Opinion

Driving habits drive me nuts

The following is an open letter to the jokesters who try to kill me every morning on my way to work: Knock it off!

My drive to work is a mere 10 minutes, but in those 10 minutes, I see things that drain the color from my face. On Wednesday morning, while driving down Pacific Avenue, I was trapped behind a red Dodge that had sped up to get in front of me, then slowed down. Quickly and without warning, the car slowed down. I don’t remember the exact speed the car was going, but I can estimate it was approximately 10 miles an hour slower than a 4-year-old riding a tricycle that is missing the front wheel.

At the same time, I was beside a lady in silverish car who was driving in an obviously distracted manner. In that I-have-to-figure-out-what-her-problem-is kind of way, I glanced over to see what was making her drive side to side like a swinging pendulum. The answer? She had not one hand on the steering wheel. In fact, both her paws were on top of her head, messing with her ponytail.

All I could think was at least her hair would look nice when she’s taken into the county coroners’ office after she dies in her pending auto accident.

Less than 15 seconds later, I was just about creamed by not one, but two cars that ran what I would have considered to be a red light. I would consider it to be a red light because the light was very, very red. As in nowhere-near-yellow kind of red.

Maybe I should take this opportunity to clear something up for those two drivers and others like them. Those rectangular black boxes that hang over corners are in fact, not colorful, mechanical snowmen. They are traffic lights.

This is how traffic lights work: there are three circles in the traffic light and each has its own color. Each color has a meaning.

If the top light, or the red one, is on, that means that all traffic headed in the direction the light is facing is to stop. I say again: Red light on, cars must stop. (Drivers can stop a car by applying gentle pressure to the horizontal, fat pedal on the floorboard of the car. Press until the pedal doesn’t press any more. You are now stopped.) If the yellow light, or the middle one, is on, that means that a red light will soon be on. Drivers who see yellow lights are to SLOOOWW DOWN, just in case the light turns red and they have to stop. (For directions on how to stop a car, please see above.) If the green light is on, that means the cars facing it can continue driving.

Also, as long as I’m teaching Driving 101, at some corners there are four red circular-type red signs with “STOP” written on them. Those signs are your friends. Those tell a driver that they must stop their vehicle (as in make sure the car is making no forward progress whatsoever), then look to their right to make sure no other cars are coming. Once the coast is clear, the driver may proceed.

And, for the record, “STOP” does not stand for “Spin Tires On Pavement.”

One last thing, then school is closed for the day. Drivers should be careful to pay more attention to the road in front of them than their radio, CD player, screaming children, hot coffee or whatever other distraction may be taking place in their vehicle.

Then again, who am I to tell others to let their driving interrupt their cell phone conversations?

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