

          The original setup never caused any issues when I went to school there.
          And trust me, I have no idea how they get backed up for something that simple, although I’ve seen a couple scared teen girls circle the roundabouts more then once because for whatever reason they were scared to get off.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Well, I will say that one reason I like them is that they’re better for saving clutch wear when you’re driving a manual transmission car. It’s much less annoying to go around a roundabout, as I did in certain European countries with a rental stick-shift.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    I have daily-driven an Excursion for the last 4 months (threw a rod in the 190-16v) so the following has irritated me more than normal:

    Modern cruise control (anything within the last 15 years) is simple, efficient, and EXTREMELY useful. I will, on the reg, sit in the left lane at 5-7 MPH above the limit, passing gobs on traffic on the highway. I get over when someone is behind me, or when I stop passing the flow of traffic.

    The number of people who pass on the right, get over, and then get passed by me on the right, all without changing the CC makes me cry a little inside.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I do the same thing, but I try and stick with the right lane as people in the left lane tend to really be zooming. I hate when I run into the jag off who is not only doing the *exact* speed limit, but is below it and I come up on him much quicker.

      Luv me some CC.

  • avatar
    claytori

    Meanwhile, to get back to the topic- white commercial/delivery van drivers. A tight schedule and someone else buying the gas for a young inexperienced driver in a limited visibility vehicle.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    My complaint…
    You are in the fast lane following a pack of cars and you leave a reasonable safe gap. Then someone from the center lane or right lane that feels held back pulls into that gap in front of you at a slower rate of speed. Then you need to brake followed by re-accelerate to get back your momentum.

    * Waste of gas.
    * Wear on the car.
    * Starts a caterpillar slowing effect for the cars behind you.

    That person should wait a bit intil he/she could merge into the left lane at matching speed.

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      Inevitably if traffic in the left lane is moving 68, and the lane they are moving out of is moving 60, they will decide it was correct to pass doing 60.5 miles per hour, making you all wait for 9 minutes while they pass.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      And I’m usually the LAST car in line, with a ZIP Code’s worth of space behind me! They couldn’t wait one more second!

      (And then, of course, they don’t budge over the speed limit!)

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    What boggles my mind are the subset of drivers going really slowly on city streets who go through red lights late. There are a lot of them, especially in Berkeley and Oakland.

    (That might not be clear – what I mean is that they don’t slow down or speed up for yellow lights, and since they’re driving slowly they don’t make it to the intersection before the light turns red. Slow and steady, screw everyone else whether they’re behind you or in cross-traffic.)

  • avatar
    SkidRo

    Having an Audi I can truthfully say that the A4’s have an issue with the brake light coming on randomly in cold weather. Mine would come on at night while I was asleep and run my battery down. It took months to figure this out. It was a faulty brake switch. However, I am not excusing any driver who rides with the brakes on. Talking about an accident waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      So because it happened in your A4, it happens in a lot of them? Talk about sampling error. There are a few common A4 repairs that one can list (and it’s been done on TTAC before), but this has never been on the list.

      • 0 avatar
        SkidRo

        I used the google thing and the audiworld forum when researching the issue. Based on no scientific research whatsoever using only other A4 owners experiences with their brake lights coming on I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t the only A4 owner having this issue. I suspect there were at least two of us because I would not have found the solution.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          I see a few B6 owners who’ve had this problem — that’d be MY 2000-2004, and most people seem to have cars from the early side of that run.

          Clearly no one who has had this problem has ever tried using the cruise control (that’s how I figured out a clutch-position switch was broken on one of my cars).

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I get bugged by people who take forever to turn right into a parking lot when they’re exiting a busy road with 40+ MPH traffic bearing down on them. Where I live, it’s typically an older Toyota Carolla driven by a woman just off the boat from Calcutta.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Most people from Calcutta would generally take a Boeing, or perhaps an Airbus, not a boat. In addition, most Indians in the US probably aren’t from anywhere near Calcutta.

      But in my experience, the people who do what you’re complaining about tend to be old, regardless of ethnicity.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      I find it highly amusing to turn as slooooooooooowly as possible when DB’s in BMW’s tailgate me in the right lane and then start waving their arms when I coast, blinker on and then lightly brake.

  • avatar
    marc

    Well it’s been about 6 months; time for another unproven “Priuses hogging the left lane” internet meme.

    Seriously?

    Most of this anecdotal “evidence” comes from drivers who clearly don’t drive in California, where neither the left lane, nor any other lane is ever a fast or passing lane as everyone snakes along at 25 mph.

    Enough already. Please.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      If it’d make you happy, I’ll happily start keeping stats here in California and report back. Priuses figure high, but so do certain other cars, as I said before.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      In 10 years, smart traffic cameras with fast data mining should enable significant driving patterns based on vehicle make and model to be discerned.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    I live in the Washingto, DC area and the bane of our driving existence here is the dreaded “Diplomatic License Plate”. These people have total immunity from all of our laws and some behave accordingly. There’s nothing like being run off the road by some Saudi princeling going 90 MPH because he’s late for his al Qaeda finance meeting.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I thought the diplomatic plate people were bad enough in SF. I can’t imagine what they’re like in DC and NY. I believe there’s a law from Senators Clinton and Schumer that allows the city of NY to tow those guys now and deduct the fees from foreign aid, and I believe the plates can also be revoked in some cases, but I don’t know the details.

      I always liked the West Wing episode where all the UN-guys’ cars got towed and they complained to Bartlet:

      “There are BIG SIGNS. You CAN’T park there. They *should* get towed. I hope they get towed to Queens, and the Triboro is closed, and there’s a big craft show at Shea, a flea market or a tractor show.”

  • avatar
    dalava

    In my neck of the woods (or pavements), the stickers are for the swimming clubs, soccer teams, high-school lacross team, middle-school chorus, elementary school mascot, dance studios, karate clubs, and whatnot. The cars/vans/CUVs/SUVs with a lot of them on are normally in a big hurry ferrying the little Johnnies and Susies form one activity to the other. They are decidedly not slow. Dangerous, yes.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Where I live, the insipid, yellow “Baby on Board” window signs are creeping back. I’m tempted to print my own “Dead Baby on Board” for my beater Nissan, but I’d probably get pulled over…

      • 0 avatar
        DemosCat

        Back during the last yellow sign craze in the 1980’s, there were all kinds of joke signs around, like “Mother-in-Law in trunk.” My favorite was, “Baby I’m Bored.”

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Down here in Florida, the pre-corpses rolling their starter caskets will cruise through red lights and stop signs, drift all over the road, not signal turns and generally act completely oblivious to the world outside their cars.

    But they all religiously obey the speed limit.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I have an unlimited amount of hate for the people who enter an intersection they have no hope of clearing on the green light, and get caught sitting there when it turns red. They also get a little indignant when you honk at them. Just because you’re caught in traffic doesn’t mean I need to be as well.

    Oh yes, and the person who pulls out into a lane that’s visibly about to end. I get using up as much of the road as effectively possible, and I approve of zippering, but if you’re doing it to get past 10 cars, you’re not doing it for efficiency, you’re doing it because you’re an asshole.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Or the opposite..someone stops on the green to avoid this, then of course, the traffic in front of them clears, with room to spare! Both you and the idiot in front of you are stuck through a light cycle.

      Worse, of course, if they shoot through as the light goes from yellow to red..leaving JUST YOU stuck! And always when you’re running late! ;-)

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Nothing but love for you truckers, and I got it…you like to maintain your momentum. However when on a 2 lane interstate when a truck going 57 MPH decides they want to pass another truck going 56 it does create an annoying logjam behind said trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      May I please have an “AMEN???!!!”

      If you’re driving a semi, YOU DON’T BELONG IN THE HIGH-SPEED LANE, PERIOD!! (Well, unless you’re going faster than the traffic–maybe in Kentucky, but NEVER in Ohio!)

      (There, I feel better now! :-p )

  • avatar
    redav

    I wonder where all these slow Prius drivers in the left lane are. They certainly aren’t anywhere near me. Here, they usually drive just as fast & aggressively as everyone else, but I do occasionally see one putting along in the right lane.

    Bumper stickers: actually, I’ve noticed the ones with multiple conservative, pro-gun / military stickers drive fairly normally.

    I agree about the gravel trucks. And I’ve also seen Saturns with their brake lights messed up so that cruising with headlights (but no brakes), the brake lights are on, and when the brakes are applied, everything goes turns off.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Late to the party, but as a resident on a side-street (speed limit:25) next to a freeway (speed limit: 60) among my biggest pet peeves:

    Folks who drive like a bat out of hell in a parking lot/residential street, who struggle to approach highway speeds when it is appropriate.

    As my proximity to the freeway affords a lot of exposure, I have seen a very strong correlation between folks who drive 50 in a 25 who go the same speed in a 60.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There is a major road that runs into my neighborhood. The speed limit on it is 45 where it is a limited access, four or six lane road. It funnels into a residential neighborhood with single lanes and a 30 mph limit. It’s a pretty consistent occurrence for me to pass someone with a 15 or 20 mph margin on the four lane bridge into Crown Point only to have them riding 15 inches off my bumper when I’m going 4 mph over the limit through the neighborhood. It seems like they pick up speed just as they should be reducing it. The other places I get passed or tailgated tend to be school zones.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Having school speed limits so low that you need to downshift, unless you’re comfortable coasting, are nonsense, unless you’re within 30 minutes of arrival or dismissal. (This is for Ohio, with a 20mph limit–I can’t imagaine what it’s like in areas with 15mph or lower limits; at that point, you might as well put the car in neutral, then get out and push!


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