Rage Against The Road: Volume 2

Here are some more reasons to hate driving.

Way back in 2015, I wrote an article about things that pissed me off while driving. Since then, I’ve not only accumulated 4 more years of experience behind the wheel, but I’ve also switched jobs. Part of my current job entails driving to our company’s other locations to deliver items needed for our patients. I get paid about 48 cents a mile and it gets me out of the shop for a bit, so I always jump at the chance to take these drives.

The downside is, I often find myself on the PA Turnpike or on I-95, both of which are known to be huge Mongolian-style clusterfucks. Highway driving can turn even the most level-headed sane and rational person into an angry violent lunatic. While I’ve calmed down quite a bit over the years (hence the shift from “Angry_Jerk” to “AJ Baker”), I still often find myself getting bouts of road rage.

When I wrote that article back in 2015, I was still fairly new to driving. Now that I have more experience as a driver, I have even more reasons to rage against the road. So without further ado, I present to you Rage Against The Road: Volume 2!

 

1. LED headlights should be fucking banned.

Driving when it’s dark out sucks enough already, especially when the city won’t fix most of its broken street lights. It’s even worse when you have someone coming at you in the opposite lane blasting you in the face with bright headlights. During my early morning drives to work, I often find myself shielding my eyes and having my vision obstructed. In a city where jaywalkers often brazenly walk out in the middle of traffic assuming you will see them and stop because the world revolves around them, this poses a major problem.

It’s also no better having one of these people driving behind you. My rear-view mirror becomes a giant lamp, reflecting the high-powered LED lights right into the corner of my right peripheral vision. If another car with LED lights happens to be coming in the opposite lane? I’m fucked, I literally can’t see. If it’s raining and/or foggy out? I’d be better off blindfolding myself and relying on instinct and muscle memory.

Who decided that these bright LED lights should be street-legal? Did anybody bother to actually take these things out onto the road and test them before green-lighting them? Yes, LED lights last longer and are more eco-friendly. You know what DOESN’T last longer and ISN’T eco-friendly? Me hitting a pedestrian or crashing into another car because I was blinded by needlessly bright headlights. We’re not allowed to tint our windshields, but we can blind other drivers? Lawmakers, fix this.

With that said…

 

2. Headlights exist for a reason.

Overly-bright headlights is a pretty big problem, but a bigger problem are the assholes who drive at night without any headlights on. I shit you not, I was on my way to work the other morning and not only was it dark, but it happened to be raining. During my 10 minute drive I counted at least 5 different people driving without headlights on, and even almost hit someone doing this, who of course had the nerve to throw hand gestures at me like it was my fault.

This is literally one of the first things you learn when you learn how to drive. When it’s dark, turn on your fucking headlights. When it’s raining, turn on your fucking headlights. 

I did some research into this epidemic, and the internet is rife with apologists spewing the same line about lit dashboards and people assuming their lights must be on because their dashboards are lit and we should give them a break and assume only the best of everyone else all of the time. No, fuck you. Can you see five feet in front of you? Yes? Then you can see if your damn headlights are on or not.

Thankfully cars with automatic headlights are becoming the new norm, so this problem should begin to slowly disappear in the next 10-15 years. Like an LED headlight at the end of the tunnel.

 

3. Pennsylvania: A State of Eternal Roadwork

Behold, the official state flag of Pennsylvania:

 

Our official state animal?

 

No, seriously, it’s so bad that during the Rolling Stones’ last visit to Philly, Mick Jagger even made a joke about it. Yes, I’m aware that someone probably told Mick to say that, but the fact that PA has such a reputation for potholes that it was used as material during a Rolling Stones performance is great. Pennsylvania needs a visit from the legendary Wanksy.

The real reason PENNDOT doesn’t take care of the potholes is because they’ve been busy working (READ: Standing around staring at traffic) on the Philly stretch of I-95 for the last century, and intend to continue for another several decades. I took to Twitter to suggest a design for a new sign the Philadelphia corridor stretch:

For some reason my tweet went unanswered…

 

Seriously, who ever heard of doing 45 MPH on an interstate highway? Absolute insanity.

Compared to New Jersey. Say what you will about New Jersey, but during the last 4 months I watched them construct a rest area on I-295 and complete a toll facility on Scudder Falls Bridge (technically this was the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, but still). Meanwhile PENNDOT workers are over here holding their dicks and wasting my tax dollars. Seriously, PENNDOT workers are some of the laziest fucks I’ve ever seen in my life. I look forward to the angry comments from PENNDOT employees who are most likely browsing this site while standing on the side of the road not working.

PENNDOT sucks, our roads suck, construction projects in PA take too damn long.

 

4. People who drive Mercedes, BMWs, and Volkswagens are assholes.

When I’m on the interstate and being tailgated, I’ve come to notice that 9 out of 10 times the car tailgating me is either a Mercedes-Benz, a BMW, or a Volkswagen.

Here I am on I-95 doing 80 in the construction area that says 45 MPH, and it’s apparently not fast enough for the cocky bastard behind me in his Beemer, who is bouncing between lanes like Tigger hopped up on crack. If we were on a city street doing 25-30 I would gladly brake-check this asshole and ruin his day and ride, but only a murderous lunatic would brake-check someone at 80+ MPH (not to say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind). I’m not looking to be responsible for a 10 car pile-up and a possible homicide just because some small-dicked douchebag decided to ride my ass. So I did the next best thing: Slow down and keep pace with the car in the lane next to me. I watched as the BMW ping-ponged humorously between the two open lanes, hoping one of us would speed up so he could get through. Nope, I kept perfect pace with the car next to me, and I suspect that driver also sussed out what was going on and decided to join in the fun with me. The Beemer then attempted to flash his high-beams at me in an attempt to signal me to move out of his way. It was about that time that I noticed my windshield was looking rather dirty, so I deployed a heavy stream of wiper fluid. The Beemer responded with some hand gestures. I responded by turning up my radio and rocking out to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. Poor Beemer got stuck behind me and the other car for 4 miles before the third lane re-opened and he sped past me angrily.

What is it about these cars that attract assholes? I have no idea, but the best advice I can give for when you’re driving on the highway and someone is tailgating you is to spritz them with your wiper fluid. I’m like Clint Eastwood when I’m driving on I-95 with my hand at the ready to dispense a rain of wiper fluid on whoever tries to booty blast my car. Also, I don’t ever remember adding wiper fluid to my car in the 6 years I’ve owned it, so that shit is probably old and nasty. That would also explain why it doesn’t really clean my windows all that well. I should really get around to changing it.

 

5. People who drive pick-up trucks are also assholes.

When it’s not a BMW, a Mercedes, or a VW riding my ass, it’s a pick-up truck. Pick-up truck drivers are great at riding your ass on those long winding backwater roads where you have to watch for deer or slow down because the road is covered in wet leaves. There’s not much you can do here, a brake-check will do more damage to your car than theirs, your wiper fluid probably won’t reach high enough to hit their window, and the pick-up usually has an NRA sticker so he’s probably packing heat. The best course of action for dealing with these high and mighty “Ford Tough” jerks is to just drive slower until they cut across the double lines to angrily pass you and become someone else’s problem.

 

6. Don’t be afraid to pass the cop.

It’s a good thing I’m not a cop, because if I was I’d fuck with people mercilessly.

One of the things I’d do would be to go 35 MPH on a 45 MPH road and laugh as traffic backs up behind me because everyone’s too chickenshit to pass me.

I understand not blowing past the cop if the cop is doing the speed limit, but when the cop is doing below the speed limit it’s okay to slowly pass him. Hell, in Philly it’s probably okay to pass him if he’s going the speed limit since he’s most likely on his way to lunch or something. In a city where nobody uses turn signals or feels compelled to obey stop signs, there’s no need to be afraid to slowly pass a cop doing less than the posted speed limit.

 

7. Black teenagers are suicidal.

“*GASP* That’s RACIST, AJ!”

No, it’s not.

I’m not sure what it is, but in major cities people love to just walk right out in front of traffic and dawdle their way across the street, daring the oncoming cars to hit them. In Philadelphia, I’ve come to notice that the large majority of people that do this are black teenagers.

I understand the whole “Gonna take my good ol’ time crossing the street” thing that black people like to do, I’ve had friends explain this one to me plenty of times over the years. It’s a way of posturing, of exerting control or dominance over the people in cars. 9.9 out of 10 times they know they’re not in any danger doing this at the crosswalk, because nobody in their right mind is going to plow through the intersection and hit a pedestrian no matter how slow they’re walking. What I don’t understand, and probably never will since none of my friends are stupid enough to walk out into the middle of traffic, is why someone would do this on a busy road where cars are going 30+ MPH. They don’t even run, they just brazenly step out right in front of you and begin dawdling their way lazily across the street, giving you a look that says “What?” Teenagers are stupid, everyone knows this. Apparently in the 15 years that have passed since I was a teenager it’s only gotten worse. Do black teenagers hate their lives or something?

Before you say “I’m black and I don’t do this, you’re making a racist generalization of all black people everywhere in the world!” or start screaming “NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE”, consider that you’re an idiot who didn’t comprehend my point, which was not that all black people do this, but that in my experience black teenagers are the biggest offenders in this instance. Stupidity is color-blind.

And no, white people do not get any kind of pass here either. In fact, white teenagers piss me off even more, because they always without fail accompany this with a huge smirk directly at you. On more than one occasion I’ve had groups of white kids on bikes try to play chicken with me or purposely block the intersection so I can’t cross. I have brought myself within an inch of a kid’s bike, and have also done drive-by slappings on idiots like these.

 

8. School buses are a public nuisance.

If I had to condense this list to the top 5 things that piss me off about driving, school buses and their entitled drivers would be in my top 3 for sure.

There are fewer things worse than getting stuck waiting for a school bus to load or unload children. I could write an entire article on why I hate school buses and still have material left over for a future article.

One time I had the misfortune of getting stuck behind a school bus on a one-way street. The bus threw its sign and blinkers on, and sat there. I expected a kid or two to come running up and the bus to be on its way. Two minutes later, nothing. The bus is still blocking off traffic, and I couldn’t even go around it because it was a narrow one-way street with parked cars on both sides. 4 minutes, I finally begin honking my horn. I see the driver in her mirror throwing her hands up making gestures. So I leaned on my horn and held it steady. Finally, after a total of 6 minutes, some lady exits an apartment with a 10 year old crippled boy. They take their good old time getting onto the bus, and the bus (most likely angered by my honking) took its good old time moving on. I spent almost 10 fucking minutes sitting behind a bus because some stupid bitch couldn’t get her kid to the bus stop on time. I don’t give two fucks if he was cripple, we’re expected to treat crippled people just like anyone else so this kid’s mother gets no pass from me. Get your kid to the damn bus stop on time. I’ve never heard of a bus waiting 6 minutes for someone, every person I know who took a school bus was fucked if the bus got to the stop and they weren’t there.

More recently, I got to a 4-way intersection where a bus was to my left. I watched as the two brats got on the bus and found their way to their seats. Then I waited. After a minute I got tired of waiting and went, to a cacophony of angry drivers and the bus itself honking their horns at me for my “impatience”. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever the bus needed to tie up traffic in all directions when picking up the two kids. The kids were on the sidewalk, the bus was pulled up right next to them. They didn’t even have to step into the street to get on the bus. What did the driver think was going to happen? One of the kids would go to step onto the bus, suddenly scream “SIKE! I’M NOT GOING TO SCHOOL TODAY!”, then run screaming like a retard into the middle of the intersection?

I understand stopping traffic when the bus is letting off multiple kids who are going in various directions, you’re allowing them to cross the street safely. There is zero reason to stop traffic in all directions when you’re picking up children curbside.

Another thing that really pisses me off about these big yellow abominations is when they’re parked on residential streets. Everything I’ve read everywhere says that most school bus drivers are required to take their bus back to the depot when they’re not picking up or dropping off kids. Some drivers do field trip runs during this time, others use the time to clean at the depot. Apparently in Philly bus drivers are allowed to take their bus home with them and park it on the street, usually in places that obstruct the view of oncoming traffic. I mentioned this sort of thing before in the last article, putting the focus mostly on panel vans. I actually found a picture on my computer that I took several years ago to illustrate my point about school buses parking on corners and blocking the view of traffic:

WHY THE FUCK IS THIS LEGAL?!

 

This was taken at a three-way intersection where I had a stop sign but oncoming traffic did not. Behind this bus were several other parked cars, making it impossible to see if there was oncoming traffic before heading out into the intersection. I have almost been t-boned multiple times at this intersection because of this asshole and his/her bus. During my time living on that street I never figured out who owned it, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t because I may have been tempted to park my foot at the corner of their ass.

 

9. You do NOT have to come to a complete stop to make a right-hand turn.

Time after time I find myself behind some asshole who feels that they have to come to a complete stop before they make a right-hand turn. Why? You weren’t going 60 MPH, you’re not going to flip your car making a controlled turn at 10-15 MPH. All you have to do is slow down before you make the turn, not come to a complete and almost sudden stop.

This one is usually accompanied with not signalling the turn, which I mentioned in the last article. Instead of another rant about this, enjoy a hilarious meme instead:

 

10. Hispanic people do stupid shit to their cars.

What’s up with Hispanic people doing stupid shit to their cars?

I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Every single day I have to endure not one, not two, but countless idiots rolling around the neighborhood aimlessly with fart-can mufflers, obnoxiously-chrome rims, tinted windows, and a sound system that literally shakes my house from 4 blocks away. This of course all built into their 2006 Chevy Blazer or their ’97 Honda Civic hatchback that usually has bumper damage and a blown-out headlight.

I already mentioned the assholes I’ve dubbed “Burrito Patrol” in my “Generic advice for generic idiots with insomnia” article (specifically under #3, the one about meditating), so I’ll instead talk about some neighbors I call “La Familia”.

La Familia shows up to one of the houses across my alleyway every weekend. There are four of them, younger Hispanic guys. They all drive the same make and model of car (I’ve never cared enough to see exactly what make and model they are to be honest) with the same white plastic rims and the same god-awful blue window tint that looks like the tint you’d see on a pair of cheap aviator sunglasses. The only difference is the color of their cars.

The reason I call them “La Familia” is because they all also have the same stupid-looking decal on the bottom of their front windshields that says “LA FAMILIA” with a little golden crown on top of it.

I’ve never been a fan of window decals at all, they look trashy and stupid 10 out of 10 times. That’s just my opinion, so fuck me, who the fuck cares, right? My REAL issue with this “LA FAMILIA” decal is how incredibly stupid it is as a concept. Essentially, what these guys have done is plaster “THE FAMILY” on their windshields. I don’t understand, is it suddenly cool and acceptable because it’s in Spanish? If someone drove around with “THE FAMILY” written across their windshield accented with a crown, everybody would (rightfully) laugh at them and call them dorks. These clowns get a pass just because it’s in another language? Bullshit.

Hispanic people aren’t the only ones who do stupid shit to their cars though…

 

11. So do white people.

I’m looking squarely at the dweebs who put antlers and a red nose on their car around Christmas time. You look like fucking retards, knock it off already. Women are the biggest offenders on this one. If my girlfriend ever put antlers and a red nose on her car I’d dump her ass in a heartbeat and go bang my neighbor that looks like a thick version of Maya Rudolph.

I’m also looking at the guy I see with the beat-ass Dodge Dakota who has the words “My True Love” across the front of his car. You’re worse than La Familia.

 

12. Don’t switch over to the right lane at the on-ramp.

Nothing like having a clear shot to merge onto I-95 only for some douchebag to decide to switch over from the left lane right as I come off of the on-ramp. Typical highway etiquette is to move over to the left lane when you see traffic approaching from the on-ramp, but not for this asshole. He needs to get over into the right lane, and he needs to get over right the fuck now. He also needs to have his license revoked before he causes a deadly high-speed collision with his oblivious and obnoxious behavior.

 

Have driving experiences or things other drivers do that piss you off? Share in the comments, I love reading that shit.