By on September 9, 2009

Allah. I live in a state where turning left in the face of oncoming traffic is such a routine occurrence that drivers on the opposite side of the intersection actually wait to be cut off. Seriously, if someone is stupid or timid or conscientious enough to obey the rules of the road, the driver who didn’t get cut off acts like deer caught in headlights. WHAT DO I DO NOW? You want me to go FIRST? Me, I don’t mind getting cut off when I’m driving. That would be like worrying about the denomination of the bill an attractive woman uses to snort a line of cocaine off your/one’s penis. What’s the point? Besides, the left-turning cutoff gives you a chance to lean on your horn, which is always good fun. But I get furious when someone cuts me off and gives me “the wave.” Who gave YOU permission to cut ME off? Not ME. And they NEVER make eye contact. The “thanks for letting me cuckold you automotively” wave has to be the most arrogant yet po-faced gesture known to man/woman. If I ever shout “ramming speed” down to my right foot, refer the arresting officer to this blog. Or, on second thought, don’t.

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54 Comments on “What Really Grinds My Gears: People Who Wave as They Cut Me Off...”


  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    And the people who drive into the middle of the ‘box’ indicating left then expect to turn against the red, making people who have the green wait for them.

  • avatar
    imag

    Ummm… okay. Someone waves at you, most likely thinking you were letting them in. You want to ram them.

    It’s no wonder we can’t have peace on earth, when someone waving generates this kind of response.

    I act like an asshole too when I drive sometimes, but I’m not proud of it. And I cannot imagine getting mad at someone who is actually recognizing that they have inconvenienced me. Thinking that their wave is some kind of deliberate mockery is actually more akin to paranoid delusion. Some people may simply not be taking the fact that they need to change lanes so seriously as you apparently do.

    We are none of us perfect, but we could at least try to cut each other a bit of slack sometimes.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The wave is meant to be an apology. Just so long as it isn’t a one-finger wave, it calms me down.

    What really irritates me is when some jerk cuts me off and then proceeds to keep driving on as if it never happened in the first place. I expect some sort of acknowledgment of the crime and the mea culpa that goes with it, and I will quite annoyed if I don’t get one. (Which is to say that I am annoyed quite often. You had better wave at me, dammit.)

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    I don’t have a penis…..unless you’re trying to tell me something?

  • avatar

    imag

    Let me be clear about this: these people do NOT think I’m being magnanimous. They’re cutting me off and then thanking me for “allowing” their illegal behavior. When they know damn well I did no such thing.

  • avatar

    I am to the point that I EXPECT people to do something rude/dumb/dangerous while driving and am surprised when they don’t.

    John

  • avatar

    If I wave it’s “thank you for letting me in” and/or “I screwed up, sorry.” If you think it’s mockery, well, that’s why I’m glad I rarely have occasion to drive in the Northeast.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’m one of those people who waves when you let me in.

    Thanks. And now I’m ahead of you.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    buddha…

    I live in RI, RF. My 19 y.o. daughter was on the busiest secondary road in the state. A woman sequentially blocked three lanes of traffic making a left turn, but the SUV she blocked last kept my daughter, in the fourth lane, from seeing her. A minor tap, no apparent damage to either vehicle, but the woman was so outraged and so convinced that she was right that she summoned the po-po. The officer who showed up was in full ‘Lady, you gotta be kidding’ mode, but it was still pretty stressful for my kid.

    imag

    How about them cutting me some slack? It would be polite to make a right turn and then double back when safe to do so. I’ve done that because I have a mortal fear of seeing cars coming at me broadside. The most polite thing you can do is take the right of way when its yours and yield it when its not. And please don’t look all butt-hurt when I get on the horn for 10-15 seconds to remind you.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Not only does this grind my gears, but what grinds my gears more, Tom, is when people do the exact opposite; fall all over themselves to give up the right of way to let someone turn or cut in in front of them. I don’t know why I don’t like it when they do it for me (typically they are the last car in line or the only car on the road) but I really don’t like it when I have to stop short because the car in front of me wants to let someone out.

    Let the traffic flow people!

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    HEATHROI :

    And the people who drive into the middle of the ‘box’ indicating left then expect to turn against the red, making people who have the green wait for them.

    The city planners here in Los Angeles work with such an antiquated traffic signal system, the lights pretty much guarantee this behavior. There just aren’t enough left turn arrows. To “improve” the situation, the planners then prohibit left turns at intersections where turn volume causes gridlock. Brilliant.

    If you read the statute, cars that have entered the intersection while the light is green (“past the prolongation of the intersection”), they have the right of way regardless. If someone turning left does NOT enter the intersection with the green light, they’ll never get through.

    But this situation does bring out bad behavior. First are the folks running the red light while those of us “in the box” are trying to clear the intersection. If these cars would stop for the red, the left turn cars would be gone before you get a green. But what makes me the most crazy, are those timid souls who refuse to enter the box, sit through the light cycle, and block those of us behind them. If you can’t turn left against traffic, try making three right turns instead.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.707197,-75.369909&num=1&sll=39.656258,-75.413505&sspn=0.124614,0.091478&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=39.709861,-75.37312&spn=0.01555,0.027595&z=15

    Accident occurred here. I travel here occasionally and people don’t drive well in this area.

  • avatar
    FishTank

    Robert, with all due respect, you have to let this go. Had your piece been entitled “People that cut me off piss me off’, I’d understand – though it’d be pretty boring because, well… duh. Look at it as if they are recognizing they may have cut it pretty close, and are saying “Heh… yeah I know it was kinda close… sorry about that dude.” I have had countless times where people have cut me off and waved. At least they acknowledged the fact – either in apology, or thanks, or just simply recognition.The only scenario where I could see a wave being used as a jab is if there was some escalation previously in which you were involved. Either by nudging forward, turning the wheel… whatever. RF – it’s not worth it buddy. There are bigger things to worry about. I have three kids, a stressful job and still have BPp readings of 110 over 60. Life’s too short – you’re one adrenaline rush away from being known as that guy that bumped the guy ahead of him and ended up shot ten times.

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    I think the New Jersey license plates tell it all.

  • avatar

    FishTank

    You don’t get it. They wave as retroactive recognition of a favor I didn’t grant them. Oh, it’s OK, ’cause I waved. That grinds my gears.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    Hold on a minute here. You don’t mind getting cut off.. so it’s okay. But when they wave, suddenly you’ve changed your mind and it’s not okay because they think you think it’s okay?

    Of course I also must mention that you are assuming that they’re waving in acknowledgement of a favor, rather than waving in apology of an inconvenience?

    ..so maybe a more accurate way to put it is suddenly you’ve changed your mind and it’s not okay because you think they think you think it’s okay.

    Guess we all gotta be pissed off at something..

  • avatar
    iceracer

    “The wave” is similar to when someone cuts you off and flashes their turn signal once, and only after they have changed lanes. Why do they even bother with this non-signal? It is no different than if they just cut you off.

  • avatar

    campocaceres:

    Hold on a minute here. You don’t mind getting cut off.. so it’s okay. But when they wave, suddenly you’ve changed your mind and it’s not okay because they think you think it’s okay?

    No, it’s not that they think I think it’s OK. It’s that they think that if they pretend that I think it’s OK, it’s OK.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Grind it till you find it….

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Robert, it’s clear that you’re in the minority here are this is something that is approaching irrationality.

    Almost anywhere you go in the world, the post wave is intended as a thank you or apology, not mockery.

    Let it go, man. This is your misinterpretation and a personal windmill.

  • avatar

    Signal11:

    First of all, our Best and Brightest represent about 2% of our readers. The rest NEVER comment about anything. So, while I appreciate the B&B’s sagacity, I don’t assume that commenting consensus is the final word on anything.

    By the same token, my Quaker education taught me that no one–or group of people—has a lock on the truth. “Everyone” can be wrong. Or, of course, right. Depends. Anyway . . .

    Second, tilting at windmills R us. It’s who we are and what we do. Application available upon request.

    Third, this is not the same as all the other waves [see: above].

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I can plan on people being idiots if I know they are there. However, if they are obscured by another vehicle, which often happens in here the Northeast, then there’s no planning. Its a bolt out of the blue and the surprise is not good for my BP. So many of them seem to think they are charmed and privileged. Its like the old Monty Python (in)Visible Man skit in reverse.

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    I agree with you RF. If someone cutting me off gave me the finger I would expect it and admire them for their sheer ballsyness, but giving the thank you wave after cutting me off is so passive aggressive as to be contemptible.

    But then again I drive through some of the worst traffic North Jersey has to offer daily so I’m possibly a bit screwy from it.

    p.s. its still better driving than the Boston metro area IMHO.

  • avatar
    Antone

    I live in the same State as RF. It’s insane. People kamikaze left-hand turn, all-the-time but unlike RF they usually don’t wave. They drive like the State is a giant parking lot at the mall, on Christmas Eve…

    Makes me miss Miami drivers. Drive it like you stole it.

  • avatar
    FishTank

    Robert F – No you don’t get it.

    No, it’s not OK, but AT LEAST they waved. ;-)

    btw – love the bold feature

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I usually let everyone go infront of me — then again I just assume everyone doesn’t see me and is going to hit me. I drive a sub-compact car & motorcycle.

    By this definition, I don’t get cut off much if at all.

    On left turning —

    If there is no red light camera, I’ll pull into the intersection, wait until it’s clear, then turn left.

    If there IS a red light camera, I will not be caught dead entering or exiting an intersection with it red. This means I won’t pull into an intersection to make a left until I can make the whole turn.

    Blame the false rate of red light tickets. I don’t have time to contest one and certainly don’t want to pay one.

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    You know what really grinds my gears? People in the 19th century. Why don’t they get with the freakin program? It’s called an automobile, folks. It’s much faster than a horse!

  • avatar
    FishTank

    Off-topic perhaps (?), but you guys should drive in Portugal. Zipping along in a TDI Polo, weaving in and out with all the other crazies. Drive slow or second-guess and get hit. It is seriously the most fun I’ve had driving anywhere (Paris is second).

  • avatar
    FishTank

    “First of all, our Best and Brightest represent about 2% of our readers. The rest NEVER comment about anything. So, while I appreciate the B&B’s sagacity, I don’t assume that commenting consensus is the final word on anything.”

    No – but we can assume that if more than half of the B&B think it’s overreacting, then over half of the 98% that’s left think you’re wrong too? ;-)

    Please don’t let this stop you sending me flowers. Or doing that thing you do with your toes. Or picking my web design ;-) You pick one yet?

  • avatar
    Signal11

    @Robert

    So what you’re saying is that while the overwhelming majority of those commenting think it’s you who has a problem and not everyone else, you’re going to assume that since most readers are not active commentators, they differ enough from those who do to discount the commentators’ opinion?

    Interesting chain of logic there.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    That “turning left in the face of oncoming traffic” is the same in MA, and there are few things that piss me off as much as someone that has a green light then sits there to let other cars turn left in front of them. Its such a ridiculous, illogical, asinine thing to do that I practically want to shoot anybody who does it. How can it possibly make sense to inconvenience not only yourself, but everybody behind you in order to allow somebody to make an illegal turn when they don’t even have the right of way? Even typing this post is making me angry

  • avatar
    davejay

    Aaaaaaand that’s why people in this country get so damned angry when they drive. It’s about the flow of traffic, not about you personally. A wave is an apology for behavior. You’d rather they didn’t? Drive in Los Angeles, where nobody waves for anything. You still get cut off, but you can be angry about being ignored instead of getting angry about someone acknowledging they’re an idiot.

    Anger management classes for you.

  • avatar
    TaurusGT500

    Robert Farago : FishTank You don’t get it.

    …hmm …I’m sensing a little inner Autoextremist coming out. …. please, don’t go DeLorenzo on us. We love TicTack the way it is.

  • avatar
    club76

    Well … as I see it … there are people all around this world who are worried about affording their next meal and then there are people like Robert Farago who are worried or pissed about the “wave”. I guess Church’s should start saying “We’re all whiners” instead of “we’re all sinners”.

  • avatar

    club76

    Pulling the “children starving in China” card, eh? Just remember how YOU feel after two hours after eating Chinese food.

    I kid, I kid.

  • avatar

    You know what really grinds my gears?

    People in the 19th century.

    Why don’t they get with the freakin program?

    It’s called an automobile, folks.

    It’s much faster than a horse!

    __________

    Source

  • avatar
    kowsnofskia

    I’m actually with RF on this one.

    The “wave” is a appreciative gesture you make if the other person was kind enough to leave room for you and let you in. RF is describing a very different sort of situation – namely, when somebody barges into your lane without warning, cuts you off, and then “waves” as if you were doing them the favor of allowing them into your lane.

    It’s a practice that’s rude, patronizing, and ridiculous. It implies that any sort of rude, inconsiderate, and lousy behavior is excusable as long as you throw in a little half-baked gesture of kindness at the end of it (which, incidentially, seems to be the general opinion of many people living on the East Coast). Would you like it if I stole a bunch of crap out of your open garage and then “waved” at you as I ran away? (“Gee, I’m so glad you’re letting me borrow this stuff! Your open garage door is an indication that it’s free for the taking!”)

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    The problem I’m having with this concept of “I’ll turn left in front an oncoming vehicle and they will slow down – or – lock their brakes” is what if they don’t!

    What if there are children in either vehicle?

    Also, I hope these left turners differentiate between an oncoming Honda Civic and a gravel truck.

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    These “wavers” are the same as the “signalers” who stop cold in the middle of the left lane in order to merge right so they won’t miss their right-hand turn. In their feeble minds, a turn signal excuses everything.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    I guess Church’s should start saying “We’re all whiners”

    Church’s Chicken??

  • avatar
    mattstairs

    I’m picturing being stopped at a red, light turns green, and before I even do a microsecond check for someone running the red and depress the gas pedal, some jerk makes a left right in front of my car (and any other lanes of traffic).

    Verrrry annoying. And dangerous. Gets an angry horn blast from me every time.

    I have done waves before, the (while stopped) palms up, shrugged shoulders, “Oops, I screwed up” admission of guilt wave. I’ve also done a “Thanks” wave after making eye contact and getting waved on by the other driver.

    I know what you’re saying RF. It hasn’t happened to me in a long time, but I’ve received that “Thanks” wave when I wasn’t letting the other driver in.

  • avatar
    wangt86

    haha Jersey plates. Terrible drivers here who think taking a license exam in a parking lot qualifies them to drive.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    I’m for flipping them off after they wave. Some front passenger and kids in the back seat got an earfull of horn and saw my bird once.
    Sometimes I miss my cb I had with the PA speaker hooked up. A loud “Are you stupid?!” coming from the front of the car surprised a few people. Also did imitations of police car type sounds followed by “Pull Over, Pull Over”.
    CB’s and a speaker for it can be had starting around $60. I’d think a bluetooth setup would be available for more.

  • avatar
    tdoyle

    In traffic I assume that EVERYONE is an idiot and drives as such. Especially those is 3-series BMW’s.

  • avatar
    Morea

    “TTAC: the preferred web site of cranky old men!”

  • avatar
    imag

    Morea – that’s basically what I was just about to say.

    I had to work today, so I missed the mass commenting, but I have to say, this is just classic curmudgeon stuff.

    Everyone thinks other people are clueless and lack “common sense”. *E*v*e*r*y*o*n*e*. People love to have conversations with each other about how stupid other people are. But the *truth* (that’s the site name after all) is that everyone is the stupid person some time, for some reason, and one person’s common sense is not another’s.

    RF, I hate to say it, but I hope you have a shoe or a cane to wave when you write these gear-grinding columns. I’m not sure if you’re trying to out-whine Andy Rooney or what, but you’re definitely giving him a run for his money…

    As I was trying to say in my post, I feel wronged while driving all the time. However, after driving with other people who have (in my view) terrible driving habits, I also realize that they aren’t usually trying to wrong me. Getting all worked up may be something I do, but I sure don’t try to feel justified for it five minutes after it happens. In other words: who cares if they wronged you? You’re only taking it out on yourself.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    RF has a point.

    Playing mad-dash-left-turn ‘chicken’ with oncoming vehicles (while waving mid-turn) is degenerate behavior. Waving to another driver to use his right of way in heavy, slow traffic is NOT the issue.

    The tone of the postings here ARE somewhat depressing. I mean, the day may soon come where camera technology makes it clear which cut-off crazy caused an accident. But with personal responsibility fast circling the societal drain, I’m certain whatever excuse the cutoff-loony comes up with (ADD, Alien Abduction, Late for Oprah, BoyfriendGettingOutOfPrison Day) will get ’em a pass or a $20 fine.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m usually too busy texting and eating my double Krystal burger to even notice if the people that cut me off in traffic wave at me.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Jeebus, all these comments and … does no one get the Family Guy reference? You know, the adult, animated series that’s fearless, witty and a pusher of boundaries. Ring any bells?

    *crickets*

  • avatar

    Its OK RF sooner or later those people will probably cut off someone who has bad brakes or is in some inattentive mode of texting, eating, etc.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I get pissed if I don’t get a wave. To me the wave is acknowledgement that I’m there, and that they are thoughtful enough to at least feign appreciation that they were let in ahead of me. I hate the douchebag that has a phone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other that cuts me off and then slows down. Clearly they’re too busy to be driving, so why are they?

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    To me the wave is acknowledgement that I’m there, and that they are thoughtful enough to at least feign appreciation that they were let in ahead of me.

    No they’re not – if they were even remotely thoughtful, they wouldn’t have put 2000 pounds of metal in your way.

    I should think the bare minimum of “thoughfulness” is having the option to endanger someone’s life, but choosing not to. After that point, what you do or do not do with your hands really doesn’t change a lot.

    What The Wave says is, they’re aware that they should be thoughtful, but are not. Hence, my response, which is also generally a hand gesture.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    FishTank :

    Off-topic perhaps (?), but you guys should drive in Portugal. Zipping along in a TDI Polo, weaving in and out with all the other crazies. Drive slow or second-guess and get hit. It is seriously the most fun I’ve had driving anywhere (Paris is second).

    Or Manila – where a red light is merely a suggestion.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Late to the party but I totally and unconditionally endorse every comment by our dear leader in this thread. And my wife, too!

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