I hail from a small town in North Carolina. Driving there doesn’t usually pose much stress unless you’re running late and get stuck behind a tractor. And even then, the farmer probably knows you so they don’t mind pulling to the side to let you pass with a friendly wave.
Don’t get me wrong, though most of my driving years were spent in rural areas, I’ve had some experience traversing the freeways in larger cities. Whenever I get near Knoxville, TN, rush hour traffic happens, even if it’s nowhere near rush hour. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat in my car in that city, not moving, surrounded by fellow drivers in multiple lanes and singing at the top of my voice to whatever song I knew on the radio. Lucky for them the windows were up. You got to find some way to pass the time right? I’ve also driven on the outskirts of Washington, DC. I wasn’t even driving in the city and already I decided that I’d rather have a bikini wax every day than drive anywhere near there again! However, living about an hour from the metropolitan area of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake, VA, most of my big city driving happened there. But, I had never had a daily dose of heavy traffic until I moved to Florida. Nothing I’ve experienced before compares to my weekday commute to and from work.
Some days I’m lucky and I’m only witness to the extremes people will do to while driving. One morning, a jeep was bobbing and weaving through traffic, cutting people off and tailgating. Unbeknownst to an SUV who decided to move into a different lane, the jeep had made the same move and they came close to colliding. At the stop light, the jeep driver jumped out of his vehicle and ran over to the SUV, fist in the air yelling obscenities. At this point, I started looking for escape options because I was in line at the light behind the jeep. The SUV driver ignored the confrontation as he had younger children in the back. This only provoked the jeep driver more and he reached for the door handle. Luckily the door was locked, because I really didn’t want to see what might have happened if he had gotten it open.
Then there are days that I’m not so lucky. First, I must navigate myself onto the highway. Apparently, when other drivers see that someone is trying to pull out, they must immediately take that lane and drive slow. Let’s not forget the wonderful man who recently decided that I was taking too long, so he went around me, jumped into the lane and almost cause a wreck right there in front me. Yeah, he was special.
I am also cut off by drivers who are weaving through vehicles and squeezing into any possible hole into which they think their car will fit. I’ve realized that most drivers have no clue how large their vehicle really is. My favorite though, are those who are driving in the far right lane and decide at the very last-minute that they need to turn left. So they zoom across all three lanes, expecting everyone else to let them through and get out of their way. As they get in the turn lane, they wave their middle finger out the window at you, because you had to slam on breaks so you wouldn’t get hit. Those drivers are special, too.
Now I’m not saying I’m a perfect driver, I’m not. I have my share of bad habits. For instance, I have speeding issues. I like to get where I’m going, and I like to do it quickly. Of course since my nice little ticket last year given to me by the motorcycle officer that appeared out of nowhere, I now watch my speedometer like a hawk. That being said, this does not mean that I like to randomly stop and start or speed up and slow down. This action in itself seems to an anomaly in traffic issues. It’s the one thing for which I cannot seem to find an explanation.
It usually goes something like this: I’m driving along in a good flow of traffic, probably a bit faster than the speed limit, but not dangerously so. Things are looking great, we are all getting where we need to go in a nice, cordial manner. Then suddenly I see brake lights and we come to a halt. My first thought is “Oh no, there’s been an accident” and I brace myself for a long wait. We move forward inches at a time. This happens for a couple of miles, the minutes ticking along. I text my co-workers and let them know I will more than likely be late. I watch the cars on the other side streaking past me. And just as suddenly as we stopped, traffic starts to break away and move at a normal speed.
I am completely perplexed by this event.
There must be a reason for it, I just can’t figure it out. My husband just takes it in stride, as he does most things. I wish I had his patience, but I’ve been cursed with a mind that wants to make sense of everything. Maybe someone’s car stalled? But there is no car on the side of the road. There is no accident. There is no road blockage of any sort. There is no broken stop light. I start getting creative at this point. Maybe there was a UFO abduction? But I’m sure we would have seen some sort of commotion if that were the case. Maybe there several animals that needed to cross the road? Then I remember I’m not back home anymore, and the surrounding locations are all commercial. Not somewhere a deer or a wildlife would be wandering around.
So I’m left to the only conclusion that makes any sense in my little brain. This traffic phenomena must be due to one of those leisurely drivers, cutting across lanes to make a turn, then changing their mind and veering back into the other lane just as the light is about to turn red, zooming through it leaving the rest of us to brake hard and wait. That or someone out there really just likes driving me crazy!