Tuesday, May 17, 2005

You're Driving me Mad (muahahahahahaha)

I'll understand perfectly if you just skip over this post, because everybody has their own road peeves (things that other drivers do that drive them crazy). This is my cathartic experience for driving in Calgary.

First off, I should mention that I like driving in Calgary - for a big (by Cdn standards) city, traffic flows well, road rage is very low, roads are well-planned, scenic, etc. If anything, people out here are a little too polite and cautious.

For example, Calgary has got to be the nicest city in the world in which to merge - if there are two or even three lanes that narrow to fewer lanes, it's understood that we'll just take turns letting people in, every second vehicle. Where it grates on me is where a sign will announce "construction, 1 km ahead; right lane ends" - most of us (a little sheep-like, admittedly), merge right away out of the right lane - however, a few drive in the right lane right up to the merging pylons, and, kind drivers they are, Calgarians will let them in, every second car; no matter that they just jumped the 4 km line that I'm diligently waiting in. Ok, this one has an easy solution - I just need to stay in the right lane myself, right?

Calgarians also like to slow down for school zones and playground zones, which is great - except when it's 7 in the morning, 90 minutes before they come into effect (my first 'issue' I encountered this morning). I'm not sure what those drivers are thinking as I'm inches behind their bumper, encouraging them to go faster than 30 km/hr. They see me there, and think, "I'll teach that yahoo a lesson, I'll slow down to 20 km/hr". Teach me indeed. I know somebody who actually passes them as though on the highway when they drive thusly (which infuriates them, I hear)(and wouldn't recommend).

People who ride their bikes on the road are another grain of sand in my shoe. Sure, it's great you're being healthy, getting exercise, not polluting, yada yada yada. Just please get out of my way if you're going to bike 25 km/hr! Eventually, everybody behind the biker slows down and passes said biker by skootching over to the other lane (effectively making a 2 lane road into a 1 laner). There should be a law against this.

Last thing that's got my shorts in a bind are the intersection cameras, mostly for red light runners. I admit, I've been caught once by such a beastly invention - although it's not (just) because of this fact that I loathe them. They change how I think about driving, and not for the better. When I'm approaching an intersection that has one of these cameras, I start to think differently. I don't think, "How should I be driving right now?"; I switch to, "Whatever it takes, I won't get photo'd by the camera," which, surprisingly, makes for less pleasant experiences for all in the immediate environment. For example, if there is the slightest chance of being in the intersection during even a yellow light, the people behind me had better have good brakes, because I'm not taking that chance. I think these intersection cameras lack the judgement of an actual officer who would have to decide if what I did was the safest course of action - and automatically handing out a ticket based on a picture is not the best way to promote the safest driving.


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