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DRIVING WITH DIPSTICKS, A COLUMN BY BEN BRICKMAN

Bad drivers who no one talks about

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 8:10 am

I recently read an article on the humor website Cracked.com where it looked into bad drivers who nobody complains about. It said that complaining about bad drivers is probably the most common talking point of every late night hack out there. It talked about some types of bad drivers who people complain about, such as those who drive too slow, talk on their cell phones, tailgate, and forget to turn off their blinkers, are beaten to death as topics. The article then discussed other bad drivers no one ever seems to complain about, and it said in just about the same manner I would, such as…

1. People Who Are Scared To Death of Concrete Barriers

Cracked.com stated, “Sometimes when freeway planners don't have a lot of faith in the driving skills of ordinary citizens, which is completely reasonable, they put up concrete barriers to keep drunk and stupid people from driving into oncoming traffic or off a cliff. These can sometimes be a little close to the lane for comfort, especially so when they put up temporary barriers for construction, and can terrify drivers who don't know how to drive straight.” We all know this to be true!

It went on to say, “That's fine. Knowing your limitations is a good thing. But the sensible thing to do would be to get out of the scary lane, instead of constantly hitting your brakes in terror and veering so far to the right that your car has half changed lanes anyway.” This is what I call taking your half out of the middle, and yes it makes me scream!

The article asked, “Why do these people do this? Apparently it's really important for them to stay in the 'fast lane' even though their pants-(soiling) fear of the barrier is causing them to slow down so much they would probably be going faster in the next lane down anyway. Or maybe they're just too scared to think of what to do.

“Listen, barrier-phobic people, it's OK to move over. The concrete barrier can't smell fear (like a dog). It's not going to chase you.”

2. People Who Think Bikes Are a Mile Wide

The literal mirror image of the people are people who are terrified of bicyclists. Whenever they come across a single bicyclist riding on the right side of the road, they give the bike the berth that most people would normally give a bus, or in some cases, two buses.

It said, "bicyclists do really appreciate the fact that you care about not running them over, and that's very sweet, but bikes are as wide as people. When there's a bike lane, in particular, the bike lane is plenty big enough to contain the bike, and the car lane is just fine to fit your car, so all you have to do is stay in that car lane, as opposed to veering into oncoming traffic or slowing down and driving behind the bike the whole way home.”

I know sometimes there's no bike lane and the road is narrow, and sometimes there's inconsiderate bicyclists who don't stay to the right, but ignore those cases. There's plenty of times the bike is safely contained in a big fat shoulder or bike lane, and all this dipstick driver can see is some kind of whale rolling sideways down the side of the road.

3. People Who Time Things Just Right to Make You Miss the Light

This is my personal favorite! Anyone who causes you to miss a traffic light is frustrating, but when they do it in ways that don't make any sense, like someone in front of you is just driving straight out and too damn slow, and doesn't make it, I hate this! How about a moron in cross traffic who is in such a hurry he tries to squeeze across when there's no room, gets stuck in the intersection, and is still there blocking it when you get your green. Wouldn't it be nice to drop the dozer blade and push him into the next county!

The article said, “What's just completely bewildering is people that fit the slow driver profile all the way right up to the light, and just as yellow is about to turn to red, they bolt through, leaving you stuck at a solid red. It's almost like they were deliberately trying to lose you, which doesn't make any sense if you're not a cop or private detective or terminator, and most of us aren't.”

I agree with the article, “this is all crazy talk, and thinking that other drivers are out to get you is an irrational paranoia born from spending too much time in traffic.” But, being paranoid doesn't necessarily mean they aren't out to get you! Until next time, be careful out there, no one else is.

Ben Brickman is production manager for Fort Wayne Newspapers. Want to vent? Send it to dipsticks@news-sentinel.com. Include all the details you can think of. If your dipstick gets in the paper he'll give you the credit, or not. It's your call. You can phone in your Dipstick sightings at 260-461-8285. Ben's also on Facebook, Driving With Dipsticks!