I’ve driven around half the states in this country, but because I live in Los Angeles now, I am constantly frozen in a state of terror and anxiety. Not because of the persistent possibility of a massive earthquake, or the fires that usually rage each Summer/Fall. Not even because of flash floods, shootings or Justin Bieber. I have a crippling fear that I must live with every day, because everybody out there drives like a lunatic. I know that makes me sound like your father, but in my defense: clean your room or no dessert.
Below is a list of various driving malfunctions you can avoid if you would like me to not loathe the very thought of your existence for all eternity. They are also great safety tips for not killing yourself or anyone else with your vehicle.
Put. Down. Your. Effing. Phone.
Just because you spent the morning in Yoga class, you don’t have a third eye in the middle of your forehead with which to casually glance the road while you’re face-deep in your phone. Are you that bored by the ten billion other cars around you that you need constant stimulation from a tiny screen? Maybe you’re just super-special and fancy-important so that email couldn’t wait until a red light. Or when you park your car. Or when ~gasp~ you are no longer in your car. I hear that being fancy-important also comes with a unique ability to drive while paying no attention. My bad. Didn’t realize you had a robot car.
Ps. to the woman who nearly crashed into me twice and didn’t even notice last week because her phone was so far in her face she was inhaling the radiation: I hear there are great job opportunities in Greenland. You should go check those out.
Green = Go
I know, I know. You’ve been driving for ten blocks since the last red light, and are exhausted. And thirty seconds of sitting in one place is impossible to do without getting distracted by the myriad of tweets and texts that must have flooded in since three minutes ago! Being you is really hard. No wonder it’s impossible to notice when the light changes! Or maybe you’re just taking a much needed respite and can’t be bothered with things like thirty other cars behind you. Do what you need to do. I’ll just sit here until the end of eternity, waiting for you to figure out how to get your car to move forward at the speed of traffic.
Mind the Gap
You know when you’re sitting at that red light, ignoring it lest it turn green and you might need to move again, and you leave that giant 3-car-long gap in front of you?* Can you explain that to me? I know your car is a special snowflake that needs its space, but chances are somewhere behind you someone else is stuck in the intersection. Oh, right, someone else. My bad. Screw them, you’re the only one who matters!
*This is for freeway driving. Not red lights. I hate you.
The pretty blinking light is not for decoration
It’s so I don’t smash my car into yours when it changes direction with no warning at great speeds. Or when you suddenly slow from 40mph to 10mph because apparently it’s not possible to make a right hand turn at speeds exceeding turtle death. I know that a car is like a little apartment on wheels, but you still have neighbors. The rest of us don’t live inside your head, so smart people with clipboards have designed a way for you to share your feelings about your directional choices with that clever little blinking light. Please use it. I promise the sun won’t implode if you think about someone other than yourself.
No split second decisions, please
If it involves yanking your wheel, just say no. Usually it isn’t even for anything important, people will just dart between lanes so they can go 0.003mph faster, or suddenly veer off into another street because they decided that’s what they feel like now. Again, I refer you to the point above about neighbors and not being a selfish jerk. That’s only funny if you’re animated.
This isn’t the lunch line in the cafeteria
You can let me into your lane. Or that other guy who’s had his blinker on since the dawn of time. I know we’re in cars and all, but this isn’t actually a race. If you let someone in front of you, it’s not really cutting in line because there is no line, we’re all going to different places (also, most of us stopped making a big deal about no cutsies when we graduated middle school). This is especially true if you’re driving in the New York tri-state area, where you can easily miss your turn-off because no one wants to let you into their lane. Fun fact: it’s not actually “their” lane. No one can own a lane, it’s public space. Sharing is caring.
If you drive a car anywhere within the New York tri-state area
I hope you get herpes. On your eyeballs.
Those lines in the road are so pretty
They go on either side of your car, not in the middle. Stop veering into my lane. My car is in my lane. And I am in my car. I would like to keep all of this in a separate physical space from you and your car. I’m not a physicist, but if we combine our shared car space at the speed the average human drives at, neither of us will be doing too well. Also, if you’re driving 200 miles below the speed limit and not letting me pass you because half of your car is in my lane, I will end you.
A fun story about the worst person ever
The other night some a**hole drove down a turn at five bajillion miles an hour because it was 2am and apparently they are the only ones who exist at that time of day. They careened into the car in front, flipping it over and sending it across the street. Naturally, like anyone else would, they opted to skip the part where they checked to make sure they hadn’t just killed someone, and drove off before anyone could get their license plate number. Now, I know that driving is a complex and challenging flower, but when you do it wrong, don’t leave people for dead. For serious. What the HELL.
Everyone was fine, by the way. Except the car.
Listen. I know we all like to rip apart other drivers and think that no one can handle a steering wheel except me. Which is true, and you should all just stay home from now on. Or walk. Or scooter. Or bike (but wear a helmet, because seriously, why does no one wear a helmet?). The truth is, if everyone paid just a little bit more attention to the people around them and communicated with them more, we would all be fine. I wouldn’t come home every day feeling like I narrowly escaped death – or at least death by insurance premiums – because some idiot doesn’t like using a turn signal and does what they want. And seriously, I cannot stress this enough – put. your. f*cking. phone. down.
Image via Natalie Dee. Video ⓒ Fox via YouTube (can we talk about what a great show The Critic was, you guys?)