Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who Knows How to Drive?

     I spent a couple of days driving to Myrtle Beach, SC, and back home, and I've made a few observations about the people who drive certain cars and trucks up and down our highways.

     I might offend a few people here. Just remember, I'm no different from anyone else. I think that I'm a good driver, but that everyone else on the road is a complete idiot. Furthermore, the guy driving in front of me is always going too slow -- what's the matter with him?!? -- while the guy in back of me is without a doubt a menace to the road, speeding, tailgating, flashing his lights.

     So . . . to the survey. Yes, there are still young men out there driving old, dark colored Pontiacs or Chevys or Ford Mustangs -- usually with scored paint, a spoiler mounted on the rear, and smoke belching out the back -- who drive like they think they're NASCAR drivers, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating people, and pushing 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. These guys (and they're always guys) have been with us since the automobile was invented, or at least since James Dean came on the scene, and they probably will continue to be with us until the last gas station closes its pump and the final drop of oil is sucked out of the Middle East.

     Speaking of which, I was on the lookout for bad SUV drivers, because I am anti-SUV for all the obvious reasons. But I must admit that people driving SUVs do not think that they own the road; they do not try to run other cars off the highway. They are, in fact, mostly normal drivers, and many of them are safe and responsible behind the wheel. Still, I don't have to like SUVs.

     For some unknown reason, Ford drivers speed more than Chevy drivers, at least according to my admittedly unscientific survey taken mostly on I95 up and down the East Coast.

     The drivers of white delivery vans are often pretty reckless. I assume that's because many of these drivers work for someone else; do not own the van and therefore just don't care as much how they treat the vehicle, or whether they bring it back to the company lot with a dent or two. Drivers of the big tractor trailers tend to be speeders -- I  guess time is money for them, but they scare the hell out of me when they barrel down the hills at 80 mph. For some reason, car carriers seem to be the worst.

     I noticed a few Hondas go flying by me. But there are lots of Hondas out there, so I'm thinking, percentage-wise, they're no better or worse than anyone else. I did notice that Acura drivers are a cut above Honda drivers. But then . . . well, I'll tell you in a minute.
Volvo drivers don't speed

     VW drivers seem to be pretty good. But the best are Volvo drivers. Those Volvo owners are concerned about safety, and they are careful on the highway.

     But I have to tell you about the very worst -- the car that I witnessed speeding more than any other -- and it is the BMW. These people obviously do think they own the road; they plant themselves in the third lane, step on the gas and woe be to anyone who gets in their way. Not to be unkind, but watching those BMWs fly by reminded me of the old joke, which I hope won't offend anyone (except the BMW owners):  What's the difference between a porcupine and the owner of a BMW? With a porcupine, the pricks are on the outside.

     Okay, okay, before you BMW owners come after me, I can say not every BMW driver is a pri . . . . I mean, an antisocial speeder who recklessly endangers everyone else on the road. I have a friend who recently bought an eight-year-old BMW convertible, and I happen to know that he's a nice guy. Besides, it must be just a regional problem -- I never saw a BMW south of Washington, DC, so the issue must be restricted to the Northeast.

     So just in case you're wondering, I obviously do not drive a BMW. I do not drive a Volvo. I drive an Acura, which is, as I suggest at the opening, probably the closest thing to the perfect car, for the (ahem) perfect driver.


June said...

Volvo drivers are Perfect People.

The Volvo dealer's wife

PS I asked Husband (who, as you might imagine, drives a lot) the difference between a porcupine and the owner of a BMW, and his response was, "There is none."

Stephen Hayes said...

You might have something here. I drive an old RAV. My wife, the most sympathetic and caring person I've ever met, drives a BMW. When we go places she usually drives. It can be scary at times.

Roberta said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I had already said BMW drivers before I got to that part of your essay! Too funny. Too true!

Retired Syd said...

AAhhh, there are so many things I would love to comment on this post, I have so many similar observations. But I will tell you a story that will probably make you as happy as it did me.

I was driving up beautiful Highway 280 toward San Francisco. It's something like 5 lanes in that direction, and was very light traffic, as is the norm. I was in the number two lane when a gold BMW arrived in my rear-view mirror on top of my ass. Now, I could have pulled over to the right a lane, but my feeling was, as I was already going a few miles over the speed limit, that if he (inevitably HE) wanted to go faster he could pass me in the FAST lane. That's why they call it the fast lane. But no, he would prefer to drive 2 inches behind my car rather than GO AROUND. Finally, he did pass, in the SLOW LANE and cut right in front of me to show me how mad he was. And then he was gone--way ahead of me.

Right as he took off, I saw it. The highway patrol sitting off on the right. And then he did what you always wish in that situation, he caught him and pulled him over.

I waved. It made my day, really, it did.

Alan G said...

I could not restrain myself from responding after reading your post this morning. I have long thought that I was the only law abiding automobile driver who obsessed with observing and adhering to all speed limits – foolishly thinking there was some purpose for all those silly-ass signs along the highways and byways. And although I have never observed you and your Acura on the road, just reading your post and learning there is another who observes this nation’s speed limits is like finding a Sasquatch who has a blog - you never see them but legend has it they are out there.

Linda Myers said...

I think I'm an above average driver, and I suspect that's true.

My husband, on the other hand, is a terrifying driver, and he thinks he's excellent.

He drives a Prius.

Olga said...

OMG, reading this post was riding down I95 with my husband all over again. I can recite this rant in my sleep.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

I had have driven foreign cars for most of my adult life, beginning with the Beetle VW. I graduated to the Volvo in the 1980s, but almost gave up driving as I used public transportation. I hate cars, although I have owned a Toyota for the past 2o years. My oldest son has two Volvos for his family, a sedan and station wagon. He lives in CA where traffic is horrendous.

You probably drove I-95 to get to SC and it is a nightmare. There are several BMW dealers in our county and plenty of BMW drivers. Mostly they commute on I-66, not I-95. The less well heeled drive I-95. The better off tend to live to the West of I-95. The further west you go the better off they are. Lots of military live to the East on the various bases.

This pattern holds or did hold right down I-95 until wealthy northerners began buying beach properties to the East and forcing the less well off out of the coastal areas.

Josie said...

OMG, could have died laughing. I believe it's a national endemic when it comes to BMW drivers! They are the worst...the WORST!

I like how George Carlin put it when it comes to describing other drivers; "anyone who drives slower than you is an damned idiot, and anyone who drives faster than you is a f*cking maniac!"

Joanna Jenkins said...

I drive the small Honda SUV and love it.... I think the SUV has replaced the minivan which means the good SUV drivers are mostly moms lugging kids around so they tend to be safe drivers-- That said, I don't have any kids so what do I know :-)
Cheers, jj

Dick Klade said...

Good grief! Am I the only blogger who drives an American auto? I'm going to jump in my Pontiac right now and and hustle over to Lansing. The troopers will be alerted to stop all you guys at the Michigan border.