Idiots on Wheels \\RANT ON

I had to drive into DC yesterday to a client site. The drive home was hell on wheels. Why? Because approximately 1/5 the morons on the road were too freaking stupid to turn their headlights on, another 1/4 had their freaking highbeams on, and about 1/3 think that you turn on your turn-signal AFTER you’ve already begun the turn.

I almost had an accident last night — why? Because I got blinded by 2 cars with their highbeams on (one sane driver with regular headlights between them — so it was blinded, see, blinded in quick succession) and almost ended up slamming into the butt end of the car in front of me who didn’t have his lights on at all on a dark, heavily trafficked street. And it’s not just in this area that I’ve seen these issues — EVERYWHERE I DRIVE there are morons who don’t know when to turn their headlights on, and when to turn their freaking highbeams on or off.

How stupid does someone have to be to have their highbeams on when it’s foggy? Very freaking stupid. Highbeams don’t help in fog, the fog reflects it back in the driver’s face and it’s HARDER TO SEE in the fog with highbeams on….. but you see it all the time, people who turn their high beams on in fog or heavy snow…. not only does that create glare for the driver, it creates issues for other drivers on the road.

So let’s go over a few things about headlights, highbeams and foglights….. I drive through mountains at night often enough that when I was looking at cars immediately ruled out any that didn’t have foglights. I’ve come to the conclusion that all cars should have them at this point — they don’t cost that much and even if you don’t regularly encounter fog or blizzard conditions — when you do they are a huge help.

1. If it’s raining out, or the sun is setting — TURN YOUR FREAKING HEADLIGHTS ON… NOT your dang-blasted highbeams, just your headlights …. more accidents happen at dusk that at any other time of day — and usually with cars that don’t have their headlights on involved.

2. If there is a car driving in front of you, or coming from the other direction and you have your highbeams on — TURN YOUR DANG-BLASTED HIGHBEAMS OFF. You’re at riskof blinding the other driver(s) and causing an accident…. an accident you may, or may not, actually be involved in yourself. Your highbeams can not only temporarily blind someone coming in your direction, they can blind the driver in front of you by reflecting back on them through their rear-view window. Don’t be a dangerous accident-causing jack-ass, if you aren’t on some back road with no one else around, leave the damn HIGHBEAMS OFF.

3. If it’s foggy out, or you’re in a blizzard — HIGHBEAMS WON’T HELP YOU, infact they’ll make your visibility worse. Turn your headlights on, and foglights if you have them (if you don’t have them, consider getting them… please for everyone’s good — and no, I do not have stock in a foglight company), and slow down to a level reasonable to your visibility level — if you can only see 10 feet in front of you, then drive at a speed at which you can come to a stop in 10 feet (take road conditions into account). It’s better to arrive late than not arrive at all (I know, it’s an oldy…. but it’s still damn true)

Luckily last night, even though the guy in front of me didn’t have his lights on — the car in front of him that was trying to make a left-hand turn was able to make the turn and at the sound of the screetch of my brakes the driver in front of me had good enough reflexes that they were able to gun it pulling forward and I was able to avoid a collision….. or THEY were able to avoid a collision…. I think I’d have been about 6″ short on my breaking and would have connected had they not pulled forward.

In broad daylight there are enough idiots on wheels out there to make life scary. I had my 14 year old nephew up from TX over the weekend. I was driving him around DC and playing tourguide. We were driving up 14th street when a cab in the right-hand lane saw 2 women hailing a cab on the other side of the road and cut in front of me,slamming to a stop diagonal to the roadway and blocking 2 lanes. I slammed on my brakes but had no way to go around him because of traffic in the other lanes. Luckily the beetle really does have quick stopping ability. The 2 women who were hailing a cab? The morons actually got in his…. I’ve had drivers do stupid stuff like that when I’ve been hailing a cab — and I tell them I won’t ride with anyone who drives like that and to just move it along. Actually, a few times I’ve gone “are you freaking nuts?!?!?!? I’m not riding with someone who drives like that! I don’t have a death wish.”

//RANT OFF…. for now anyway.