I forgot that this is what driving is like

I am once again a driver.  After 2 years of city-living and 4 years in college I am driving regularly for the first time in 6 years.  Oh sure, I had a few months behind the wheel here and there.  A summer or 2 in college and that few months where I was living at home, but for the most part, I’ve been a non-driver since high school.

And I forgot what kind of crazies are out there.

Maybe you just don’t notice as a passenger, maybe people in Pittsburgh or Vernon aren’t quite as ruthless as they are in the Philadelphia suburbs, maybe it’s just because it’s close to Christmas.  Whatever the reason, driving has been, well, interesting lately.

What I’ve been noticing lately is that people behind you will cut you off on a turn.  As in, I’m sitting in my lane, with my turn signal blinking, waiting for the traffic to clear so I don’t get hit and then, out of nowhere, the car behind me, also turning, cuts me off.


The first time I experienced this was actually about a month ago.  I was turning left out of my neighborhood and the turn is, well it’s just that the road, well it sucks.  When you are turning into the ‘hood, there is this fake little half lane for you to get into but if you DO, you can forget actually executing said turn.  When you leave, you are stuck making a left hand turn.  Which, because of the little half lane means that your visual access to oncoming traffic is pretty much non-existent.  So you have to get way out into the road to turn.  So traffic is heavy and I’m waiting to turn and this guy in a little sports car comes flying out from behind me and tries to get into the turning lane before me.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Dude.  I’m sitting in the road with my LEFT turn signal on.  And you tried to turn LEFT and cut  me off?!  Where, with my LEFT TURN SIGNAL ON, could you possibly have thought I was going?!

And then there was what happened today.  I was near the mall, so maybe I was asking for it.  I mean, you don’t leave your house and head anywhere near the mall during the Christmas shopping season without expecting some lunacy, right?  So I’ve been driving down the street, being tailed by this stupid chick in a mammoth gray SUV.  It was like Jaws sneaking up behind you and then stalking you.  Uncool.  So I’m listening to Nuvi and I have to turn right onto this road and then turn right again.  Unfortunately, the road I need to turn onto is at a standstill because of a red light and the lane I need to be in is completely blocked.  So I get into the only lane I can access, the middle lane, and I put my turn signal on.  The absolute second that traffic starts to move and the lane starts to open up, I start to edge out into the right lane and that freaking SUV comes charging up from nowhere and cuts me off from my turn.


Again I’m sitting, TURN SIGNAL ON, and the car behind me thinks that they can just cut me off.  Listen, if I could have gotten into the lane, wouldn’t I have just done it?  I’m not sitting there for my health.  I’m not sitting there to kill time or to act as YOUR blocker, and yet?  CUT OFF!

Admittedly, it’s been about 8 years since I’ve taken driver’s ed so I don’t know, maybe this is acceptable behavior now.  Maybe this is the cool new thing, maybe people are reverting to elementary school tactics and line-cutting.  Or, maybe, Philly drivers are just kind of jerky.


8 thoughts on “I forgot that this is what driving is like

  1. all northeast drivers are kinda jerky. i know because i’m the jerky northeast driver down here in southern VA : )

    and they’re cutting you off because you “left the door open” as we liked to say in my youth. we’d do it to people All the Time! it was actually fun to risk certain death with people who were more timid on the road. i’m not quite that much of an a-hole driver anymore but i do my share of not letting people into my lane and cursing at people in front of me still : )

  2. Oh man I have turned into such a defensive driver now that I don’t do it regularly. I can barely park or merge without checking any and every possible blind spot.

  3. Most of my driving is done in vehicles from Phillycarshare, which unlike traditional rental cars, don’t even have to last for a full day. It is kill or be killed in Philly. You need to anticipate who will cut you off, and preemptively cut them off. And if they have jersey plates, look out!

  4. Jessica: You know, they *say* it’s like riding a bike, but man, when the bike weighs a ton, it definitely takes some getting used to again!

    Philly: Ah, thankfully I don’t see a lot of Jersey plates in the ‘burbs, otherwise I could see myself getting into some trouble!

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