Friday, July 1, 2011

Driving Class: PNW

Dear Madame L,

I just moved to the Pacific Northwest, and I can't believe how atrocious the drivers are here. Do you have any helpful hints for me, so I can survive the bizarre driving habits of my co-travelers? This would be especially helpful as the Fourth of July weekend is upon us, followed by a whole summer of whacko nut-case driving.


Scared to death

Dear Scared,

Madame L has also noticed the driving habits to which you refer, and she infers that driving lessons in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) include the following:

---Drive really slowly, especially if you're in the middle or left lane. Don't move over to the far right or "slow" lane under any circumstances because you don't want anyone to think you're "slow." Even if you are.

---When you want to switch lanes, drive up really fast and cut in front of someone who is just a few feet back from the next car in front. Do this even if you're passing up 50 to 100 feet or more of space behind the car you're cutting in front of. Turn on your blinker, signaling that you're going to move into that lane, because that makes it okay. Then, swerve into the lane, even though there's not enough room for your car to fit there, cutting off the other car and causing the driver to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting you.

---If they honk their horn or flash their lights at you, shrug and move into another lane where they can't catch up with you to express their displeasure. Look straight ahead so they can't catch your eye, either. You don't want to force them to experience road rage.

---If you have any doubts about whether you should engage in this kind of driving, buy a big and/or expensive car. Mercedes and BMWs work the best. You're not really intimidating the other drivers, but you're showing how true it is that you're basically better than them, and thus deserving of their backing off and letting you in.

---There's more, much more, which Madame L will add to the list later. 

Dear Scared Reader(s), please feel free to write to Madame L with your own additions.

Also Scared,

Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

For starts, this kind of PacNW driver would be run off the road and assaulted in Virginia - I've seen this happen.

For seconds, a startlingly high percentage of drivers are using cell-phones, despite it being highly illegal. I can see no evidence that this law is ever enforced.

I drove home on an otherwise-straight road with one dangerous kink in it two weeks ago. In the middle of the kink, a Ford Expedition came into view - three wheel-widths into my lane (there is no shoulder that I can to retreat to, just a ditch). She had one hand on the cell phone and with the other was running her fingers through her hair. Despite honking and running one wheel partly into a ditch, she never looked - nor stopped combing her hair and talking.

This isn't the tense soccer mom exhibiting road-rage that I've seen in Virginia... this is much more dangerous.