Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Note to the lady driver of the SUV in this picture:

If your car has a yellow ribbon with "Share the Road" and a bicycle emblazoned on it, it's probably best to exhibit the same courtesy to other drivers that you are claiming you demonstrate to your two-wheeler friends, namely:


If you avoid doing this in the future, you might refrain from looking like a huge ass, and it just might save you from getting rear-ended by a less awake (or aware) driver than myself.

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This post does not actually involve driving (or at least, not much).  Instead, I will regale you with the sheer Shangri-La that is the Defensive Driving class I took the other evening.

You see, I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I recently got a speeding ticket.  My first, ever.  (For those trying to count how long my ticket-free streak was, it was about 13.5 years.)  I was (briefly) going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone, and the police officer that pulled me over kindly explained that since no one on my insurance policy had taken a Defensive Driving course in the last 3 years, I could opt to take the course and receive a PJC (Prayer for Judgment Continued) in lieu of points on my license and a hike in my insurance premium.  I can't say I was eager to attend the class, but I definitely thought going to a 4 hour Defensive Driving lecture beat the alternatives!

I won't bore you with the details of the class itself (you'll have to "earn" your own PJC to get that privilege), but there were some interesting or funny things I wanted to share:

Class Distributions

Total Students in class = 37
Gender Breakdown
Men - 24
Women - 13
Age Breakdown (I'm not the best judge of age,
so this is approximate)

  < 20 = 3
20 < 30 = 4
30 < 40 = 20
40 < 60 = 9
  > 60 = 1 (77 years old, and this was his
first ticket ever!)
Offense Breakdown
Speeding (5 mph or less over the limit) ~ 3%
Speeding (6-15 mph over the limit) ~ 65%
Speeding (16 - 25 mph over the limit) ~ 20%
Running Red Light or Stop Sign ~ 6%
Failing to move out of the right lane when
emergency vehicles are on the shoulder ~ 3%
Other (I can't remember) ~ 3%

Some of the Interesting People I Met

  • One guy there is, ironically enough, a race car driver who received a speeding ticket.  I checked out his website, and it turns out that he's also the nephew of Olivia Newton-John!  (See for yourself here).
  • One girl talked about having been the victim of someone who was suffering from road rage.  In her words: "My boyfriend and me were driving home and we pissed someone off and they followed us home and pulled into the driveway behind us.  But it was okay – my boyfriend stayed in the car and I just went into the house and got my gun.  They left us alone after that."
  • One guy received a speeding ticket for speeding on his motorcycle.  The police officer reduced his 55 in a 35 to a 43 in a 35 on the ticket.  What the officer was willing to overlook:
    • The motorcycle had CA plates even though he was an NC resident.
    • He didn't have a motorcycle license (just a regular driver's license).
    • He didn't have insurance on the motorcycle.
    • He didn't have the motorcycle's registration with him.
    • (I'd call him one of the luckiest guys in the world!)
  • One guy talked about having suffered from road rage himself, a long time before, when he was living in New York City.  Apparently, a cab driver had cut him off, and when he gave the guy the finger, the cabbie spit on his car, gave HIM the finger, and sped off.  When he caught up with him at the next light, this guy hopped out of his car to confront the cab driver, who ALSO got out of his car.  Our classmate explained that he then pulled his "The Club" from his car and hit the cabbie in the head with it.  He was subsequently arrested and charged with assault.

  • One girl asked what cars these other people were driving so she could make sure she never pissed them off.
  • Before the class had started, one girl came in and explained that she had only brought cash to pay for the class + court costs, even though the flier you receive with your ticket says in big bold letters NO CASH ACCEPTED.  She walked into the classroom (of ~20 people at the time), walked across 3/4 of the classroom, and singled ME out to ask if I had a credit card and would be willing to charge her fees to the card and she would reimburse me in cash.  I guess I look like the kind of guy that had a credit card.  (Or the kind of guy that wouldn't say no.)  She was right on both counts.

There was one interesting fact they showed us in the class that I wanted to share, though.  It was in the booklet they gave us, on a page called "Speed Kills".

There's probably something wrong with me, given that upon seeing this, my first thought was, "Wow, if I can save 5 minutes every 10 miles, I'm saving almost a whole hour every 100 miles…I should be driving 85 mph on every road trip!"

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This week's Yod Hunt is a mystery…even to me.  I discovered these photos on my camera but have no recollection of taking them.  Spooky!  But they fit the categories, so at least I get a Yod Hunt entry out of it!

1. Take a picture of something that would be easy to identify otherwise, except for the distance and angle of your picture.

Can you guess what this is?  Click through to the bigger picture for a link to the answer, found in the description.

2. Show us something nobody (and I mean NOBODY) knows that you own.

But wait, if I show it to you, then SOMEONE will know I own it, so it won't qualify anymore, will it?  Ahh, screw it.  I'll show you my secret:

Yes, that's right, I own a slingshot with two kinds of ammo.  Not even my wife knows (I think).  I bought it back in college on a whim and practiced out in a field until I got decent with the aim.  With the ball bearings, I can pretty much shoot clear through a box of Triscuits.  Now I keep it around in case of the zombie attack.  When all those others run out of ammo, I'll just casually reach down and pick up another handful of rocks and keep right on taking out those brain-eatin' fools.

3. Show us your theory as to where Emily's monkey went (it still has NOT showed up, thanks post office!).

I heard that the Department of Homeland Security picked him up and put him in a line-up where an old lady identified him as the terrorist she had overheard talking about "Setting us up the bomb".  I was able to contact a couple of the other monkeys, and they consented to a re-creation of the line-up to better illustrate what happened:

4. Show us one place you would definitely NOT let your kids trick or treat.

I have it on good authority that the folks that live in this house eat children that come trick-or-treating at their house.  Plus, they probably won't be home again this Halloween to hand out candy.  If I were you, I definitely would not let my kids trick-or-treat there.

5. Take a picture somewhere you're not supposed to.

I was going to take a picture while waiting in the Airport Security line tomorrow, but after the crack above about the DHS, I'm pretty sure I'd end up in a windowless room somewhere, getting grilled by a stern-but-frustrated officer about my relationship with Emily's monkey.

Then I thought back to my driver's education classes in high school.  I'm pretty sure that "behind the wheel" is somewhere you're not supposed to be taking pictures.

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  • To the driver of a silver BMW that absolutely had to cut in an out of traffic already going 80 miles an hour, only to end up in the exit lane and speed up to 100 in order to cut back over into traffic just before you would have been forced to leave the highway: You sir, are an idiot and a menace.  I hope all four of your tires develop flats on the way to work tomorrow morning.

  • To the jacktard driving the black Corvette with his left hand holding his cell phone to his right ear, while barely steering with his right hand while going 5 miles under the speed limit while in the fast(est) lane: You sir, are a douche.  If you hung up the phone or at least drove with a hands-free set, you might have less problems with everyone cutting you off every 2 seconds.  And if that doesn't work, try hanging out in another lane, preferably one all the way over on the right where the cars going your speed tend to congregate.

  • To the driver of the gold Accord who made a left at the intersection WELL AFTER the light had turned red: Were you in such a godawful hurry that you were willing to cut off oncoming traffic and risk an accident to arrive somewhere 1 minute earlier?  I hope you managed to catch that last minute of commercials before Judge Judy came on – it would be a shame for you to go through so much effort just to miss out on the latest advertisement for Papa John's super-mega-meatlovers-extreme pizza.

  • To the lady in the white SUV with the vanity license plate that read "USA": I hope your name is Ursula Sarah Adams, because NOBODY needs to be so patriotic that they choose to name their vanity plate after their country of residence.  It's not clever and it's not cute.

  • To all other drivers out there:  Thank you for not pissing me off on the way home.  I actually had a pleasant drive, besides these nincompoops that made me dictate these comments while I was driving home.

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I was driving to work today when I realized there quite a few people out there driving like maniacs.  If my wife is reading this, she'll be saying, "Ross, you're one to talk!"  But seriously, there are some crazy drivers out there on the highways. 

With that in mind, I thought I'd help all you Voxers out there with a little quiz I put together to find out where you stand with respect to Road Rage.  Hopefully you'll find the results informative.  Post your scores in the comments, if you do decide to take the quiz – I'd like to see how people pan out.

Note: This quiz is a bit U.S. centric with discussions about right/left lanes and MPH and such.  Please adjust as necessary for your country of residence.

The 10-Question Road Rage Quiz
by Ross Goldberg

1. You are being tailgated while you are in the left lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) Move back into the right lane when you can.  You were just passing someone, anyway.
  •     B) Maintain your speed.  Since you're going the speed limit, everyone else should too.
  •     C) Brake/slow down to make sure the idiot behind you gets the point.  Bonus points if you prevent them from changing lanes to get around you!

2. You find someone driving slowly (lower than the speed limit or surrounding traffic) in the right lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) When safe, merge into the passing lane and pass the individual, changing back to the right lane when it is safe to do so.
  •     B) Who cares?  You're already in the passing lane, you'll just stay here and breeze on by.
  •     C) Change from the left to right lane just to cut that sucker off.  After all, they're a safety hazard if they're driving that slow, aren't they?  Maybe they'll realize they need to speed up a bit when they see you zoom off in front of them.

3. You find someone driving slowly (lower than the speed limit or surrounding traffic) in the left lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) You're in the right lane already – you'll just stay here and keep an eye out in case they try to get back over into the right lane while you are passing them.
  •     B) They shouldn't be there, but you'll just go around them.  You will signal lane changes if you feel like it.
  •     C) Tailgate the idiot, possibly flashing your headlights at them to move.  When they don't get out of the way fast enough, swerve over into the right lane, accelerating and cutting them off as you pass them.  Bonus points if you then slow down to teach that sucker a lesson and force them to get out of the fast lane.

4. The majority of the traffic around you:

  •     A) Is traveling at the same speed you are traveling at.  Some people do some dumb things but you are aware enough of the situation to act defensively to avoid accidents.
  •     B) Is traveling slower than you are, but they're not a problem.  You make it through just fine, barring the times someone decides to drive in the wrong @#$^$%& lane.
  •     C) Is composed of idiots who never learned how to drive properly.  You use your mad driving skills to make it through the mess they cause on the roads.  Occasionally you have to teach them a lesson to show them what they should be doing, too.

5. You feel angry in the car when:

  •     A) Almost never.  You try not to get angry on the road – you need your concentration to drive safely.
  •     B) Only occasionally, when people do stupid things like cut you off or act like assholes and tailgate you, etc.
  •     C) Any time someone gets in your way, drives below the speed limit, tailgates you, applies makeup while driving, doesn't seem to know where they're going, talks on their cell phone while driving, brakes suddenly, takes too long to accelerate, takes too long to pass someone, doesn't merge properly, doesn't use turn signals, has a stupid bumper sticker, etc.

6. You're at a red light with one person in front of you.  How long do you wait before honking your horn when it turns green?

  •     A) Give them a chance to realize the light is green.  If it appears they're not paying attention after about 3-4 seconds, give the horn a polite tap.
  •     B) They should be paying attention.  If it looks like they're not, honk as soon as you see the green.  They'll thank you for the tip.
  •     C) Huh?  There's nobody in front of you.  You cut over into the other lane at the last minute so nobody would be in front of you at the light.  Otherwise, you'd probably have to lay on the horn to get them to move when the light turns green, and you didn't feel like getting pissed off by something so stupid as that today.

7. You come to a 4-way stop intersection.  You:

  •     A) Wait your turn.  If anyone stopped at the same time as you, the individual on the left goes first, but you've been known to wave them through to avoid confusion.
  •     B) Wait your turn.  If someone stopped at the same time as you, you take advantage of their momentary pause to start moving – they'll let you go once they see you going.
  •     C) Let any cars in the intersection finish their turns.  Start moving as soon as the intersection is relatively clear – everyone else will throw up their hands in frustration but who cares?  You're moving again, baby.

8. You're searching for a parking space and spy one halfway down a row of cars, only to see someone approaching from the other direction who appears to also be looking for a space.  You:

  •     A) Proceed to the spot, putting on your turn signal, and wait for them to drive past the spot so you can pull in.  If they already have their signal on, you do the same for them – they "called it" first.
  •     B) Speed up a bit so you can get to the spot first.  Put on your signal, but mostly as a formality – you're getting this space whether they saw it first or not.
  •     C) Speed up and pull partway into the spot so they have no choice but to keep moving.  Wait for them to squeeze by your half-parked car and then back-and-fill until you can fit into the spot.  Yes!  Another conquest achieved due to your elite driving skills!

9. The part of your car most likely to wear out first is:

  •     A) The tires.  Not for any special reason – just normal wear-and-tear of the road means you'll have to replace them when the tread is worn out, which should be sometime in the next 10,000 miles.
  •     B) It's a tie between the brakes and the transmission.  It seems like your drives consist of slamming on the brakes to avoid the idiots and then gunning it when you're past them.
  •     C) The horn.  You've already had to replace it twice since you bought your car.

10. Which of these statements would you say best describes your opinion regarding the kind of people who would answer A, B, or C to most of the above questions:

  •     A) People who answer A to most of the questions are good defensive drivers.  People who answer B seem like they're a little reckless, and people who answer C are maniacs just counting the minutes until their big car accident.
  •     B) People who answer A to most of the questions are annoying and I end up having to maneuver to get around them on the road.  But I prefer them to the people who answered C, who are just assholes.  Sometimes I want to crash my car into theirs just to teach them a lesson – hey, I'm insured, it's no big deal, right?
  •     C) People who answer A need to get the stick out of their butts and start driving right.  Show me that guy who answered B – I'm going to kick his ass for wanting to crash into my car…hope he has MEDICAL insurance too!

Road Rage Results – Where Do You Stand?

Tally your scores!  For each answer A, give yourself 1 point.  For each answer B, give yourself 3 points.  For each answer C, give yourself 5 points.

10-20 points:  You're the kind of student every Driver's Ed teacher wanted to have.  You probably have a perfect driving record, low insurance rates, and watch your cholesterol and blood pressure, too.  You're safe on the road – just watch out for all those crazies out there.  I wouldn't recommend driving in a big city though – you'll end up with permanent finger marks embedded in the steering wheel from your white-knuckle grip.

21-29 points: You're still a pretty safe driver.  You get irked occasionally, but nothing that affects your driving.    At worst, you have to remind yourself to take a deep breath occasionally.  Keep on the lookout for road-ragers and avoid them as best you can.

30-40 points: You're a little dangerous on the road.  Other people may see you as a little scary or irresponsible.  Try to remind yourself to take it down a notch when you get behind the wheel.  A couple extra minutes on the road won't kill you, and might actually save you from a brain aneurysm down the line.

41-49 points: Watch it buddy – you're a resident of Road Rage City.  If one of your actions doesn't cause you to get in an accident, it'll probably cause one in the people around you.  Increase your meds and try slowing down to everyone else's speed on the road.  If you find you still need to get some aggression out, take up racketball or boxing.

50 points: You are the spokes-model for Road Rage.  Nobody wants to encounter you on the road (and no, that's not a good thing).  It's only matter of time until you get pulled over by the cops or end up totaling your car.  Take preemptive action – trade in your sports car for a Kia, install a governor that won't let you get above 65 MPH, start attending some therapy sessions, and/or start taking public transportation.  You'll thank me in the long run (but in the meantime, no, I will NOT give you my address so you can come over and kick my ass, thank you very much).

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Can you identify the drivers for all these vehicles?

Before I get into this, let me first say that I am not a NASCAR fan.  I am not even a casual watcher.  I don't dislike the activity, but you'd find me scrubbing the bathroom shower soap scum before you'd catch me watching a race.  No offense, you millions of NASCAR fans out there.  It's just not for me.

As you may or may not know, this Sunday is the Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina at the Lowe's Motor Speedway.  For the past week or so, there have been races, events, festivals, and all general hoo-haw in town to promote this or ride on the coattails of this event.  Traffic has been sucky, the lots near the speedway are full of RVs and people parking tailgating, and since my house is somewhat close to the track, I get the privilege of hearing all those cars go VROOM VROOM in the evenings while they run time trials or races.

Anyway, caught this on my way home late last week – I would have thought they'd protect these things a little better on the road, seeing as they care so much about every little detail of aerodynamics and whatnot.  But maybe these are just show-models or something, so it doesn't matter if they get a little road-debris on them on the drive up…

But, regardless, I can't wait for Monday.  Not just because I have the day off from work, but because traffic should FINALLY be back to normal…

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This is a Public Service Announcement, brought to you by the good folks at 5 Word Challenge:

There is an emergent trend amongst drivers today…many of them are using their cell phones while driving, sometimes with disastrous results.  You've all seen it, Ms. Chatty Cathy or Mr. Talkative Ted steering with one hand while the other is in possession of that devilish device that allows them to not only take their conversation on the road with them, but results in most of them taking some or all of their concentration off road.  This behavior causes thousands of accidents each year, and the number of incidences of cell-phone related accidents is only increasing.  

A recent study has shown that driving while using a cell phone is at least as dangerous as driving under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08 (legal limit in most U.S. states).  In fact, three of the participants on cell phones in the study rear-ended the pace car they were following, turning their mobile phones into immobile phones, so to speak (none of these three were drunk).  Furthermore, the study shows that it is the very ACT of the conversation that seems to cause the impairment in driving, so even using a hands-free set does not always remedy the danger.

It's generally thought that hands-free kits make calling-while-driving safer, but that to be truly safe and responsible, you should pull over to the side of the road to take a call, or ask if you can call the individual back.  Unfortunately, there are always going to be people, too phobic about missing that key business discussion or too addicted to talking to their friend/spouse/lover, that will continue to gab away on their phones while on the road.  

These people can't be helped, but you can do your part by taking up the challenge to save your calls for when you're stopped.  Drive defensively, and look out for these drivers and their swerving, late-stopping, slow-accelerating, aggressive behavior.  If we all do our part, we can reduce the incidences of cell-phone related accidents, and hopefully the finger of shame pointed at those recalcitrant individuals will force them to follow suit.  Hey, we can always dream, right?

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