Sunday, January 2, 2011

Driving Me Crazy...

I had the good fortune to attend a training class recently that required me to drive several hundred miles to and from the training site. While driving there and back, I noted several different types of drivers on the road. To pass the time I started coming up with names for them.

Here are some...

The Leap Frog

This guy would ride in the left lane, right beside a big rig, for a mile or so. He'd just barely have enough speed to pass the truck, but as soon as he got clear of the front of the truck he'd zoom ahead at 80+ until he got beside another truck. Then he'd slow down again. I couldn't tell if he was doing it to piss people off, or he was afraid to pass the truck. I don't know about you, but I pass trucks as quick as I can. I don't like riding beside them.

The Speed Freak

This is the guy who does 100 MPH while weaving in and out of traffic in both lanes. If anyone gets in his way, he rides two feet off their rear bumper until they move over, then it's back to 100.

The Gas Police

This is the guy, often in a Prius, who does EXACTLY 55 MPH. Often in the left lane. People stacked up behind him? Why would he care? He's saving gas for himself and everyone else, whether they want their gas saved or not.

The Daredevil

This is the guy who will slide into a space between two other cars, even if there's not room for him to do so. He will tailgate, he will speed, he does it all. This person will often also be a Speed Freak.

The Wanderer

This is the guy who can't maintain a steady speed. He'll be cruising along merrily at 80 MPH, then he'll gradually slow, usually over several miles, to 60 or so. As soon as he realizes he's going so slow, he'll punch it back up to 80 again.

The Gater

This is the idiot who runs right up your tailpipe while you're trying to pass another vehicle, then when you move over out of his way he either moves over behind you and continues to tailgate, or stays where he was but refuses to pass you. All the while, the tailgate-ee is wondering why that idiot was tailgating them in the first place.

The Winner (A.K.A. First Place)

This fellow had me on edge for a good fifteen miles. He was cruising along in the left lane at 65 MPH. The speed limit on that particular highway was 70. Any time someone would try to move right and pass him, this jack-wagon would speed up and not let the other car get past him. This would continue until they caught up to some slower moving vehicle, usually a truck, at which point the "Winner" would slow back down to 65. This dude was REALLY not making any friends that day, as I watched no less than 8 cars try to pass him over the aforementioned fifteen miles. Each one was treated to his theatrics. How DARE anyone try to get ahead of HIM!

All this made me wonder if driver training has changed in the 20+ years I have been driving. I don't recall any of this behavior being encouraged, or for that matter even tolerated when I started driving. It seems to be a more recent development.

21st century driving I suppose...

17 comments:

constant listener said...

Your "winner" must be related to some of the douche bag drivers we have here in Michigan.

The MI Dept. of Transportation put in a few years ago "passing lanes" in various locales on 2 lane State highways, where you can safely pass slower moving traffic in a 1 - 1.5 mile stretch of a 4 lane roadway. Problem is, you get jack holes who are doing 50-55 while on the 2 lane, but speed up to 75-80 MPH in these passing lanes. People trying to pass these morons then can't do so. What happens at the end of the passing lane? They slow right back down to 50-55. ARGH!!!!!

Texas Ghostrider said...

Nope they just haven't met the one you left out...... The Gunner

Steve'nLubbock said...

Here in Lubbock, TX, folks refuse to allow merges of traffic entering the road, and will NOT drive primarily in the center lane of a 3 lane road. Those same folks will exit and force you to slam on the brakes when they enter the frontage road traffic, and never understand why you honk at them!

Community RN said...

I freely admit to being a bit of a wander. I can't keep a steady speed about 100 to save my life. Thankfully Cruise control works very well as long as it's not pouring donw rain out!!

xx
C. Rn

Sabra said...

That last one is the one that gets me. During a road trip to East Texas back in '06, I was persistently behind a van that was going ~65 in a 70, thankfully in the right lane. Every danged time I'd pass him, he'd speed up and pass me and slow back down. And it's not as if I was speeding at any point during this process!

suz said...

Met 'em. Hate 'em.

Moose said...

Great list!

I'd like to find a name for the version of The Speed Freak who decides you haven't pulled over fast enough, so the second you do, he jumps in front of you, slams on his brakes and then zooms off again at 100MPH. I've had this happen to me twice. (FWIW, both times I got a plate number, pulled over and called 911. Although nothing ever happened. O well.)

Also, in Ohio The Gaters can be downright stalker/creepy. I always seem to wind up with the ones that stay *right behind me* no matter what lane I'm in or speed I'm traveling. If I'm in the center lane, they're right behind. If I pull to the left and speed up, the do, too. If I move all the way to the right and slow to 55, they just nudge closer.

One person did this for over a half hour. I finally got so weirded out I pulled into the next pit stop, terrified he was gonna follow me there, too!

Shay said...

Unfortunately, I've had a few experiences with those drivers as well. The Winner frustrates me the most. If you want to go below the speed limit, knock yourself out! But don't piss off everyone else...

And people wonder why there are so many cases of road rage.

*Goddess* said...

Louie Anderson used to call The Gas Police the "Keeper of the Speed":)

PDlandshark said...

Herd mentality! I thought I was the only one that observes this in traffic on the highway.

HonkingAntelope said...

I am still trying to master the Nascar Lane Change move. That's when you change lanes into a space between two car so that there is no more than 18 inches between the adjacent bumpers in the front and the rear. :)

SunTzu said...

How are the laws in your state re: "The Winner" scenario? In my country, not doing what you can to make it easier for someone to pass you, or actively resisting, is a crime, punishable with steep fines and in really serious cases jailtime.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

I'm shopping for another Crown Vic.

Warrior Knitter said...

Then there are the folks who who pass you and with miles ahead of no cars pull over right in front you, usually causing you to have to slow down so you don't run into them. Grrr

These are followed closely by the folks who roar up on your bumper, whip around you into the passing lane and then forget what they were doing. They drive along beside you for the next mile or so before they remember.

Gator Girl Tales said...

I had to laugh at this list as I swear I encounter every single one of these every commute to/from work here in Florida! There must be some Driver's Ed Part II class out there that I wasn't privy to. lol

Mad Jack said...

Driver's Education has changed, and not for the better. Case in point, students are not taught to drive in the right hand lane and pass on the left. Maintaining a safe distance is more of a suggestion than anything else.

I see the same categories of drivers every day, and I think it's getting worse.

Candi Apple said...

Ahhhhhh! I went from driving 60 miles a week to 400+ and reading this list got me all annoyed thinking of the drives. Every day I see all of these and it drives me INSANE. It's a vicious cycle because the attitudes just feed into the behavior of others.

I think everyone hates The Winner and The Gas Police. Sometimes I get a little distracted with visions of flaming Hybrids engulfed in flames as they ruin the flow for EVERYONE.

On another note I've always likened the Highways to being a lot like the ocean. You have whales (trucks), turtles (hybrids), regular fish (standard cars), dolphins (motorcycles), and of course... sharks (CHP because they drive in such a predatory style I'd like to master).