06:00:47 am on
Saturday 13 Jul 2024

Driving Foibles
Matt Seinberg

Sometimes you just have to shake your head in utter wonder at some of the stupid things that people do. One of my pet peeves is people that don't use their turn signals. I'm guessing that they think that the rest of the world knows exactly what they are going to do next on the road.

Turn signals on cars are mandated by government.

Well guess what fool, we don’t! There are those lovely government mandated signals on all four corners of your car for a reason. That's to tell the rest of the poor schmucks, on the road, what exactly you intend to do, such as turn left or right.

Coming home from work this evening, it happened to me twice. The first was the opposite signal; that means the idiot in front of me is signaling to go into the right lane, but isn't doing it yet because he thinks someone is coming up right behind him. That wasn't the case. The car behind him was waiting for this moron to make his move as he went slower and slower in front of me.

I went into a parking lot to avoid a long traffic light. There's a blue BMW just sitting there and as soon as I approach, he starts to move, slowly. We get to the two turns to get out of the parking lot and even though I know where he's going, he doesn't use a turn signal.

Here's the kicker. We finally get out of the parking lot and he gets in the left lane; halfway down the street, he just gets over into the right lane, again without using his signals. This driver is an accident waiting to happen.

The ones that really make me mad are the little moms driving the huge SUVs. They can barely see over the windshield, much less see out the rear window. They figure their trucks are so big, other drivers will just move out the way in fear. Hell yeah, I'm not challenging a truck. Right now, I'm in a rented 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage powered by four under nourished squirrels. If a truck hit me, all five of us would die.

The older I get, the less willing I am to drive after dark.

I have discovered that the older I get, the more afraid I am to drive on roads that I'm not familiar with, especially at night. Throw a bridge in for good measure and its white knuckle driving at its worst.

If you've never been stuck in dead stop traffic in the middle of the George Washington Bridge, you can't understand the fear that I feel. You can actually feel the bridge bouncing up and down. For someone with a fear of heights and bridges, that is cause for full-blown panic attack. It happened to me once, with Michelle in the car, and I had to hide the fear I was having. I let out a deep breath when we finally got off the bridge.

In October, when Marcy, my wife, and I went to upstate Plattsburgh for a look at the college there, the ride going up wasn't bad. Minimum, the ride is six hours and we made good time with numerous rest stops. Coming home was a different story. We hit heavy traffic, at multiple spots, up to and including the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Tap, the local nickname for this Tappan Zee, is an old bridge, roughly sixty years old. Its replacement is under construction right next to it. As I always drive on the inside lane, slowly, at night, I'm being passed by everyone else going what seems to be 80 miles an hour or more. I'm going a very cautious 50 and feeling every bit as panicked as I was on the George Washington Bridge. Again, I let out a huge sigh of relief when we finally got off.

Next time, I'll get it right and stay overnight, halfway home.

The next time we go to Plattsburgh, to drop off Michelle, my daughter, at school, we're taking two days to drive home. The reason is that we probably won't leave the school until 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I don't want to do highway driving at night, especially over the bridges, again. We're stopping halfway, in the Albany area. This way my anxieties won't flare up and we'll get some needed rest.

Remember to use your turn signals, always.


Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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