These bad, gross and dangerous driving habits need to stop
Explain it to Lorraine. On this site, I have a series called Lorraine Explains — but there are some things I need you to explain to me. Things — habits — I will never understand. Perhaps things I don’t wantto understand, but I am asking nonetheless.
Tell me how these things work:
You find yourself taking the wrong exit on the highway. So, you back down the ramp. There are few things more terrifying than seeing reverse lights on a major roadway. I learned, as a small child, that you can always get from here to there; the journey may differ from time to time, but highway design especially helps you achieve just that. If you leave a highway, you can get back on! There are even signs! Nearly every exit will have a corresponding get-back-on-the-highway ramp. If you find yourself backing down a highway ramp, please drop your vehicle into drive, continue to the top and hand in your driver’s licence.
It’s a blizzard outside. News reports are begging people to stay off the roads. You decide you need to go the mall, for jeans or new boots or something. I don’t know. But if it’s not for insulin or a heart transplant, if you’re not a works employee or someone who saves lives, why are you out? It’s bad enough the people in our society who earn the least — those slinging your coffee or giving you a manicure — end up behind the eight-ball; don’t show up for their shift or get paid. But if you truly have a choice, make the right one and make it easier for those who have enough to do without hauling your SUV out of a ditch.
Everybody has their pet peeve for things others do behind the wheel. Messing with infotainment, putting on makeup, texting — all distracted and distracting. But people who pick their noses are in a class all on their own. Do you get that your car is not made with that one-way glass, like in a police interrogation room? This is so gross, there is nothing else that needs to go in this category.
Because most modern cars no longer have an ashtray or a lighter, it only makes sense that you throw your cigarette butts out the window. Wait — no, it doesn’t. If you want to make your vehicle a rolling stink chamber, that’s your right. But tossing those out the window is disgusting and dangerous. Disgusting, because the rest of us don’t want them in our environment for the same reason you don’t want them in your car. Dangerous, because kids and pets pick things up, and if you ride a motorcycle or bicycle, you already deal with the danger of being hit accidentally by flying rocks and road debris — let alone purposely getting nailed with a lit cigarette. Try driving your car without a windshield; that is being on a bike.
The internet offers up pictures of people who have gone to great lengths to try to protect their car from dents. My favourite are pool noodles strung along the sides. With the advent of sliding doors on vans and the increasing rarity of two doored cars, it’s easier than ever to not blast open your door and ding your neighbour. How hard can this be? If you’ve parked in such a way that you need a can opener to get out, park somewhere else. If you can’t tell that you’ve hit and damaged another car, hand in your licence. If you don’t give a damn because your car is a wreck, hand in your human card.
A corollary to the door dingers: You’re parked on the street and you — or your passenger — jump out. Would it kill you to hesitate and check for cyclists? They have enough to worry about, like drivers making right-hand turns without using their mirrors. Why is it so hard for a driver to be aware of what is going on behind or beside them? Admittedly, some seem to have a hard enough time registering what is happening right in front of them.
I had no idea this was a thing, but I’ve seen it three times now in the past few months: People who sport those stick figure families cross out or scrape off an ex-spouse. I hate car decoration of any type, but hey, fill your boots. (And no, your stick figure family isn’t relaying information that will get your child kidnapped — it’s an urban myth.) I don’t care if he was a lying S.O.B. or she done you wrong; advertising your animosity this way, especially if you have children is petty and ridiculous. It also says far more about you than the scrapee. Apply new stickers, or better yet, don’t.
I’ve seen people flossing, eating a bowl of cereal, and shaving. We’ve all gritted our teeth at passing lane hogs and unlit cars at night. What makes you nuts?