Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Highway Ornithology

I'm not a hater, especially on the road. I used to be. In fact, I once saw a movie featuring Ken Wahl in which he tricked out a pick-up truck and went around harpooning drunk drivers. I was so taken with that idea, I wanted to do it to bad drivers. Over the years though, I've mellowed and I have now only this observation:
Bad Drivers are like birds, they come in all kinds of varieties:

The Nimrod- gets in the wrong lane and then cuts over without looking, or sits at the light that just turned green for a minute because they're lost in their cell phone conversation.

The Peckerwood- drives 55 in a 65 until you try to pass them, then they speed up to 75. If you give up, they slow down. Peckerwoods do this without knowing they do it. There is another species that does this intentionally and maliciously, and I believe they are the Rednecked Assbag.

The Dipshit- This species is known for a plethora of bad moves, most notably for creeping into a backed up intersection. Though they do this during a green light, it's almost assured that the back-up will cause them to still be in the middle of the intersection when their light changes, further backing up the intersection. The amazing thing about this species is that they seem to do this same maneuver again and again.

The Poser- this species drives a pick-up truck though they almost never actually haul anything with it. The rear window will be festooned with racing stickers, either of performance parts that they would like to have on their truck, or of NASCAR racers they like. (There is also some variety in the plumage depending on the region- if for example, you spot a Pick-up Poser with a WEBN sticker on their back window, be prepared to give them a wide berth as there could follow any number of seriously assinine driving maneuvers). The Poser's driving is among the worst known to man, featuring unnanounced lane shifts, random acceleration and slowing, wandering from lane to lane and other strange acts of driving incompetence, most of which is marked by the driver assuming the "cell phone to my ear" position. It is easy to confuse the Poser with other species of men who drive pick-ups; the general rule of thumb is that the cleaner the truck bed is, the bigger the Poser.

The Serious Ass*ole- Runs red lights and stop signs, often at a high rate of speed, because they are in such a hurry to get to McDonald's or whatever dumbass place they're headed for. As a motorcyclist, I hate this species and encourage you to also.

The Flatout Nutjob- this is a species I've experienced to be especially native to New England, though it may be native to all rural areas. These drivers get paranoid on the highway if you approach them too fast from behind and will actually slam on their brakes to teach you a lesson about going too fast or getting too close. Sadly, their tendency to drive in the left hand lane of the highway at or just slightly above the speed limit makes them much like little psychotic bombs just waiting for you to come up behind them and set thyem off. In some rare cases, Flatout Nutjobs get so worked up they follow you home or spend many highway miles harassing you to ensure that you've learned your lesson.

The Celler- we've all seen cell phone users do some dumb crap on the roads, so all I have to say about this one is that I actually had someone on a cellphone walk into me at the mall the other day.

Now, fair readers, what species did I miss? Please add your observations to the comments!

13 comments:

Logophile said...

Oh yes!
I too ride a motorcycle and share your sentiments on that matter.
The pick up truck assholes have a real issue with being passed by a minivan too. Serious, serious issue, they get really obnoxious about it. It may be a van but I also happen to have some power and nothing makes them freak out like having what they assume is a soccer mom passing 'em up.

Justine said...

I'm pretty sure I encountered a dumb asswipe on the way to work today. It took him a half an hour to do a simple merge into traffic.

I also see many varieties of the Eastern Nosepicker on the road.

Anonymous said...

Let me just suggest that there is no meaningful traffic in NH, nor Greater Cincinnati....

Perhaps you should count your blessings...



ChiNaLa

arnheim Lieber said...

what about cops who use their sirens to run red lights on their hot pursuit for their daily dose of jelly filled and sugar glazed...

Anonymous said...

The Flatout Nutjob is quite prevalent here in CA. The CA version of the FN will box you in to teach you a lesson - even if it means driving 45 in a 65. They don't understand "KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS". Nor do they understand "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT". If only they could be taught..... alas, they usually are lacking a brain....

Jodes said...

i love the word nimrod.

AndyT13 said...

Lessee, how about the NEW JERSEY DOUCHEBAG? Known for coming to a stop in the middle of the road for no reason with no directional at a place with no turns. You wouldn't believe how often I've seen this behavior. Closely related to the NEW YORK ASSMUNCH, known for driving on the highway with coffee, a cigarette WHILE READING THE NEWSPAPER. FInally, I saw a new behavior for the flat out nut job recently. Busy highway, wants to pass the guy in the left lane who's already doing 80. Flashing lights beeping horn, the driver in front flips him off because there's no place for him to go to get out of the guy's way. FONJ pulls ONTO THE GRASS of the median, passes and gives the passee BOTH FINGERS. He had to be going 100MPH at least. Top that
sh!t.

Attila The Mom said...

This is just the best list! You hit so many drivers spot on!

I hate the Peckerwoods the most--we get them all the time up here in the mountains.

Now they have a name!

Thanks for writing this.

Weary Hag said...

Marvelous list and yes, thank you for finally giving them all an appropriate name.

I must say, in Connecticut, we also have a special species called "Captain Invisible" ... this rare breed thinks that his car is the only one on the road and that it cannot be touched by another. It is invisible. One of his favorite maneuvers is the old pull-out-of-a-parking-space-right-in-front-of-you and he'll usually do this at a peel-out clip.

In Ohio, there's the "Melt-o-phobe" ... these are the folks who, upon spotting a single drop of rain on their windshield, will slow to a crawl and pull themselves up to the steering column like a 90 year old woman driver. "Oh God, it's RAINING! I might MELT"

Pacific College Mom said...

I have seen another species here in the Pacific Northwest of California: The FreakingCeller. She is driving really slow in the right lane, so as I pass her, she has one hand on the cellphone, and is taking the other one off the wheel so she can "talk" with her hands! She must have been having a really juicy conversation, cause that free hand was really flying...
She must have been steering with her knees...
And people wonder where road rage comes from!

Pacific College Mom said...

I have seen another species here in the Pacific Northwest of California: The FreakingCeller. She is driving really slow in the right lane, so as I pass her, she has one hand on the cellphone, and is taking the other one off the wheel so she can "talk" with her hands! She must have been having a really juicy conversation, cause that free hand was really flying...
She must have been steering with her knees...
And people wonder where road rage comes from!

Badaunt said...

I might be making this up (possibly a good dream) but I'm SURE I remember reading that the first ever cellphone fatality was a pedestrian in S. Korea walking into a power pole while talking on the phone. He had an abnormally fragile skull, a fact which only emerged after the autopsy.

That thought should make you happy, even if it turns out to be not true.

But one of the mildest people I ever knew was a very nice man I used to work with, who also drove very nicely and considerately, all the while astonishimg me with the inventive monologue he kept up all the time he was driving. This monologue consisted of the various punishments he dreamed up for the other drivers on the road.

"When I am Dictator of the World," he would mutter at the most recent offender, "I will have traffic police in helicoptors equipped with giant electro-magnets, and when you do THAT you will be picked up and flown over the harbour and DROPPED INTO THE OCEAN, where you will die a SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH BY DROWNING AS YOU CLAW AT THE WINDOWS OF YOUR CAR."

His voice would get louder and more hysterical as he spoke, while he continued to drive carefully and considerately. pjIt was entertaining, but also worrying. He was SUCH a nice man, normally, but when he was driving he turned into someone who favoured lingering torture for minor driving offences.

Badaunt said...

"pjIt was entertaining"????

Don't know what happened there. Perhaps a minor typing offence, for which I will be punished one day.