Why Traffic Sucks . . .

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Traffic sucks – everyone who has to deal with it says it. But is it because of the traffic – i.e., because of the number of cars on the road?

Or is it because of something else?   

“Traffic” is arguably a misnomer for the collective effect of inconsiderate – or inept – drivers. The reason why many people equate traffic – as such – with sucking is because there are more inconsiderate/inept drivers to deal with. 

But the fundamental problem is the ineptitude and the inconsideration.

Not the number of cars on the road.

Perhaps one of the clearest-cut examples of this being the drivers who leave car-length gaps between their vehicle and the one ahead of them. Not when traffic is moving but rather when it is stopped or slowing to a stop, as for a red light. The effect of this is to increase “traffic” without actually increasing the number of cars on the road. It increases the lag-time between movement – as when the red light turns green – such that it is more likely cars farther behind in the queue will not make it through the light before it turns red, again. 

Or be able to get to the left turn lane.

It’s common to see it up ahead – often, empty or perhaps with one car waiting to make the turn – but you can’t get to the lane because the car ahead of you (or the car ahead of the car ahead of you) has stopped a car length ahead of the car ahead of them. If they had pulled up to within a couple of feet of the car ahead, the space occupied by the line of cars ahead would be less and it would be more likely that cars wanting to get into the left turn lane could do so – without having to first wait for the spaced-out conga line of cars ahead of them to eventually close the gap after the light for them has turned green (and the light for the left turn has turned red). 

It is possible some people just have a very poor sense of spatial relationships – but it is hard to believe that anyone cannot see there’s a full car length of empty space between themselves and the car ahead when they aren’t moving. And it is astounding to reflect how commonplace it is for people to make no effort to pull forward when they can see in their rearview that the car behind them is trying to squeeze past to make it into the turn lane before the light turns red, again.

Then again, expecting people to look in their rearview mirrors is apparently expecting too much, these days. If they did – and acted, accordingly – “traffic” would flow much more smoothly.

Same goes for when they’re moving – when they’re not moving with the flow of traffic. Your path isn’t blocked so much by “traffic” but by the car – singular – ahead of you in the left lane who will not drive faster or slower than the car adjacent in the right lane. The simple act of moving over – into the right lane – so as to unblock the left (and passing) lane would, if generally practiced, greatly reduce the bunching up of “traffic.”

Similarly, the cars in the right lane (on a two-lane) who make no effort to briefly move into the left lane (when it’s empty) so as to make it possible for cars waiting to turn onto the road to do so. By not doing so, they make the cars trying to merge wait. When several cars do this, the wait can be long.

And the frustration grows.

But it’s not a problem of too many cars on the road; it is a problem of a few drivers creating problems for the other cars on the road. 

Other examples of this include drivers who will not make a right turn at a red light even when it is legal to do so. Instead, they wait for the light to turn green. Making you (and everyone else) wait along with them.

The drivers who come to a near or even complete stop in the middle of a busy road before making a turn. The drivers who cannot competently perform a U-turn and on account of them, making a U-Turn has been made illegal for everyone.

Most of all – above all – the not-paying-attention driver. The ones who aren’t ready to get going when the light goes green. Each moment’s pause compounding into a needless “traffic” jam. The ones who are unable to roll with the ebb and flow of the “traffic” around them, with the result being abrupt slowing/stopping and getting-going again – rather than the smooth flowing that would otherwise be possible.

Even with a lot of “traffic” on the road.

. . .

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  1. One of the most annoying trends is for someone exiting the parking lot to put the hood of the car in the road, then wait till it’s safe to turn onto the road while cars have to manuver around them. Or when you are on a multi lane avenue and a car stops to wave a left turn into the mall while the other lane is going 40 mph and bicyclists are also going by.

  2. On-ramp misuse is rampant in Colorado. Here on the far western Slope the ramps are often a quarter mile long or more, plenty of time to get yourself up to the PSL/travel speed (and usually very little traffic to deal with merging although tailgating is rampant even when the passing lane is open), yet every time I’m behind someone attempting to get on I-70 I’m stuck trying to get on the highway at 50-60 MPH. If the opportunity to cut across to the passing lane is an option, inevitably the driver ahead of me on the ramp will quickly get up to speed so I cannot pass.

    And if I’m already on the highway when approaching an entrance almost guarantees I have to take some sort of action dispite the yield signs on the ramp. I even had someone try to explain to me that highways were like ski slopes, where the uphill skiier (driver already on the road) is responsible for avoiding skiiers in front of them… Huh? I guess they didn’t realize they could use their mirrors to see behind them (or turn their heads).

    As for stop lights, there is a trend of not actually stopping, just continuing to creep forward. I guess it’s a variation of hypermiling, although it isn’t restricted to Prius and other eco-terrorist rides. Could also be people trying to keep the ASS from kicking on, instead of pushing the disable button. JUST STOP ALREADY!

    • It is like that in this neck of the woods as well, RK. People treat the on-ramp to a highway like it is the Sunday stroll lane. They have no clue that they need to be speeding up with the rest of traffic on the highway while on that ramp. Not poking along at 40 miles an hour, while everyone else is going at least 5-10 over the speed limit on the main highway. There have been plenty an argument on the one local Bad Driver site on Fakebook about it. In my state, it is the on-ramp drivers responsibility to either speed up with the flow of traffic, or get the hell out of the way. Sadly, most self-righteously demand that I “move over” and “let them in”. Not when I have a left-lane lugger next to me, who does not understand the concept of passing me, or getting out of the left lane. Some days-just as Foghorn Leghorn says-it really doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

  3. Goodness gracious Mister Eric, what a rant. Reporting here from beautiful downtown Zaragoza, midway between Barcelona and Madrid. You thinks you got it bad? Listen up.

    This oversized village of 700,000 ¨people¨ has more traffice lights than any other city in Spagan. Get stopped at a redlight? 50 feet later, you’ll get stopped again. And again. And again. Curiously, the sheeples are totally masked, 3 and 4 time ¨vaxed¨ and DEMAND more ¨protection¨. It is nuts.

    The ¿authorities? have ¨programmed¨the stop and go lights to stop everyone. as much as possible.

    Traffic lights……. the pedestrians get a 6 green, blinking visual warning, then the warning turns red for a 4.25 second delay, then the traffic light turns green for vehicles. But wait for it. The first car in line waits about 3 or 4 seconds before it starts through the light. The second car another 2 or 3 seconds, then the third car, then the 4th car. You would grind your teeth to smithereens here.

    Me? I got it figured out, strategic driving, pick my lanes and GO. Incredible. And I have a slow VW Golf.

    Sheeples. Gotta love ’em,these locals, gettin 4 times ¨vaxed¨.

    I love Canada. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBxTsJ1XiqM.

    Have people seen what a Central American president said lately? The fight is not in Iran, or Ukraine. It is in Canada.

    Buckle up Americans.

    • Indeed, Franz –

      Especially: “The authorities have programmed the stop and go lights to stop everyone. as much as possible.”

      Exactly so. The whole point being to discourage driving by making driving as miserable as possible.

      • I think it was Chicago that adjusted the light timing in order to maximize red light ticket revenue. BTW that’s why I stomp the brakes when I could probably make it through the intersections..

        • Hi Anon,

          Yup. Several municipalities have been caught colluding with red light camera companies to maximize automated red light ticket revenue by abbreviating yellow intervals, which not only catch more “red light runners” but also cause drivers to either jam on the gas to make the light or slam on the brakes to stop before the red. This almost certainly increases rear-ender and other accidents.

  4. There are drivers and then there commuters. The more jelly bean the auto, the more likely you will see poor driving performance. I have yet to be cut off by a Porsche or Corvette.

    We used to have plates that denoted drivers worse than anyone else, but they seem to have been fazed out… Educator tags. As the old saying goes, “those that can’t do, teach”.

    And then there’s me causing the traffic jam (but not anymore!!!!). Corporations that have installed GPS into vehicles and make their operators drive the speed limits. I hated having to lead the train of vehicles parading behind me on two lane roads with no pull-offs available. (Got a new job, GPS still in vehicles but they aren’t strict about performance. Just can’t go over 80, yeehaw!).

    • Hi Jump,

      I can’t imagine how tedious and aggravating it must be to drive a commercial vehicle with “safety” monitoring system that alerts the company if you drive “aggressively” (i.e., anything not like a glaucomic old lady) or “speed.” I think I’d rather walk…

      • I have been set free! Not only have I lost the GPS Granny Nanny, but I got a vehicle that is actually fun to drive (as far as work vehicles go).

        Got a brand new Dodge Pro Master City. It has a strong engine (per today’s expectations) and the not-rubberband CVT transmission. It is great to hit the gas and have the transmission shift gears! What a thrill to be able to put the pedal to the metal and pass slow moving vehicles! (Not to mention the tire size of the new vehicle is so much better than the NV200 with horribly small tires.)

      • To add, it is tedious to watch the speedo. It distracts from paying attention to the road. The past two days have shown me that.

        My new employer hasn’t installed the GPS tracker in my vehicle yet, but as I said, they only care about speeding over 80 mph. No cares about hard acceleration, braking, or cornering. I am free to travel with the flow of traffic again!

  5. Truckers who decide to pass another truck with only a 5mph advantage. All traffic now stuck behind trucks and when clear the race starts to get around before a trucker does it again. This causes many accidents.
    I’m glad truckers are moving stuff across the country for us, but stay your A$$ in the far right lane period.

    • It’s worse than that in the mountains. A truck will be properly using the slow lane at the base going 55 mph. A truck pulls into the other lane and picks up 5 mph, but as the hill gets steeper, both trucks slow down to 40 mph. If you’re on a rural road some jerk will go really slow till the passing lane opens up, then they speed up to 20mph over the limit and when the passing lane closes they go back to driving slow.

  6. Individual drivers and lack of driver’s education certainly have led to excessive amounts of traffic on the road. If people would complete a pass on the left side at +10 to +15 mph faster than the person they are passing instead of 5 mph faster, road capacity would be increased, but there is a phenomenon that can’t be overlooked.

    In 1970, drivers in the US traveled 1.1 trillion miles per year. Today, drivers travel 3.5 trillion miles a year. The increase in traffic in the rural and exurban areas is disproportionately higher. Rural Interstate traffic in rural areas of Alabama and Florida, jumped from 400 to 700 percent from 1970 to 2008.

    During the mid 2010’s, highways have become increasingly jammed. Spot ghost traffic jams appeared out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere on my way from Texas to Oklahoma. As a result, I would exit the interstate and cruise the two lanes. It wasn’t as fast, but much less stressful.

    There is traffic and the lack of roadbuilding is partly the cause. A solution to the problem would be to build toll roads paid for by the user for NEW construction only. Remove the tolls after the bonds are paid. This has worked successfully in Kentucky where they built toll roads for new construction and removed them when they were done.

    Much of the early interstate system was done that way without uncle crooks interference.

    Toll roads have the advantage of being self sustaining and also less damaging to the visual environment. Compare the amount of useless development around a toll road versus an interstate.

  7. Getting angry with these driving imbeciles is futile. I liken it to getting mad at a special needs person. They can’t help being retarded and who feels good about yelling at reets?

  8. -Drivers that brake when going down a hill so as to not go any bit above the magical speed limit. This causes you (behind them) to have to brake as well. They can’t use their momentum to then assist them up the next little hill, so you end up braking on the downhill and having to use more gas to get up the next hill.

    -On a two-lane road, drivers that nearly come to a complete stop to turn across the oncoming lane to exit the road. This is ok when there are oncoming cars they have to wait for to make their turn. It becomes an annoyance when they do it even when there is nobody coming in the oncoming lane. They could use the oncoming lane as a “turn lane” (as long as it’s clear) as a courtesy to the drivers behind them to keep them from having to brake more than necessary.

    -Drivers that brake suddenly in the middle of nowhere, without signaling, and without any possible legitimate turn-off and pulling off onto the shoulder. This causes you to wonder what the hell they’re doing (stopping where there is no turn off) as you have to rapidly brake for no apparent reason. It appears that they are confused about something or they missed a turn somewhere behind them. It’s not a problem on a deserted road, but when they do it in traffic, it’s dangerous. Instead of pulling this surprise stunt, they could simply wait to pull off onto the next legitimate turn off (driveway, intersecting road, etc.) and head back in the other direction or take time to figure out their problem.

    • That’s easy mode. Try delivering downtown during rush hour. Navigate 20% hills with endless streams of pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. And parking in the turning lane to make deliveries. Or backing into the loading Bay without killing anyone

  9. Eric,

    I forgot to say that I also stay far enough back so I can see the rear wheels of the vehicle in front of me. This is something I learned in CDL training. If you can see the rear wheels of the vehicle ahead of you, then you can get around them if necessary. I try to leave enough room so, if an unsavory character comes up towards me (say to carjack me), I can get out of Dodge. The same applies if you get caught by a riot or protest. You always want to have a way out.

    I also have room if someone rear ends me. If someone hits me, I don’t want to hit the car in front of me. Pulling up too close can put you in position to hit the vehicle ahead of you if some a’hole slams you from behind.

  10. Eric,

    I must take some exception to you WRT right on red. Just because it’s legal at an intersection doesn’t mean it’s SAFE! For example, if there are parked cars blocking your view of traffic approaching from the left, you can’t see what’s coming. If you pull out and get hit by a car you didn’t see, it’ll likely be your fault. That means a ticket, fine, and increased insurance premiums for years. Even if you weren’t at fault, there’s the possibility of injury, vehicular damage, not to mention the time it takes to resolve the fallout from an accident, e.g get your car fixed/replaced.

    SO! I turn right on red if: 1) it’s legal to do so; and 2) if it’s safe, i.e. I can-gasp-SEE what’s coming! There’s a right on red from one busy street to another, but there’s a bridge blocking your view of the traffic on the one street; you can’t see who’s coming, making it dangerous to pull out on a red light. I always wait for the light to change at that intersection. I figure an extra minute waiting is better than weeks or months of ajita from an accident. Oh, and what about causing a TRAFFIC BACKUP because I pulled out when I shouldn’t have?

    IOW, if it’s not safe for me to go, I don’t go. If someone behind me has a problem with that, tough noogies; they should’ve left earlier, so as to have enough time to reach their destination.

  11. As a motorcycle rider I always leave a space with the vehicle in front of me while stopped at lights. I then keep a close eye on my mirrors and have room to move in case some genius is going to rear end me. This has happened to me twice. If I was up on somebodies ass at the light I would have got creamed.

    • Amen brother! Learned this and other good lessons riding with older bikers over the years, these lessons were why they were older bikers.

      Stay away from other vehicles, never follow anyone towing anything, avoid left turns with no turn lane but if you have to, make your own lane by getting to the center of the road to help avoid getting rear ended.

      I have zero tolerance for cell phones while driving, my buddy got t boned in his car when a chick yammering on her phone blew the intersection. His back and neck were never normal after this.

      Here in the Soviet of Washington they relaxed the law re: primary driving offenses, now the list is long on letting you skate/no pulling you over – including cell phones and left lane camping, disgusting. I’m tempted to take the hair dryer to my motorcycle license registration tabs and no longer pay the yearly fee since expired tabs are on their “equity” driven skate list. Maybe I’ll DNA for Native American and join the Yakima Nation, they have their own license plates no tags.

    • Bikes are the only reason I leave extra space between me and the vehicle in front of me at a stop. I also make it a point to slow down sooner than normal to signal to the biker that I am in fact slowing down and preparing to stop.

      I also leave extra space when traveling behind a bike as a courtesy. I pay more attention to the biker more than if it was any other vehicle. If the biker goes down, I want to have more time to react because the biker doesn’t have a cage.

      Finally, I always try to look a biker in the eyes in my side view mirror as they start to pass me to let them know that I do see them.

    • I always keep a cars length distance between me and the vehicle in front of me at a red light during the Winter months. Where I live, we have nine months of Winter. And I cannot tell you how many near-rear enders I have avoided, because I had enough space between me, and the car in front me, so I could advance forward, or move and get into another lane. And all because the jack a** behind me was driving too fast for icy, slippery roads, and could not stop in time. I do not care if it pisses someone off. They are not the ones who are going to foot the bill for a new back end if someone plows into the back of me, because they were going too damned fast.

  12. Eric,

    You are completely correct, and the frequency of these annoying practices has been increasing in recent years. I haven’t yet, but I always want to pull around the offending car and put myself in the hug gab they’ve left for no reason.

    • Part of the reason is there hasn’t been drivers ed in schools for decades. What’s ironic is that car crashes are one of the leading causes of death among young people, yet no training in the schools. Meanwhile, the schools main concern now-a-days is making kids wear a mask.

      • I guess it’s been a couple of decades since I took driver’s ed, Randy, but that’s sad. Even back then, however, publik educashun was devolving into the prisoner obedience training it is today.

        • We had to watch a movie called signal 30, which showed all manner of mangled and injured people from traffic crashes. Of course this would never be shown to the kids today, it might upset them. As far as I’m concerned this was a good dose of reality and showed that the road is a serious place.

          • The problem with fear based teaching is fear wears off.

            I would suggest autocross and skidpad. But that would seem too much like fun for the control freaks of the safety cult and the anti-destination league.

          • There are thousands of videos on YT featuring clips from dashcams. There is no reason even for teens not to have seen them in these days. I watch quite a few of them every week, to glean info that news articles never cover about an accident. The best ones are the trains that hit vehicles on the tracks. Train wins every time.

      • Randy, I had to take drivers Ed to get my loicence. Drivers Ed is stupid. They teach idiocy. They say that it’s impossible to control the car if you exceed the speed limit. The cops have beer goggles that cause you to stumble and fall over instantly after trying them on. and they say it simulates .08 BAC. They had some alcoholic telling us not to drive drunk because after pulling a 12 hour shift on a Friday, he partied with his friends for a few hours drinking and blacked out and crashed which killed his friend. I mean obviously that makes you really tired and even without alcohol people are going to fall asleep and the wheel cause it’s 3 am after a very long day.

        I did well on the driving part cause I care about driving and I drove a million miles in Gran Turismo/ need for speed. The kids who shared the drivers Ed car were totally uncoordinated spazzy emotional wrecks.

        • Hi Anon,

          Even back in my day – the ’80s – driver ed was as “educational” as paying taxes is “voluntary.” The same idiocy you experienced. Glacial, passive “driving” in a Ford Taurus. Anything remotely close to acceleration was cause for a lecture about “defensive driving.” Only the most arthritic slowing/turning praised. And “turning” meant putting on the left or right signal and waiting until someone let you in.

          The same near-hysterical injunctions about alcohol. As if one sip would cause the sipper to drive through a shopping mall. Just absurd.

          But in my day, most kids had already had some experience of driving before “driver’s ed.” And we were raised before saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety seats and so did not fear cars. We lusted to drive them.

          Our was the last generation to grow up that way.

          • Hi Eric, I took driver’s training in the ’70’s at a Fairfax County High School. My instructor was an old, grizzled character and our car was a Reliant K car, I think. He loved that car because it had great visibility all around. Probably made his job easier.

            He was an excellent teacher. I remember two things distinctly: I was taught to floor the gas pedal when in the merge lane on the freeway (I was like, what? “Do it!” o-kay. . .) and he also taught me how to stop at a traffic light without giving myself or other passengers whip-lash.

            I guess things have changed; not for the better.

            • Oh, and when stopping at a light, to pull up until you just see the bumper of the car ahead – none of this leaving a huge distance in front of you.

              • SD,

                I leave enough distance to see the rear wheels of the vehicle in front of me; if you can see the rear wheels, then you have enough space to get out of Dodge if necessary. What if someone tries to carjack you? What if you’re caught up in a protest or riot? If you see something you don’t like, you have enough room to get out of Dodge.

              • Fairfax High School – my first few months were at the original old building in Fairfax City which became the Business college for George Mason U and now I think, it’s a Catholic school.

                Yeah, Oakton was just down the road, pretty much next door neighbors to Fairfax City. That old 123, Chain Bridge Rd is it? One time a friend and I decided to walk home from Tysons Corner mall down 123, (oh, it’s not that far right?) Yeah, it was about 4 miles or so, kinda farther that we thought – but we survived, goofy teenagers that we were.

                • Good memories, Snap!

                  I did that same walk from Tysons to home along 123. We lived off of Hunter Mill Road. Close enough to ride my bike to OHS before I could drive. I worked for a while at the McDonald’s on 123 just across from Madison High School. The whole area is unrecognizable now – and that was ten years ago, the last time I was up there!

                  • We just had friends in town from Va that used to live in Arlington. Perfectly nice homes being torn down there to build even bigger ones. Such a waste. Everywhere and everything, it seems, unrecognizable. My husband showed me a cartoon recently – a bookstore relocated their Current Events books to the Science Fiction section. Pretty much.

      • Ducking autocorrect makes it impossible to comment properly. At least the autopilot on my car makes it possible to read & comment on this site instead of having to drive manually with all of these annoying jerk drivers.

  13. Aside from peoples lack of driving skills, there is also how poorly designed roads actually are for the amount of traffic they are supposed to carry. Design flaws are legion: choke points, too-wide shoulders (why not put a lane in there). Especially infuriating is when there are road improvements, but obvious design things were missed.

    I’m convinced the people who design the roads don’t drive them. Certainly not during rush hour!

    • “I’m convinced the people who design the roads don’t drive them. Certainly not during rush hour!”

      Tom, I’ve been convinced of that for YEARS! I think that, in order to be a traffic engineer or road designer, then it should be a requirement to have driven for a living in some capacity, even as a pizza delivery driver. I’m thinking of two, poorly set lights on Hooper Ave. in Silverton, NJ that were a problem even 30 years ago. The one goes green, while the other goes red; this creates notorious jams going in to Silverton…

      • That wouldn’t help.
        These are government employees. They respond to government incentives. They would quickly put their experiences aside to follow the political incentives and we would end up with much the same thing.

    • The #1 problem with the too wide shoulder’s isn’t that their too wide, it’s that it’s in the wrong place. They do improve clean up of accidents on interstates. But the problem is that they don’t help at all on biways. What works better (and MA has started to figure this out) is to take a foot from them on each side and put it down the middle and put a rumble strip on so that if people cross the center they have time to recover and passing is more intentional.

      But yes, lots of stupidity in building of highways. Mostly because of linear thinking.

    • Tom- if they make a bad road that gaurentees additional money and perpetual road construction to fix it. And mass transit to ease up the roads. There’s a section of I5 in Tacoma that’s been under construction my whole life and I pointed it out to my dad when I was talking him on a trip. He said it was under construction when he was in college and probably when he was in elementary School. And of course sound transit is planning to exceed the $54 billion budget for slow lite rail and they demolished the affordable housing to make room for $3000 per month apartments which forced working class people to move far away from transit which means driving an AWD or 4×4 100 miles a day in heavy traffic or giving up and joining the bums in tent cities.

  14. A truck driver was driving down a state highway in a remote area, came upon a stop sign, wasn’t paying attention, drove through the stop sign, plowed into a minivan, the woman driving the minivan and two children lost their lives.

    Everybody makes mistakes, mistakes can cause traumatic stress, post the accident.

    PTSD from then on.

    You have to pay attention if you are driving a vehicle. Can’t be any other way, has to be done.

    Truckers are driving 85-90 mph down the interstate. You take another route to be less vulnerable to the flow of the traffic, you leave the interstate for a less traveled road. You’re in their way, there is another road you can drive on. 75 mph is too slow, has to be 80 mph on some interstates to have fewer problems.

    Out in Montana on the interstate, I was driving a minivan and hitting more than 90 mph. A truck driver was passing at more than 105 mph. That was 23 years ago now. You can’t compete, you have to slow down to 75 to 80. Did get a 20 dollar ticket on another interstate in Montana for speeding at about 83 mph. I informed the patrolman of truckers rate of speed, not really speeding, on I-94, so I thought 80 plus was unenforceable, not so.

    He wanted to know where it was on the interstate the truckers were going that fast.

    I-80 in Iowa, all trucks move at 65 mph and there are highway patrol every six miles or so.

    Chicago is not too far away by then, take it easy is the advice from the Iowa State Patrol.

  15. How about the morons that are supposed to be moving through an intersection or making a right turn but for some reason they stop completely for no reason, I think they are screwed mentally, (driving injected haha) for sure they are going to crash somewhere, shouldn’t be driving, they are probably the moronic injected, zombie, transhuman abortions, walking dead, going somewhere to crash into somebody………

    and how about this?……….someone just posted people are getting glaucoma and vision loss after 2nd injection……and they are driving down the street.

  16. Hey Anonymous February 16, 2022 At 12:15 pm

    Your GTI was my ‘Sears Kalvinator’ white B5 S4 Audi Avant… two types of fun.. One, doing a quick pass on the right when a passing lane opens up, cuz by the time they realize they need to move over if they ever do, the passing lane has ended.

    Second, ‘enrolling’ tailgaters in ‘Understeer School’ on highway mountain passes, when going through the tight corners. Having a 5-way adjustable suspension is helpful for the instructor. By the time they get to, or past the fog line, class is dismissed.

    “One car I bought was partly to solve that problem a 1995 GTI with an Audi 1.8 20vt stage 2 engine swap, 240 hp, 5 speed, totally analog apart from a very powerful engine management system, 2300 lb, it is pretty hard to cut that car off, it is a sleeper it looks like a tiny little VW Golf. “

    • Second, ‘enrolling’ tailgaters in ‘Understeer School’ on highway mountain passes, when going through the tight corners. Having a 5-way adjustable suspension is helpful for the instructor. By the time they get to, or past the fog line, class is dismissed
      ………..Another ride I have is a 1988 Porsche 924S Le Mans (248 ROW made only), it is set up as a track car, it does not understeer, fantastic brakes and is totally stable, planted at very high speed, (at high speed 911’s wander around and understeer), perfectly balanced, these idiots are not following that car through corners, when it is 10, 10ths if you try and follow/pass it you will crash, that car is unbelievable to drive, the best handling sports car ever made, a transaxle car, better then midengine (no snap oversteer).

  17. The Honda CRV and the middle-aged women who drive them are the bane of my existence. If I had a dollar for every time that a CRV driver did these things, I’d have my Porsche 911 GT3 and MB AMG station wagon plus a vacation house in Florida.
    They include:
    – Cut me off, forcing me to slam on brakes.
    – Brake in the right lane of a six-lane road so they can cross three lanes of traffic to get over for a turn and nearly causing a pile-up because they can’t think ahead to work their way to the left.
    – No turn signals.
    – Being a moving chicane in the left lane before racing me because you’re mortally offended that my wife’s van is passing you on the right side, a race the V-6 in the van usually wins. They’ll even do that to my MK. IV Supra.
    – Not understanding how a merge works and how the right lane keeps moving. Don’t stop right in the middle of the lane, you mindless crone!
    – Braking suddenly at a yellow light when it looked like they were going to go through it. I almost rear-ended one that did that to me.

    BMWs are cars for assholes, while CRVs are idiot shuttles. Avoid them at all costs. The woman driving them is probably hopped up on a witch’s brew of prescription pills and doesn’t give a damn about you anyhow.

  18. These idiots that come to a stop very slowly and leave a big gap ahead of them at red lights or the same idiots that hesitate and slowly move through the intersection when the light turns green are almost 100% looking at their cell phone, texting or talking to someone while not driving, if I see them look down at their phone I honk at them.

    Even worse are the morons that never do shoulder checks when changing lanes (probably the biggest causes of accidents), the problem is one out of fifty times there is someone in their blind spot and they will come within an inch of hitting your car, even when heavy braking and taking evasive action, those ones get the horn locked up in their ear.

    Another moron is the one that pulls up in the right lane on a four lane road at a light, where the traffic merges back to one lane, the one you are in by the center line, you know for sure the guy is going to drag race you to where the right lane merges into your lane and come within an inch of hitting your car, a lot of these people look at your car and judge it, if they think it looks small/old/slow they will floor it and cut you off, I don’t like getting cut off.

    One car I bought was partly to solve that problem a 1995 GTI with an Audi 1.8 20vt stage 2 engine swap, 240 hp, 5 speed, totally analog apart from a very powerful engine management system, 2300 lb, it is pretty hard to cut that car off, it is a sleeper it looks like a tiny little VW Golf.

    Another car I own is a super 7 clone, it is very strange, most people won’t race it at an intersection, it seems to intimidate people, they don’t know what the hell it is, it looks like a tiny F2 car that got loose on the road, (it sounds like a small block V8 when idling), most of them have never ever seen one ever anywhere, you have to go to Euro car shows to see one, you probably won’t find one (it is the most photographed car you will ever see , they want to sit in the car and get their picture taken, and you have to spend 15 minutes telling people what it is and it’s history, over and over again) . That car is 1200 lb and has a 4:33 diff and very short gears so it launches very hard, there probably isn’t too many cars that will beat it through an intersection. The key to that car is lightness and throttle response and it changes direction like nothing else, agile x 10, try following it down a narrow winding road or on a short track.

    That car intimidates people, I tell friends, try it out, they say no thanks, they are scared of the car.

      • Had an Impreza whose mirrors would not adjust out far enough to do that. I typically adjust the side mirrors out so I have to move my head to see the side of my car. Except on that one.

      • I drove 5 ton trucks for a long time, the mirrors is all you have, there is no rear vision.

        In a car if the mirrors are set properly you don’t need to shoulder check when changing lanes, wrong, 999 times out of 1000 it will be ok, but everything and anything will happen on the road surrounded by idiots, that 1 out of 1000 times someone will leap into your blind spot when you are changing lanes, it takes very little effort to turn your head a bit and look, if you hit something when you change lanes you are at fault. This is a problem with old people, they can’t turn their head they are so immobile, they shouldn’t be on the road.

        The morons texting will just change lanes, no shoulder check, no any check and come within an inch of hitting your car, they don’t give a shit, if their windows are open I will give them an earful.

  19. The large gaps at traffic lights is taught. So is waiting three seconds to move after the car ahead has gone. It’s part of those traffic safeeeety classes and probably drivers’ ed and who knows what else. Brought to you by the anti-destination league.

    Also traffic sucks because with the Pete B’s, the new urbanists politically deciding transportation they make it suck deliberately. It’s part of pushing people into transit. Instead of making useful transit they focus in on making motoring expensive and painful.

    • I remember being taught in driver’s ed to stop where you can see where the rear tires of the car in front of you meet the road *in case the car in front of you breaks down, you’ll be able to get around them*.

      About the only reason to do this is if you’re the getaway driver for a bank robbery.

  20. People who have little to no power over their own lives elsewhere, do have power when they get behind the wheel of a couple of tons of motorized steel and plastic. Many of them relish exerting that power, over you. They are delighted if they can keep you from passing them. They rejoice when they cause you to miss the light. They consider any expression of your own power as an insult to theirs.

    • Then of course, there is the cell phone. Which requires their undivided attention while doing the most dangerous thing most will do in their lives.

    • That is another type of idiot, they go just quick enough so they just barely make the next light, while making sure if you are behind them you will miss the light for sure, you have to pass/get away from these bastards as quick as you can.

  21. Eric, fantastic article, and observations. Amen to everything you and your followers have stated.

    But wait, there’s more.

    Many communities in the western US have ‘enjoyed’ net in migration for decades now. I most obviously see this while driving over the Pacific NW mountain passes in winter. Many, hell, almost all of these people do not know how to drive on snow and ice. I learned early on, how to drive on snow and ice w my mom’s early 1970’s Monte Carlo w bias ply tires.

    15- 25 mph is pretty much top speed for these worthless drivers. When I pass them (safely) in my AWD Subaru w four winter-rated Blizzaks, they all must be in terror, as I might be driving 35-45 mph. These drivers are everything in your article, but on a multiple ‘X’ factor of stupid.

    As one commenter stated, going from point A to point B now takes much longer, much longer.

    Oh, my wife and I have a new sport, while walking through the ski area parking lots we ‘observe’ all the summer-rated tires on vehicles, esp the spendy German Utes.. bald tires move that driver up into the bonus round.

    Sigh, my work is done here.

  22. You missed a few dozen:

    1. Self-centered asshole drivers that drive at or below the speed limit but accelerate to block you from passing without extreme speed in any passing zone.
    2. Self-centered asshole drivers that drive at or below the speed limit but accelerate to block you from passing without extreme speed in areas with passing lanes.
    3. Self-centered asshole drivers that drive in the passing lane instead of driving in the right most lane whenever possible. (NH now makes this a crime even if you’re speeding, but it’s rarely enforced.) Worse these assholes will intentionally block you if they think you’re too close and drive with traffic in the right lane for miles. Worse the assholes that get pissed off when you pass them on the right and accelerate. All of these people funny enough, once you pass them are more than capable of driving the same speed you do right on your ass even if you’re in the far most right lane! (most of the time they drive in your blind spot in the passing lane still!)
    4. Worse, Truckers that have a slightly faster limiter taking MILES to pass other truckers in the slow motion
    %. Asshole drivers that don’t understand that the light flash pull back on the stock is actually “request to pass” and is there for the specific purpose BY GOVERNMENT REGULATION to signal this intent. It is there SPECIFICALLY TO REQUEST THAT YOU PULL OVER AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE AND ALLOW THE PERSON TO PASS YOU. Yes that includes on paved (or otherwise) shoulders on biways. Most of these asshole drivers will then brake check you (attempted murder in 13 states) or worse as a result of this bullshit ignorance.
    5. The light afraid drivers that drive straddling the fog line especially at night and especially when there is oncoming traffic. This one is typically an old age thing from my experience but there are lots of Karens doing it now too.
    6. Those that don’t have a concept of zippering.
    7. Fucking stupid government that loves authoritay but refuses to limit development on major state roads and can’t master the basics of controlling incoming traffic to roads causing more accidents and more slowdowns because of endless entrances to highways that aren’t necessary. (which eventually leads to lower speed limits)
    8. Massholes that signal and don’t look. Endless accidents.
    9. NYers. They think Massholes are inefficient. They don’t signal AND don’t look.
    10. Prius drivers intentionally blocking the flow of traffic for their righteous MPG crusade that they want to force on all of us. (these are legion)
    11. Golden Camry Drivers. Yes, basically all of you. Fucking useless tools that shouldn’t have been granted a driver’s license in the first place drive these vehicles.

    • 12. Oh, and the worst of the worst: Assholes that drive at or below the speed limit, but then when you try to pass them in a passing area, they accelerate and block you from pulling in. When you decelerate to go back in behind them they decelerate to hang you out there with oncoming traffic. These people should be in prison. They’re almost always V8 truck drivers.
      13. The inverse idiot: You go to pass, they see you’re going to pass and they put on their brakes just as you’re pulling out, almost causing you to rear end them. You need do nothing if you’re being passed other than fucking keep doing whatever you were doing before moron.

    • 14. Shoulder passing. I was driving along at about 70mph in the right lane and some doing well over a 100mph passes me on the shoulder last sunday. Then there are the shoulder passers in heavy traffic. Eventually they encounter something and then everyone else is delayed as they force their way back into the lane.

      15. truckers who violate lane restrictions. The point of having 4-5 lanes of interstate is negated not only by the usual left lane blockers but truckers who decide the left lane(s) they are supposed to be in are perfectly fine for them.

      16. People who tailgate and aggressively flash to pass (fast repeated flashing) when you’re stuck behind other vehicles.

      17. Inability to use momentum in snow. Stop and go is not how you drive in snow.

      18. Slotheration. They’ll eventually drive 15+ over. It will take a long time to get there. Then you’ll be stuck behind them at the next light.

      19. The inability to accelerate to make the next signal. Signals close together people do not accelerate to make the second signal on green. Difficulty level? I’ve seen it done properly by a UPS driver in a typical brown UPS truck. Worse? They run the red on the second signal and leave those behind sitting there. This also includes a general failure to accelerate resulting in traffic signal cycles not being able to process all the vehicles waiting in time. This creates of course a build of traffic. I used to be able to out perform many of these motorists on my bicycle.

      20. Merge impairment. Failure to accelerate, failure to time a gap, just plain failure. They will simply jam their way into traffic from an on-ramp and not care. If you’re behind them or on the road when these idiots come down the ramp…. look out.

      21. Must change lanes immediately! this applies in many places. Worst IMO is often the lane from a ramp will persist for a mile or more before ending or becoming an exit lane. There’s one spot on my travels where I am taking the exit that the lane from an on ramp becomes the access to. So I’m in the right lane before the on ramp. These idiots simply cut over in front of me. Sometimes through the lines. Had a good number of near collisions. The lane not only persists to the exit ramps ahead it goes clear past them. They have about two miles to make a lane change.

      22. Lack of planing on their part is a near death experience for you. Various forms of ‘Oh my Exit’ where they didn’t plan and now you have to dodge them.

      I’ll stop here I’ll just keep thinking of more. I’ve even thought of some and forgotten them as I type.

      • Snow is the best it separates the good drivers from the idiots, you need a very controlled soft touch, total focus, on ice/snow or you crash.

        Someone said everybody should take their drivers test in a snow blizzard, a great idea, 50% less morons would be on the road.

    • drivers that drive at or below the speed limit but accelerate to block you from passing without extreme speed in any passing zone…….I have some quick cars and I can drive better then 99% of them so they are going to have a real problem pulling that crap on me…..

      What about the morons that have to cut into your lane in front of you, they have no concept of changing lanes in behind your car, some of these bastards will jam their car in front of your car and hit your car, they will not give up, you have to jam on the brakes and let them in.

      Worse are the bastards that won’t let you back into a parking space in a parking lot, if you make the mistake of not backing in and you have to back out they won’t let you, honk a lot when backing in to wake them up. If you have to back out some moron will back out at the same time with no shoulder check and back right into your car, honk a lot when backing up.

      • Hi Anon,

        I’ve dealt with the Freaks who accelerate – often to Ludicrous Speed – in order to thwart a pass. This transcends mere rudeness. There’s a kind of pathetic ape-dominance ritual at work. People feel emasculated by their work, their home life; the situation in general. But in their car, they have power. They can control how fast you get to drive and if you dare to drive faster (or try to) they will often do almost anything to prevent it.

        I have found the key to dealing with such people is to never give them any advance indication of your intentions. If I come upon a car going well below the speed limit, I ease in behind and maintain an appropriate following distance. Then, when the opportunity opens, I hammer it. Never begin a pass slowly. Make your move. Do it so quickly they don’t have time to react in time. Most of these Freaks are not skilled drivers and if you get the drop on them (i.e., momentum) you almost always have an unassailable advantage over them.

        Fun Bonus: If they pursue you (as they sometimes do) lead them to some curves and take them at a speed they cannot handle. Hilarity often ensues.

        • 1.) Eric? You teach ‘understeer’ classes too? I didn’t know.

          “Fun Bonus: If they pursue you (as they sometimes do) lead them to some curves and take them at a speed they cannot handle. Hilarity often ensues.”

          From my reply to Anon:

          “Second, ‘enrolling’ tailgaters in ‘Understeer School’ on highway mountain passes, when going through the tight corners. Having a 5-way adjustable suspension is helpful for the instructor. By the time they get to, or past the fog line, class is dismissed.”

          2.) “I’ve dealt with the Freaks who accelerate – often to Ludicrous Speed – in order to thwart a pass. This transcends mere rudeness. There’s a kind of pathetic ape-dominance ritual at work. ”

          Yeah, this is dangerous, you can see speeds exceeding 80 mph on two-lane highways because of this.

          When at a standing stop at a stop light, where the two-lane road (going one way) goes from 2 to 1 lane, I usually pull up right in the blind spot of the drive, typically to my left, while at the stop light That way I get a bit of a head start before the slow-twitch muscles fire..

        • Exactly my method! Never signal, especially if you’re on a multi lane highway, otherwise the car in the left lane will speed up to keep you from pulling out. Then blow by the car you’re passing so fast you’ll be far in front before he even realizes he’s been passed.

        • Hi Eric

          “There’s a kind of pathetic ape-dominance ritual at work. People feel emasculated by their work, their home life; the situation in general. But in their car, they have power”.

          some of the worst are tesla drivers, musk told them their car is quicker then anything, I will challenge them at lights just to tease them, I wonder how they feel when I am 4 feet from their back bumper on the other side of the intersection, after they paid $70,000 for their fast car and it can barely beat a little 95 Golf GTI (with an Audi 1.8 20vt, stage 2, 240 hp, 5 speed, 2300 lb.), they or anyone else have no clue what it is, I just laugh at them.

          Note: tesla drivers crash more then any other drivers…..they bought it because it is quick 0 to 60 according to musk…..

        • ‘Ape dominance ritual,’ thats theres funny Eric. I can picture the scenario you describe in my mind.

          The problem we have around here are the 10 or 11 new roundabouts over the last few years. The stupid it burns in the vaxtard who has to come to a complete stop with no other vehicles in sight. It happened to me twice today. I had to lay on the horn and a heavy dose of screaming fuck yous at the zombies. Here I thought Californians knew how to handle roundabouts. To be fair one was from Cali, one from Georgia.

          • weaponized morons, these injected creeps are not only super spreaders, dangerous to get close too, they are driving vehicles….

            …….someone just posted people are getting glaucoma and vision loss after 2nd injection……and they are driving down the street……these bastards will kill you one way or the other

  23. My little Alabama hometown has doubled in size. I’m not happy about it. What used to be a nice, sleepy cotton town is now full of imported yankees because we’re unfortunately in Huntsville’s sphere of influence. Cotton fields turned into subdivsions on 2 lane country roads. My daily gripe to the wife is “do you remember when you could get from point A to point B?”

    • Same here, Mike –

      Where I live (Floyd County, VA) used to be the quintessential “sleepy Southern town.” But Yankees have been moving here in numbers lately and while it’s still a great place, it’s less great than it was, once.

    • Spoke with a southerner about ten years ago, he said there are Yankees and damn Yankees.

      He said Yankees go home, damn Yankees stay.

      After the war between the states, the South didn’t return to parity with wages until about 1960.

      “Way up on Bear Creek, watchin’ the sun go down” – AP Carter


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