Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Mike’s Rules Of The Road Volume 3

Did one of these things years ago, and folks really seemed to like it a lot. So I did a short follow-up post some time later, which I believe was lost along with a bunch of other stuff when I switched from either Grey Matter to Moveable Type or MT to WordPress as a blogging platform. Now I figger it’s time for another. I got a lot of problems with you people out there on the road, and now you’re gonna hear about it.

Okay, first off, Charlotte has become absolutely unbearable to drive around in. Unfortunately, driving around is what I do for a living—all damned day and half the damned night, every damned day—and Charlotte’s where the money is. But it’s truly awful. The traffic now rivals the Long Island Expressway—not exaggerating AT ALL here, trust me—and rush hour runs basically from about three in the afternoon until around 7 in most places. On certain streets, such as Albemarle Road or Harris Blvd in the University City area, it never really lets up.

The streets themselves are in ridiculously bad condition, as bad as just about anywhere I’ve ever been, and I’ve been everywhere, man. Car-swallowing potholes and cracks, construction projects funneling major multilane thoroughfares down to one lane with the resultant sudden tire-smoking stops, mind-bending snarls and hazards, and haphazardly-marked detours make for some real thrills for all and sundry. After leaving NYC and not missing the infernal things one tiny bit, Harlotte also now has those awful steel plates popping up all over the place too, the ones that rear their ugly edges up well above pavement level and eat tires, shocks, and steering alignment for a light snack. Just recently I had to shell out a bunch of money I didn’t have to replace not just one but two—count em, two (2)—nearly new tires in which the steel belts had separated, a condition usually caused by smashing into a bad pothole or plate hard enough to jar the fillings in your teeth loose. Two of ’em. The same damned day.

With the population rising here at an almost unbelievable rate—imported from other parts of the country (the Northeast—ahem) harboring drivers who lack the faintest idea about what they’re doing but drive like Mario Andretti on crystal meth, are inconsiderate as hell and bereft of any sense of courtesy, have absolutely no clue about where they’re going, and insist on keeping their phones in front of their faces at 70 mph taking selfies to post on Fucking Facebook—the number of drivers out there randomly making sudden unsignaled turns or freeway exits from the far lane, wandering in and out of their lane into yours, and/or creeping along at a snail’s pace because they’re lost, panicked, and oblivious to the existence of other drivers have all proliferated horribly.

Next up, tailgating. I simply must ask: WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE, ANYWAY?!? You are riding RIGHT UP MY ASS, leaving yourself NO POSSIBILITY OF AVOIDING REAR-ENDING ME should I have to suddenly apply the brakes, and you are paying NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER because you’re dicking around with your fucking phone. At 70 miles per hour. Did NOBODY explain the importance of maintaining adequate following distance to you in Driver’s Ed, assuming you ever even took it, or paid the slightest attention in class when you did? Every blasted week—nearly every blasted day, actually—I see rear-enders involving pileups of four, five, or six cars, the drivers standing around dully scratching their vacant heads and puzzling over how such an outlandish thing could possibly have occurred.

Figuring that out does NOT require rocket-scientist-level intelligence: the poor schlub at the head of the line is toodling happily along when he has to suddenly stomp his brakes for any of approximately eleventy-billion perfectly good reasons; the moron behind him futzing around with his cellphone and riding his ass can’t stop and rams him; the moron likewise behind HIM driving like an idiot does likewise; and so it goes, until we get to the only sensible person in the line who is able to avoid the accordion-action pileup in front of him because he realizes that there is NO text message or Facebook post important enough to anybody that it can’t wait the fifteen or twenty minutes it will take him to get safely home and out from behind the wheel. Where the crushed-bumper clowns on the side of the road making lame excuses to each other never should have been allowed in the first place.

What’s with the tailgating thing, anyway? That, combined with the jackasses who zip wildly in and out of rush-hour traffic trying to improve their position in the traffic stream by one or two notches, speeding up, slowing down, and generally annoying me no end, are incomprehensible to me. Where the hell do you think you’re GOING in all that traffic, anyway? There are large, heavy metal objects moving rapidly all around you, in front, behind, to each side—all of them gliding along at roughly equal speed, every one of whose operators is every damned bit as eager to get home from work as you are. Is exercising a bare modicum of patience, maturity, and consideration for other people during your daily commute really just flat beyond you? Did you ever notice that all those people you endangered by blowing recklessly past them will be catching up to sit beside you at the next stoplight—every single damned time? Is paring fifteen or twenty seconds off your drive home that particular day REALLY going to enhance your life so greatly that it validates your putting the well-being of every swinging dick on the road at risk, including your own?

All that blood-boiling idiocy is bad enough for sure. But of late the thing that’s really frosting my nuts is a no-fooling puzzler, something I truly can’t figure out after lengthy deliberation: high beam headlights. After years and years of only occasionally, even rarely, being blinded by some doot-brained nimrod coming at me down the other side of the road (bad enough) or coming up behind me (worse) with his damned brights on, of late this annoying, dangerous, and stupid shit is something I’m seeing many, many times a night, every single night, seven days a week. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? Yeah, of course now and then our attention slips and we leave the brights on on a dark country road, we’ve all done it—whereupon the guy you’re approaching on the other side flips his brights at you, you sheepishly go “Oh, dammit!” to yourself at your absent-minded lapse, and cut your dang brights off until he goes by. In fact, I can remember a time when, if it was a cop coming at you flipping his brights at you to get you to cut yours, and you failed to do so, you could pretty much count on getting stopped, maybe even a ticket depending on how peaceably the guy’s lunch is sitting with him that evening.

But no more, apparently. There is a whole damned passel of mouthbreathers out there these days who either A) have no idea how to turn their brights off and just drive around with them on all the time hoping no one will notice; B) encounter old guys like me, who don’t see so good at night no more anyway and are about to careen into the ditch, flipping their brights at em desperately trying to get the thoughtless sonsabitches to kill the damned blinders already until we can all pass safely by, don’t give a fragrant shit, and just say, “Ehh, fuck ’em” and leave them on; or C) don’t know what high beams are, have no idea they’re switched on, and are perplexed as to why oncoming drivers’ lights are going brighter and dimmer again and again, because nobody HAS functioning high beams in Pakistan or Somalia or whatever other blighted hellhole they arrived here from three weeks ago; or D) some abhorrent combination of any or all of the above.

This whole nuthouse circus going on, mind you, in an era when advanced illumination techonology has given us headlight bulbs that are literally orders of magnitude brighter than, say, the ones of fifteen or twenty years ago. I note without further comment that, when the witless and/or thoughtless culprit is overtaking me from behind and I can get a good look at them as they go by, the overwhelming majority of these miscreants has been either older black women or younger Middle-Eastern ones with headscarves on. No veils yet, thank God. But one of these days that’s gonna happen too, I bet, and I only wish I could say I’ll be surprised by it.

So there you have it, gang: the third and possibly final installment of Mike’s Rules Of The Road. Read ’em, learn ’em, live ’em. Always remember the old bumper sticker slogan: drive like hell, and you’ll get there. And dim your lights, for God’s sake.

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24 thoughts on “Mike’s Rules Of The Road Volume 3

  1. Here are a couple more blood boiling annoyances. Cruising along, there’s a vehicle ahead of you that you know you’ll be overtaking. Behind you, you’re being overtaken. The clown behind you gets to your left rear quarter panel, and suddenly decides to keep pace with you! Soooo…you have to slow down to let the rock head pass. The other is a lack of left lane discipline. If you’re not passing anyone, get in the friggin’ right lane! Especially if you’re at, or below, the speed limit. Not rocket science.

  2. What’s with this bullshit now? All those you reference are down here in Florida right now, fully believing the Tourist Industry motto: “The rules are different here!” and “enriching” our highways far beyond what they ever would consider doing in the presence of New Joisey or Big Craphole Only Ones.

    And by the way, if you ever have to replace Charlotte, look here:
    https://www.autotempest.com/

    You will, of course, have to check the vehicle out carefully, but they consolidate listings from a WIDE variety of sources into one spot.

  3. I’m shocked how polite drivers here in NJ are compared to NY… No, really, I’m serious. They seldom run over you and slow down or stop to let you in or turn left almost to a fault. Also, almost no horn blowing. I’m in the New Brunswick area.
    The bright headlights problem is serious (I have older guys vision also wear contacts, which increases glare).
    I’m no fan of government regulation but I wish they would regulate the brightness and or intensity of the new lights.
    Also, most idiots don’t realize that the lights are supposed to be calibrated to point downward to some degree.
    But hands down worst of all is some jacked up truck lit up light Christmas right at the level of your head. Someday I’m just going to grab the ball bat and have at it.

  4. Or the tailgater who roars up to kiss the ass of the car you’re driving–and when you get the chance, you move into the next lane to let the asshole pass–and then he just stays in the same damn place, or worse, pulls behind you, AGAIN ONLY 1 foot off your bumper. (Chicago specialty, I think.)

    Ever notice that the most ridiculous speeders drive Nissans and VW’s?

    1. Here, the most dangerous drivers are in Audis. “Quad Zeroes” will pull stunts so moronic and crazy, it’s a miracle they aren’t quads in wheelchairs with zero ability to do anything for themselves.

      1. No. Bimmers.

        Surely you are aware of the old saying:

        Q: How do you tell the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?
        A: With a porcupine, all the pricks are on the OUTSIDE.

  5. The stupid, selfish, and murderous behavior on the roads gets exponentially worse as the years pass. I live in the diversity-enriched Mpls.-St. Paul metro area. I’ve been told by people from NYC, Chicago, and other larger cities that they’re afraid to drive here. The gist from them is, we seem so nice, but we drive like amoral psychos. “Minnesota Nice” is an ironic term, as I keep telling people not from here. We smile and act polite to cover the hate continually bubbling just under the surface. I used to think it was a vestige of Viking behavior, as the Scandinavian influence here is so strong. But somehow even the Somalis and Mexicans, soon after arriving here, start behaving the same way. It’s a multicultural virus, apparently.

    1. Yep, I’m from the UP of Michigan used to driving in snow asshole-deep to a helluva-tall Indian, and the “drivers” down here make me long for a Death Race-mobile.

      Luckily I only go to the Twin Shitties to partake in the occasional safari? whereas the old lady does the hour south to St. Paul every day.

      An hour, unless it snows. Or rains. Or is Friday and citiots are going to “cabin country.” Or a line of Prii are in the Hammer Lane.

      Snow Niggers suck.

      1. Remember when we used to laugh at those idiots in the warmer states driving at full speed when it snowed and got icy, sliding into those endless multicar crashes? Now, I’m just hoping to not get killed (seriously!) by any of a thousand idiots driving 15 miles over the speed limit when there’s black ice all over the road. They’re usually on their phones, too, which is just supertarded to the nth power.

      2. “Prii”
        My buddy is going to be upset to find out he did not make that up.

  6. I have driven in Seattle, NYC, San Francisco, most of the SE US, Port Au Prince, Istanbul and elsewhere. But as bad as Turkey and Haiti where, I still tell people if you can drive in Boston you can drive anywhere! I did pass through Charlotte a few years ago and, yes, it was a mess.

    1. Massholes are the worst. Only place I’ve lived beside SoCal that rain meant accidents and lots of em. I thought CT drivers were bad.. then I moved to MA.

      1. Oh, trust me, Vince, that rule applies here in Charlotte as well. Me and my brother–he’s a truck driver like I used to be, and so has likewise seen it all–have joked for years that it’s state law in NC that the moment the first drop falls, all motorists must point their vehicles straight for the ditch and stay there until notified otherwise.

  7. I’ve driven extensively in Continental Europe and the UK and one of the things that struck me is that when a trucker puts on his lane-change signal he’s not signalling his intention to change lanes he’s telling you he’s changing lanes RIGHT NOW and you better give way even if it means slamming on the brakes just as you’re ready to slip past his slower vehicle.

    1. In Turkey they just pull into the opposite lane to pass and flash their lights at the on coming vehicle to say “move over”. If the on coming vehicle flashes back twice it means “no you move over” or “I can’t” and so on it goes until someone moves. I an NOT joking, this is truly how its done, and legal.

      1. That reminds me: in Italy on a two-lane road a vehicle will pass another even when there is an oncoming vehicle and the one that is being passed is just automatically expected to move over to the right as far as possible and the oncoming vehicle to its right as well so that the passing car can slip between them. I’ve seen that on numerous occasions and all drivers go with that unwritten rule. I’ve done it many times.

  8. Wow! I’m a transplant to Charlotte from Cleveland, OH, and I thought I was the only one who noticed the poor driving, combined with bad roads, badly laid out, that makes the city such a nightmare to drive in.

    Fortunately, my husband retired last Friday (to go to work again in an SC school on Monday), so I’ll seldom be needing to go there again.

    About the best thing about teaching (I’m semi-retired, just subbing) was that school hours meant that I seldom faced the worst rush-hour traffic. Just had to watch out for the high school kids, most of whom seem to have cars/trucks. I can excuse their errors, due to inexperience and youth. There is NO excuse for the adults.

    And, the women are the WORST. Driving too-big-for-them SUVs, on the phone nonstop.

  9. Charlotte was that bad 20+ years ago, too. The population has always been about 10 steps ahead of infrastructure, especially the roads. I used to commute to Rock Hell every morning. Always smooth sailing heading south on 77, but it was a clusterfuck if you were headed north. Traffic was always backed up, from Tyvola to the (then) newly finished 277 (?) bypass to the east. Construction, everywhere, all the time, slowing things down. And the road names….10 different Sharon’s, roads that go in the same direction, but change names. And then I moved to Rhode Island for school and culture shock

  10. I hear you on the brights, they are the worst, usually coming from pickup trucks and SUVs. Those are blinding when some idiot comes up behind with them on, especially if it’s rainy or snowy out.

    The catch all annoyance at drivers is that they don’t seem aware that the skill of driving is not to get you from point A to B, it’s to as best as possible anticipate and avoid all hazards along the way by paying attention. Even simple stuff like moving over when someone is merging onto the highway if the left lane is clear, moving over to exit sooner than the last 500 feet before the exit, taking the center lane before slowing down to turn left, or driving with some recognition that cars do not perform as well in rain, snow, or ice as they do on dry pavement seem to be foreign concepts to most.

    I would prefer to train people on motorcycles first in traffic before handing them a license to drive a car, ideally a 3-wheeled motorcycle for training purposes. People who have biked seem to more appreciate the dangers of the road and the need to pay attention.

  11. Well, Mike, you have described the typical NE driver. Or maybe just a high enough percentage to make driving an adrenaline spiking adventure even at 25mph (I know, only me and grandpa run at 25). Had an acquaintance passed on a 2 lane road recently for going too slow on black ice. I really don’t get it and it is especially interesting when the fool who put many at risk is waiting at the red light when you get there. When I’m feeling extra saucy I give em a toot on the horn and a wave. Usually they have no idea why b/c they weren’t paying attention.
    My theory for the brights is that people are confused by the daytime running lights. Something like if the regular lights are on during daylight the brights must be for night time. I dunno.
    Haven’t seen it yet but I’m waiting for the time a foolish driver passes me on a back road only to be dead in the water after hitting a deer at about 50mph. I’ll call 911 if they look seriously hurt otherwise I’ll just roll down the window and laugh and wave.
    I really think the poor driving is yet another symptom of the loss of class/civility in our culture. I’ve checked and there is no common denominator. White, ‘diverse’, old, young, male, female, beater, high end car.

  12. HA! ROTFLMAO! DENVER has all your places beat by MILES and MILES!

    Infrastructure here is twenty years behind the population; many Enviro-whackos got their starts here and Colorado has had a massive influx from sunny, high desert states (TX CA AZ NV) where nobody learns to drive in snow and thinks that their SUV with it’s high-up center-of-gravity, is immune from the laws of physics. I’ve seen more roll-over accidents in the last six months than I saw in the past 50 years of driving combined!

    While Audi drivers are bad, since they feel “entitled” in their $70,000 SUVs, by far the worst are Subaru drivers, (many, many women) who love to talk on their cellphones while pointing (NOT driving!!!) their AWD cars down over-crowded streets and highways.

    1. Stopped to help a lady high centered on a snow bank. She was squawking and getting me and the other guy who stopped to help PO’d. Crying about ‘but I have an SUV’. Pointed out my relatively high clearance 4WD and told her I wouldn’t have tried it with that. She left us alone after that.

  13. …New Yorker by birth, California (by IBM transfer out and back) and Charlotte since 1980 and I am here to tell you that Mike is “dead-nuts-right” about all-of-it…but, “…wait,” he said,”.. it gets better…”

    …this sh*t-for-brains Mecklenburg County Water Department has torn up one of the only two ways out of my sub-division (see Idlewild Road) and is telling us it will be 2020 before the other egress/exit out is restored…

    ..and if you think this is a “charlie-foxtrot” wail until they start construction for the Silver Line”…out from Uptown on Independence Blvd..

  14. …one more and I am “outtahere”… two parter..
    part one: a certain “cultural prerogative” around here is to leave two-three spaces ahead of you in line to the light … next time you’re stopped a a light in Charlotte just glance at the “other line” and see who it is sitting “spaces back” from that light…

    part two: “you’re new to the country” and you are afraid of getting stopped by the “policia” so you creep in traffic five miles or more less than the posted speed – no matter the traffic conditions around you – and everyone either has to speed up to get around you or f-o-l-l-ow a-l-o-n-g b-e-h -i-n-d….

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