#9. People Who Are Scared To Death Of Concrete Barriers
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 when they put up temporary barriers for construction, and can terrify drivers who don't know how to drive straight.
And that's fine. Knowing your limitations is a good thing, as anyone who has watched American Idol can tell you. 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.
Why do these people do this? Apparently it's really important for them to stay in the "fast lane" even though their pants-shitting 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. It's not going to chase you.
#8. People Who Think Bikes Are a Mile Wide
The literal mirror image of those 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.
And let me just say that 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 that don't stay to the right, but throwing out those cases, there's plenty of times the bike is safely contained in a big fat shoulder or bike lane, and all this driver can see is apparently some kind of whale rolling sideways down the side of the road.
#7. People Who Time Things Just Right To Make You Miss The Light
Anyone who causes you to miss a traffic light is frustrating, but they usually do it in ways that make sense, like someone in front of you is just straight out slow, and doesn't make it, or some selfish bastard in cross traffic 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.
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 know that's 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 I have no idea why else this would happen so often.
#6. People Who Pass You For No Actual Advantage
There's a lot of people out there who will be very rude or dangerous about passing you, we all know about that, but in most cases they're gaining something, at least according to their priorities. They're passing you to get into an open lane where they can go ahead and keep driving 120 mph, so that they can die faster.
But what if there's clearly already a red light 200 yards in front of you? Why would someone pass you just to get to the red light faster? Do they enjoy waiting at red lights? Apparently so, because this happens way more than it should.
Or if there's a slow car, of course people want to pass. But say you're going slowly only because the car in front of you is going slowly. You would pass that sleepy old man but there's no room to pass in the other lane. Then Mr. Speed Demon comes up behind you and starts tailgating you like it's your fault you're going so slow.
Apparently convinced it would be smooth sailing if he could just get around you, he zips around you and settles in neatly right behind the actual slow car. What the fuck, buddy? What did that gain you except spending some extra gas and giving someone who now hates you a good chance to memorize your license plate?
That's right, pal. You better watch it because if I see you again on the road, I am going to quietly not think very highly of you.
#5. People Who Let EVERYBODY In
A lot of times we bemoan the lack of civility on our roads, but sometimes an overdose of civility can be an equally annoying pain in the ass. When you merge onto a freeway or something, you are supposed to merge like a zipper, one car from either side, alternating.
Sometimes one soft-hearted driver will let one car in, and then, oh no! There's another car there. Well how did you get there, little fella? You can come in too! Oh, wait, there's another car behind him! Imagine that! Well, you get yourself in there too. After a while, you can actually see it dawn on them after a while that the stream of cars merging in is actually infinite, and after a couple moments pussyfooting forward hesitantly as they fit these new observations into their worldview, they will drift shamefully forward and free up traffic.
A similar problem can be seen at stop signs, where some people completely ignore the actual, universal laws about who gets to go first and treat it like some kind of exercise in "after you" chivalry. Instead of making things faster, this actually confuses the other person and often sends them into a stop sign standoff, as shown below.
This repeats until both cars run into each other.
#4. People Who Camp Parking Spaces
These people have apparently reserved a parking space with a credit card somehow, because they stubbornly camp out spaces where the occupants obviously aren't going to be leaving in the next couple of minutes, as they pack their month's worth of Costco groceries away or disassemble their extremely complex baby-carrying apparatus and pack it in the car.
The worst thing is if they pre-position themselves in the middle of the aisle, at an angle, to most easily turn into the parking space, oblivious to the fact this blocks traffic in both directions. "Fuck this shit," you will probably think, "I'm backing out." But then when you look behind you, a line of other drivers drawn into this horrible nightmare has appeared, completely blocking you in.
And then if you turn to the inconsiderate nexus of this whole clusterfuck, sitting there with their blinker on, and express some kind of impatience, they'll just turn to you with a, "I know! What can I do?" kind of look and shrug at the people who aren't leaving, like this is their responsibility. Yeah, sure, it's not the fault of the dumbfuck sitting in the middle of the aisle, turned 45 degrees with his blinker on, because that space is obviously his destiny. Looking for another space could completely alter the course of history and destroy life as we know it.
Or maybe he would just have to walk 15 more seconds to get to the store entrance. Either way the consequences are just unthinkable.
#3. People Who Hang Out In Your Blind Spot
If you are a responsible driver, you know there are "blind spots" around your car that you can't see using your mirrors, and that it's bad for another vehicle to be in them, at least if you consider it bad to be completely unaware of a one ton machine going 70 mph right next to your car.
Sometimes someone drifts into your blind spot, which is not a problem. You just speed up or slow down to get them out of it. But some drivers, for some inexplicable reason, insist on staying in your blind spot. You speed up, they speed up. You slow down, they slow down. What the hell is going on here?
Speeding up might be explained by typical chest-thumping driver competitiveness, but slowing down? That's just weird. One possible explanation is that they're just not paying attention and unconsciously tend to match speed with the nearest car. For those who prefer more paranoid explanations, it could be one of them crooks who stages accidents for the insurance money.
How to tell which is which? I suggest pointing a gun at the other driver. If they react to it, they were clearly paying attention to you and therefore must be an insurance crook.
#2. Slow Drivers In Denial
Most slow drivers are pretty oblivious, but a few of them are in active, aggressive denial. If you should pass them, as you normally would to a slow driver, they suddenly wake up, become incensed, and speed up, as if to say, "Hey! I'm not a slow driver! Who says I am!" They may have just drifted off for a bit, they seem to be saying, but how dare you judge them by that speed they were going. That's not their real speed. They're really a fast driver, you just caught them at a bad moment.
Of course, 30 seconds later, after you reluctantly settle back in behind them, they are back to crawling along like a tortoise. And do you dare pass them again? They are clearly fucking sensitive about this. You don't want to start a road rage thing here. Hell, they might be one of those crazy people that keeps a gun in their car.
#1. People Who Think Emergency Lights Make Them Invincible
A lot of people don't realize that emergency flashing lights are for warning other drivers when your car is forced to stop somewhere hazardous and cannot be moved, but think that they are like turning on star mode in Super Mario Bros., making you invincible from all laws, moral responsibility and physical harm.
Need to double park? Emergency lights! Now no one is allowed to get mad at you because you put on your emergency lights. That means free parking! Go ahead and stop in the red zone, in a handicapped space, in the middle of the street, in the crosswalk, on the sidewalk, whatever! It's like diplomatic immunity!
You want to pull over to take a picture on a winding freeway but there's no shoulder? Just stop right in the middle of the damn road and put on your flashers! Surely the next car coming around the curve will see through the mountainside using X-Ray vision and easily stop in time. You are as safe and protected as a baby in its mother's bosom.
Hell, if these people left their emergency lights on all the time, they could just go through this world doing whatever they want. Good thing they haven't figured that out yet.