QOTD: Messing up the Maneuver?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd messing up the maneuver

There’s no shortage of ways our fellow drivers send our blood pressure soaring. In our day-to-day lives, other motorists’ apparent inability to pilot a car or truck in a fashion befitting an organized and intelligent society never ceases to amaze.

Often, the thing that annoys us most is watching others fail at the thing we pride ourselves for doing well. It makes sense. Skilled chefs probably aren’t too keen on other peoples’ cooking. And when you’re behind the wheel, dear reader, there’s always something you know you’re capable of doing better. Maybe it’s a superior talent at backing a car into a parking space, instead of pulling in nose-forward.

Or maybe it’s your ability to, let’s see, accelerate to highway speeds on an on-ramp before merging. Going on personal experience, this is one of the hardest things a driver can do.

While the merging thing really grinds my gears (thanks for hitting 37 mph by the end of the lane, V6-powered crossover owner who then stomps on it), one maneuver stands above the rest. Call me nitpicky, but I so rarely see this simple act accomplished in a quick, efficient manner.

The three-point turn.

Blame my perpetual ownership of a stick-shift for my annoyance if you must, but it seems I’m forever stopped in the street, waiting, as the driver of a minivan or taxicab figures out the next step in this complex procedure. Going from “drive” to “reverse” and back to “drive” — passing through the time-consuming “neutral” each time — must flummox some drivers. How else to explain the bizarre delay between shifts?

Is it momentary disorientation? An overabundance of caution? Oddly situated gearshift lever? Undoubtedly, much of the delay lies in the need for a driver of an automatic-equipped vehicle to look down, before each shift, to ensure their vehicle is in the proper gear before proceeding. In a vehicle with a manual transmission, the driver knows where that shift lever’s going. No need to look down.

Despite the black eye sustained from rollaway accidents and general driver confusion, monostable shifters allow for easy, eyes-off three-point turns, making those automatic shifters superior for this task than a traditional unit (or, God forbid, a push-button affair).

That’s my hangup. Yours might differ. What driving maneuver — as performed by everyone but yourself — constantly gets under your skin?

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2 of 152 comments
  • Slavuta Slavuta on Feb 27, 2018

    I see this one a lot, not in my area but in NJ, for example. Someone driving in the left-most lane and right before the exit, they just cross all lanes and take an exit. This is not as infuriating as when you driving in the right lane behind some car. Then some moron shamelessly squeezes himself in between, just to exit a second later. You look back and see nobody behind. This moron has to go between you and the other car as if he exited from behind you, he would be late by an hour.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Mar 01, 2018

    Slow mergers, numpties who can't signal (or even check for cars) before making a lane change and stop light dawdlers really get under my skin. Also, the people who can't determine that DRLs aren't sufficient once the sun goes down bug me. However, I'm supremely irritated at the people who can't execute a 90° backing park. Instead what they do is block both lanes of travel in a parking lot, usually about 150°, so they can pull almost straight back. A coworker of mine effectively parks twice every morning. She pulls straight into a parking spot (nose first), then reverses to pull straight back into her chosen spot.

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