Friday, November 16, 2007

Dumb, Stupid, Moronic Drivers!

Considering I used to be the champion of berating idiotic drivers, I'm surprised that this is the first time I've decided to post something about the subject in my 3 years of writing this blog. But this article set me off today. According to the research, an estimated 36 million drivers would fail a driving test.

I can't say I'm surprised... DC and Virginia are in the bottom percentile. I've been saying that for years. The idiocy here is unmatched anywhere in the world. And, I'm not talking about crazy drivers... I'm talking about the moronic ones (and no, they are not one in the same). Let me explain:

To call someone a "crazy" driver is purely subjective. One person who may be too timid to drive above 55mph might consider someone who drives 65mph a crazy driver. By the same token, someone who feels comfortable taking a corner at higher speeds may be considered crazy by a mom in her minivan who is taking the curve more slowly. Such a driver is not necessarily an idiot (although, there are idiots who drive too fast for conditions, and that's a different issue), he is merely comfortable driving at a faster pace. Such drivers actually tend to be more alert on the road, as they are constantly looking out for slower cars, police radar traps and the like.

An "idiotic" or "dumb" driver, on the other hand, is completely oblivious to his surroundings. You'll usually find these people occupying the fast lane when they are not passing other cars (the law states that the left lane is for passing only); failing to turn left at intersections where the light turns red while they are next in line to turn; driving with their brake lights on; blocking intersections; driving too slow for conditions (when everyone around them is going faster); or my favorite - people don't know how to merge into traffic without stopping. You get the picture.

So in the article, it points out how people don't know that you're supposed to stop when the light turns yellow (if it's safe), when to properly signal, etc., and it suggests some kind of national driving standard. Let me just say that I'm all for this idea - as long as it doesn't supersede the rights of the states to make their own driving laws and requirements. But clearly, there is a need for a minimum level of uniformity.

In the meantime, I've always been an advocate for increased driver education and more stringent requirements on drivers' tests. And of course, part of that includes a mandatory basic understanding of the English language!


Joanna said...

Dan, you are unusually grumpy this week. You are totally ready for some turkey and pumpkin pie! RELAX. Be Thankful. Smile:)

Brian said...

I'm not sure about a national standard, but I'm sure about more stringent state standards. In California, when I got my license years ago, I was told that they took parallel parking out of the test because too many people failed because of that. Ridiculous.

You hit all my pet peeves, but this one. I hate that people will hit their brakes, nearly come to a stop, and THEN turn on their turn signal, if they do at all.

Anonymous said...

Okinawans would fall under the "dumb driver" category as explained in your write up except they are even more extreme. They run red lights... they tell us Americans to expect up to 3 cars to run the red light. They park anywhere and everywhere... they just put on their hazards and its considered okay (without any warning) They never drive above the speed limit only below. They are just never in a hurry to get anywhere. The fastest you can go on this island is about 80 kph.
However, they are not dumb drivers, it's just how they all drive... it's just part of the laid back, island living... I don't think I can ever get used to it being from So Cal. I find it annoying. It must be nice to be oblivious to the world around you. I almost envy "dumb drivers".