[OT] Hit and Run

Jeremy Hansen atticusser at gmail.com
Wed Aug 22 10:52:35 MDT 2007


>  Of course,
> driving and texting (DWT) at the same time, that would be dangerous


I don't know if you were joking about this or not, but I have witnessed this
exact transgression 3 times in the last 2 months. The first time I saw it I
couldn't believe it was actually happening. The worst case was a
teen-to-early-20s girl turning left onto the NB I-15 on-ramp at the 106th
South intersection at about 4:30 PM. Not exactly an area of light traffic.
Thankfully, for me anyway, I was headed south. But I just kept imagining her
on the freeway, constantly glancing down at her phone which she held with
both hands on the center of the steering wheel (apparently turning that with
her elbows), and typing away furiously with her thumbs. It was like playing
peek-a-boo with oncoming traffic. In fact, I was so mesmerized by her
stupidity that I'm sure I was almost as distracted as she was.

On another note, I have a bit of an axe to grind with the "Utah drivers"
stigma that has already been mentioned. To be blunt, I think it's total
bull.

### THIS IS A RANT. COMMENCE TO IGNORE. ###

I have driven in many different parts of the country, as doubtless many of
you have and, in my experience, there is no shortage of seemingly
incompetent drivers anywhere. I say seemingly because I believe it's really
just my (read our) overinflated perspective of a negative situational
experience that labels other drivers in this way. Driving here is no worse,
from a statistical standpoint, than anywhere else. Utah ranks close to the
middle in most driving related statistics, and lowest by almost half of most
states in % of alcohol related deaths in auto accidents. The bottom line is,
we all have driving idiosyncrasies. Ask anyone from Florida where the worst
drivers are and guess what they'll say? What about Washington or Rhode
Island?

I propose that the reason most people complain about Utah drivers (or the
drivers from whatever state they happen to be in at the time) is that they
encounter other drivers who don't drive the way they do. They have different
tendencies. This is only magnified in an environment with drivers in
unfamiliar or crowded conditions, both of which are increasing in Utah
almost daily. Think about Washington D.C. where abrupt lane changes are seen
as simply a necessity, as evidenced by the numerous times I was almost
forced from the roadway by taxis. I hadn't realized that was part of the
local custom. Silly me.

How often have you heard about a driver who was too slow, or wouldn't get
out of the fast lane, or wouldn't let them into the other lane, or in some
other way impeded the first driver's progress and therefore forever damaged
them by way of inconvenience? Of course these people are frustrating, but I
guarantee you have had the same effect on some other person at some time in
your driving life. I am as guilty as anyone else who has spent an angry hour
in the car because someone 50 miles back had cut me off. I am also sure that
I have made a mistake of my own while driving from time to time.

Driving is a cooperative effort by everyone to make it to their destination
without running into each other. Unfortunately, aggressiveness, impatience,
and self-centered intentions are clogging up the gears. Whether it's you
driving too fast, or the other guy driving too slow, it doesn't really
matter. We all just need to chill out a bit. At least that's what my wife
tells me when that vein starts bulging out of my forehead every time I get
on the freeway.

I'm sure many of you disagree with me, and that's fine. I expect it. I'm not
defending bad driving. My point is that there are bad drivers everywhere,
and you know what? The lights aren't always greener on the other side of the
state line. I'm not trying to rip on all other drivers but myself either.
Quite the opposite. I'm trying to bring to light a reality that might
prevent you from giving someone the finger on the freeway only to find out
as you pass that it was your neighbor. Besides, did you ever check the
license plate of that idiot? He's probably from California. They can't drive
their way out of a paper bag.

### END OF RANT. COMMENCE FLAMES. ###

Kenneth - I hope your situation is resolved to your satisfaction. There
certainly is no excuse for that kind of irresponsibility.

Jeremy



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