CIII – License to Drive Me Crazy

I read a news story recently on Facebook that said that Washington County (the southwestern-most county of Utah, where I reside) has the highest number of high-speed accidents in Utah. This really does not surprise me.

I’m not sure about the rest of the state, but I know drivers in southern Utah are some of the worst I’ve encountered—in some cases, even worse than Las Vegas or Los Angeles! Because traffic is moderate here, not gridlocked like LA, but not empty like a rural highway, some drivers believe they can do as they please. Just this week, I was driving on the freeway (I-15 is the only “freeway” here), and a compact car was weaving between lanes, cutting people off to get ahead of as many cars as possible, because they didn’t want to be inconvenienced by someone driving the posted 75 mph (and dude probably going 85–90). They didn’t feel it was their obligation to drive safely—just get to where they were going with as much haste as possible. As bad as that is, others think their lane position is their birthright, and that anyone getting on the freeway should have to stay behind them, like the mere peasants they are! Admittedly, if possible, I will move to the next lane to give those entering the highway room to maneuver and accelerate to freeway speed, without impeding neither them nor myself.

Truth about merging
This is how a merge sign should read!

I find as I get older, I’m not as aggressive a driver as I once was. That’s not so say I don’t get pissed on the roads. Just ask my kids. If someone is refusing to leave the left lane, driving 10–15 mph under the speed limit, and I’m stuck behind them, I will yell at the offender, say a few choice expletives, and maybe even flip them the bird. One time in Las Vegas, I was driving down one of the side streets, and this “bee-otch” pulled in front of me, and proceeded to slam on her brakes and drive along like the stereotypical Grandma going to church on Sunday. My kids were with me, and I was calling that driver nearly everything in the book. She was going, without exaggeration, like 10 mph. Embarrassingly for me, I discovered later that she was going through a school zone (even though she slowed down way before that), which is posted at 15 mph in Las Vegas. I didn’t honk, that I remember, but I was thoroughly pissed at that person for driving like a snail.

school zone
Example of a school zone speed limit sign

I find in southern Utah that seemingly no one uses their horn. Someone cuts in front of another, or nearly hits another car, they just hit their brakes and continue their way. Some drivers here act like it’s an insult to use their horn. If someone is taking too long to go (like from a stoplight), I’ll double tap my horn (“beep beep”), just to let them know they need to go. Nothing angry, just a quick reminder to drive. One time, entering the freeway, this prissy bitch cut me off at the last second because her lane ended, and she didn’t want to be bothered to move over beforehand. I slammed on my brakes to keep from colliding, then proceeded to lay on my horn for like 30 seconds. I think she got the message, because that horn was really loud, and she immediately floored the gas pedal to go onto the freeway. Yes, I’m evil, and I have a road rage tendency—not enough to get out and pick a fistfight, but I do get very vocal and profane. Depending on the place, I might get shot someday, but that’s the chance I take, I guess. I’ve seen a lot of those bad driver/accident dashcam videos on YouTube. People “brake-checking” semis (also known as “dumbasses”), impeding someone from driving (getting ahead of a car, slowing down in front of them, then as the car passes, repeat the process), or stopping and getting out of their car to confront the person behind them. There is so much stupidity on the roads!

Brake check accident
“Brake checking” anyone can be dangerous, even deadly. In some states, it’s even illegal. By the way, the smashed white vehicle was a full-size pickup at one time.

To get a learner’s permit, the age varies, between 14–16 years old, and a full-fledged license somewhere between 16–21 years old. Interestingly, Indiana allows a permit at 15, but you don’t get a regular license until 21🤔. In Utah, the ages are 15 and 17, respectively. Some states, like California, are 15½ and 16½ for permit and license, respectively. What do I think of this? I think that kids’ attention spans aren’t suited for driving until at least 15. Maturity is another story. There are grown-ass adults (30- and 40-somethings) that are totally immature.

student driver
Look out and stay off the sidewalks! Another student driver is behind the wheel!

On the other end of the scale, older drivers (ages 70+) mostly only renew their licenses like everyone else, every 4-8 years. In Utah, renewal was every five years (I got mine renewed in 2016, and it expires in 2021), but this year that period was extended to 8 years (when I renew, it’ll be good until 2029). I think once a person gets to 70, there should be a mandatory renewal every year. Granted, some older folks are sharp as a tack and can drive without problems into their 90s and beyond. Others who are still driving should stop altogether. Old people that can barely walk are driving. If they can’t hardly move, how are they going to stop their car quickly in an emergency? I’ll use my mom as an example. She has her driver’s license, but she’s 87 and can barely walk without a walker. She doesn’t drive anymore. Her mental ability is still great, she just can’t hardly walk worth a damn. I would not want her to drive, as it would not be safe. This is how I feel about other old people. If it’s not safe, don’t freaking drive!

If decency and common sense were requirements for a license, many people would be SOL and JWF (“shit outta luck” and “jolly well fucked”). I also wish cars had sensors installed to determine fatigue and inebriation. Not so much the “breathalyzer straw”, but some kind of sensor that would disallow a car to start if the driver shows impairment due to drowsiness, drunkenness or being high. Also, if you’re so engrossed by your cell phone and those selfies or texts that can’t wait, GET OFF THE ROAD OR PUT DOWN THE FUCKING PHONE! I sometimes use my phone for music through Spotify, but I have a vent mount where I can use one finger on my phone without looking down. Even then, if traffic is where I can’t change the song, it stays on (or I turn the radio off). I also have a slight advantage that I can use my smartwatch to advance to the next song (on my watch, it’s swipe right once, hit forward).

distracted driving fatality
Screenshot of a video of the aftermath of a fatal distracted-driving accident. The Russian woman was live-streaming while driving and a truck smashed into her, killing her (that’s her lifeless body dangling out the window)

What bothers you while on the road? Distracted drivers? Multitaskers? Slowpokes? Comment and let me know! Also, don’t forget my daily thoughts and posts over at “Preposterous Ponderings of a Perpetually Perplexed Person”. In addition to my weekly rants here, I post current thoughts and whatnot every day over there.

The world is a crazy place, drivers are weird. And it only gets worse as time progresses. Come back next week (or even browse all my previous posts), be safe and be well.

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