Your favorite song is playing on the radio as you drive on the freeway at a comfortable sixty-five miles an hour. The sun is behind you as the day finally comes to an end. The temperature in the car is cool, and your mind begins to relax. All seems well until a car cuts in front of you forcing you to slam on the brakes and change lanes in order to prevent a fifty-car pileup. As you regain your mobility, you realize that Suicidal Speeding Maniac has just cut you off. We encounter drivers like Suicidal Speeding Maniac every day of our lives, but he is just one of four drivers that you should try to avoid on the road.
The day begins, and you are on the road trying to get to work. You are a mile away as you enter the right hand lane to make a turn. The driver in front of you is moving very slowly and you can’t help but scream in frustration. You can’t change lanes because you must make a right hand turn. You finally reach an intersection with the same driver in front of you. The driver makes a right hand turn and you follow. To your dismay, the driver is going the same place you are. The driver gets in the turning lane to make a left hand turn into your place of business. The driver cautiously gains momentum, but he hesitates before the turn as the light changes. You are behind him pounding on the wheel for the driver to hurry. The driver finally turns, but it’s right before a huge rush of traffic and you have to wait for the next light. Unfortunately, you had an encounter with Sluggish Earl, the first type of driver to avoid. Sluggish Earl is the cautious driver who keeps you waiting at turning signals, traffic lights, and parking lots. Sluggish Earl will only drive to safe standards; meaning he will obey all traffic laws, drive under the speed limit, and turn when he feels there is no danger present. Sluggish Earls can be categorized as senior citizens, foreigners, young people with driver’s permits, and most bus drivers. To survive a Sluggish Earl encounter, you must be patient, be willing to sit through at least two turning lights, and have the tenacity to improvise. There are two ways to spot a Sluggish Earl. If you see multiple cars change lanes in front of you, chances are there’s a Sluggish Earl in the midst. The second way to tell a Sluggish Earl is to watch the cars ahead. If the brake lights on a car are on more than off, there’s a big possibility that the driver is a Sluggish Earl. To avoid a Sluggish Earl, you must change lanes quickly in advance and make a quick detour. You can’t always avoid a Sluggish Earl encounter, but you must think quickly if you do run into one. Otherwise, you may be stranded at the turning lane of a parking lot for quite a while.
As work ends, you decide to get something to eat. You drive out of the parking lot and enter one of the side streets. You glance in the mirror and notice a car following way too close. You try to speed up, but the car speeds up with you. Any tap on the brakes will result in severe whiplash. You make a right turn, but the car turns with you. The only refuge you find is pulling into a KFC drive-thru and waiting for the culprit to pass you by. Thankfully, you have survived an encounter with The Sniper, the second type of driver to avoid. The Sniper creeps through the roadways and highways searching for its next target, hoping to tailgate and torture its victim. It will follow you and keep you hanging onto your steering wheel for dear life, praying that it doesn’t hit you at the next red light. Snipers are usually in their late twenties, but can be narrowed down to younger subjects who have just received their license. The only way to avoid a sniper is to keep your attention on the rear view mirror. If a car is swerving in and out of traffic going very fast and creeping up behind you, chances are it is a Sniper. To deal with a Sniper, you must turn quickly, put your foot on the accelerator, and make a run for it. It is very hard to avoid a Sniper, however, because their main focus is surprise. Always be on the lookout for The Sniper, and never let your guard down.
The worst is over, or so you think. You pull out of the drive-thru and begin to drive home. You are going ten miles an hour over the speed limit, yet the driver behind you thinks you are going too slow. A series of honks can be heard as the driver gets on your tail. You change lanes and the driver catches up to you. The driver screams some nasty four-letter words and flips you the bird. You glance over at the driver with the look of innocence and turn to face the road again. The driver speeds up and gets into the turning lane. You shake your head and realize you had an encounter with The Honking Finger Thrower, the third type of driver to avoid. Honking Finger Thrower is the aggressive driver that creates anger on the roadways. The Honking Finger Thrower is always in a hurry and feels that everyone should drive to his standards. Honking Finger Thrower can be categorized as middle-aged men, women, and all commercial drivers. A Honking Finger Thrower, like a tornado, comes out of nowhere. The only way to spot him is to watch the traffic. Like a forming super cell, if the cars start to clump together, and the temperature increases, a Honking Finger Thrower may result. To avoid a Honking Finger Thrower, you must try to avoid traffic jams, construction areas, and Wal-Mart parking lots. To deal with a Honking Finger Thrower, you must go with the flow of traffic and ignore all the honking and screaming. Always try to avoid bad traffic situations because a Honking Finger Thrower may be in the area.
As you pull onto the freeway, you realize that the traffic is minimal. Instead of the sun blinding you, it is behind you. The song that you have had stuck in your head all day finally comes on the radio. The air conditioner is set to the perfect temperature as you begin to relax and sink deeply into your seat. A feeling of ecstasy swarms your body as you slowly recover from the day’s torment. “HONK!” You are thrust into alert position, and you slam hard on the brakes to avoid hitting a car that has just cut you off. A glance in the rear view mirror reveals a mountain of cars closing in upon you. Your quick thinking pays off as you switch lanes and hit the accelerator barely missing the hostile driver who has just cut you off. As your heart beat returns to normal, you realize you barely survived a meeting with the last type of driver to avoid, The Suicidal Speeding Maniac. The Suicidal Speeding Maniac has the notion that he is the exception to the rules, and that all traffic around him does not exist. The Suicidal Speeding Maniac is the driver that runs red lights, cuts cars off on freeways, does forty-five in school zones, turns abruptly without a turn signal, and ignores all crosswalks. The Suicidal Speeding Maniac is usually a sixteen year-old who has just received a new car for his birthday, or a person fresh into college. The only way to spot a Suicidal Speeding Maniac is to watch the behavior of other cars. If you notice a car going way over the speed limit, never using their blinkers, and changing lanes a lot; chances are the driver’s a Suicidal Speeding Maniac. To avoid a Suicidal Speeding Maniac, you must look twice at intersections, keep an eye on your rear view mirror, and never follow the car in front of you too closely as the driver may slam on his brakes or turn abruptly. Always have an extra eye on the lookout for the Suicidal Speeding Maniac, or else your first encounter with him may be your last.
We all encounter our share of bad drivers on the road. When you are on the road, you must maintain your composure and always stay on the defensive. Driving is like a huge game, and unfortunately not everyone plays by the rules. However, knowing your opponents will always increase your chance of winning and staying safe on the roadways.