25 October 2009

Yes, You're Driving On My Road


DC / Baltimore drivers are rude. Not NYC rude. That rudeness is expected and almost permissible...a natural byproduct of a concrete jungle with too many people, too little road, and too hurried lives. No, the selfish aggressive driving in this area is confounding to say the least.

Parking spaces are wonderful displays of people's behavior. After searching relentlessly for a space and finding one - unoccupied or soon to be - another driver approaching the opposite direction should see the turn signal you recently engaged. Instead they attempt to claim your parking space. Had they seen it first? Doubtful. Plus, you called dibs. Sometimes a honk can shake them into reality but other times they still manage to claim your space. Perhaps it's the singular focus of securing the cherished parking prize that causes drivers to be blind to someone's blinker. But when dibs are called on a space, respect it!

Trying to exit from a parking space is another slice of fun. Finding another driver wanting your space isn't uncommon. However, finding the other driver positioned in such close proximity to protect the claim and barely leave you room to exit - that's just rude. Granted, there are some moments when the vehicle wanting your space has been boxed in by another clueless driver behind them. I prefer to combat this arrogance with a slow exit or never leaving the parking space.

I'm not certain if it's the diversity of drivers in the DC / Baltimore metro or if merging is simply an impossible concept. However, this issue seems to be universal to any road which has an onramp or where two lanes become one. Again, instead of looking out for the other driver's welfare and attempting to keep an orderly flow, drivers will do whatever possible to claim their piece of asphalt. Maybe the thought is to "get out of the other driver's way" but the end result seems more "I'm first and you're not!"

A cousin of merging is interstate lane changing. Activating a blinker may announce your intention to change lanes but don't expect any to let you over. Instead, they will again speed up to make sure they're in front of you - not knowing if you will impede their progress or not - rather than slow a bit to allow you in their lane.

At the root of this is: me, me, me. I want to be first. My time is more valuable than yours. Let me get out of way...but I'm still first.

Folks, see past the end of your nose, show a little hospitality and compassion to your fellow drivers, and take some time. You might have fewer accidents but you'll definitely have lower blood pressures.