40 Reasons You Won’t Miss Driving to Work Every Day
As you know from my previous article, I’ve dispensed with the daily commute in favor of the most ancient and proven form of traveling to work – on foot.
To celebrate my one-year anniversary of walking to work, the grocery store, library, barber, and anywhere else within distance, I’ve put together a list of all the things I don’t miss about driving hundreds of hours per year.
40 Reasons You Won’t Miss Driving to Work Every Day
A favorite of speed demons who cannot maneuver around slower traffic. Designed to pressure the straggler into driving faster. Typical targets for tailgating involve anyone traveling slower than the posted speed limit, such as farm vehicles or the elderly. Ironically, these targets are impervious to tailgating.
- Shopping Carts
Left haphazardly in a parking lot, shopping carts pop up unexpectedly in parking spaces and have the potential to become moving hazards if left on a hill or if a stiff wind blows them along. Once moving, an unmanned cart is unpredictable, uninsurable, and unforgiving to the paint scheme of any vehicle that is unfortunate enough to be in its path.
- Cruise Control Jam
Used by those who choose not to accelerate their cruise control setting at all costs, even if it means trapping someone else behind a big truck. While one motorist plugs along happily on cruise control in the slow lane of a two-lane highway, another motorist passes on the passing lane, slowly overtaking the cruiser. A slower vehicle, usually a semi truck, looms ahead in the slow lane, but the passer inches along and forces the cruiser to jam on the brakes and eat the semi’s dust.
- The Six-Lane Hustle
Multiple lanes of traffic are crossed in a last-second attempt to make a nearly missed exit or to occupy a shorter line at a toll entry. Sometimes used by tourists, hopelessly lost in a scramble to follow a map.
- Sideswipe City
An entrance ramp abruptly changes to an exit-only lane. Between these critical junctions, drivers tangle like animals over lane rights.
- Parking Lot Vultures
Roaming the aisles tirelessly in a grid pattern, these drivers search as long as it takes until a driver vacating a parking spot is found. They then “lock on” that spot, discouraging other drivers that threaten their kill with menacing lunges forward. Aggressive behavior intensifies during the holiday season.
- Slingshot Pass
On a curvy single-lane road where the dotted yellow line is scarce, a driver is trapped behind a slow-moving motorist with limited chances for escape. With a promising straight stretch coming around the bend, the driver guns it for a slingshot pass, rocketing past the motorist to either victory or failure.
- Multi-car Pass
On a windy single-lane road and stuck behind a motorist who is reluctant to pass a slow-moving vehicle, the bolder driver attempts to pass both motorists at once. Even bolder attempts may involve passing three or more vehicles.
- Stop Sign Roll-Through
A stop sign is not taken literally and is used more as a cautionary device to slow down at an intersection and check for traffic before proceeding.
- Gridlock Bypass
Traffic congestion causes drivers to squeeze slowly through an intersection with a traffic light. While the light is yellow, last-minute opportunists attempting to clear the light end up trapped in the intersection.
- Intersection Stranding
A turn lane with no green arrow forces an endless yield to oncoming traffic. The driver edges forward to narrow the gap, and as the light turns yellow and a tailgater pulls up, is stranded in the intersection.
- Line Butters
When construction has reduced two lanes to one, an oversized pickup or sports car blazes down the soon-to-be-closed lane until the barricade, then cuts in front of all the drivers in line for the open lane, bogging down everyone else.
- Center Lane Plunge
The center turn lane, a free-for-all where opposite direction traffic dukes it out for yielding supremacy, is used for traffic avoidance and a means to rush an exit before the next surge of traffic is turned loose by a traffic light.
- Slow Lane Hogs
Motorists who remain in the slow lane of a highway for hundreds of miles while traveling well under the posted speed limit. Unaffected by tailgating or hostile tactics. When finally passed, typically appear disheveled with piles of clutter to the roof. Oblivious to all vehicles passing on the right, they remain transfixed in a vegetative state.
- False Signaler
A motorist who leaves the signal on after making a turn and the steering wheel has not been moved far enough in the opposite direction to reset it. False signalers are partially to blame for a loss of confidence in good Samaritans who would normally yield to allow the signaler to merge or turn.
- Blocked Stop Sign
A stop sign that emerges unexpectedly from behind a large shrub, tree, or boxy parked vehicle that is obscuring the view.
- Snow Plow
On unplowed roads, a driver takes the path less traveled and plows through snow and ice in order to pass a conservative motorist in the slow lane on a two-lane highway. As their reward for being slow and cautious, the motorist receives abundant amounts of slushy tire spray, deposited on their windshield from the passing driver.
- Squeeze Players
These motorists move for no one. They particularly enjoy forcing merging drivers on entrance ramps to maneuver around them. Allow no space for those trying to merge onto a congested road or for lane changers. Refuse to make eye contact with drivers who try to demand an explanation by staring at them.
- Swinging Wide
Before making a turn, the motorist veers to the outside of the turn, as though they were driving a semi with a double-trailer. In reality, this has no effect except to infringe on other lanes besides the one the motorist is driving in.
- Last-Second Exit Dive
At the last moment, a motorist wakes up and realizes that an intended exit has nearly been passed. The motorist then decides to drive across the warning track to make the exit, regardless of other traffic.
- Tunnel Vision
While driving behind a large vehicle in an urban environment, all road signs and traffic lights are blocked until the last moment while traffic moves too slow and stops too frequently to allow adequate spacing.
- Road Debris Rash
Motorists following a vehicle such as a quarry truck are struck by small pebbles and dirt clods caught by the wind. A prime suspect for cracked windshields.
- Lazy Lane-Mergers
A slow drift into another lane that can initially be mistaken for drunk driving.
- Double Parking The End Slot
Parking is made at an end space in the lot, slightly over the yellow line. Supposedly, this prevents massively obese persons parked nearby from dinging the vehicle when they swing their doors wide before barging out. Instead, it wastes pavement and forces others to round the block.
- Texting While Driving
A game of chicken between the person texting on the phone and the vehicle as it veers towards moving and stationary obstacles before the texter’s attention returns to the road.
- Door Check
A vehicle door that opens at the critical time a vehicle in the parallel lane passes by. Balances out the advantage of riding scooters or bicycles in the open space between lanes.
- Grate Dip
A grate for drainage on the edge of the road by the curb. When driven over, causes a swerving movement to those without a strong grip on the steering wheel.
- Trailerless Truck
A semi tractor-trailer without the trailer. An overpowered beast of a machine that is driven with wild abandon by truckers who use the unharnessed power as an outlet for pent-up road rage.
- Plastic Bag on Road Sticks to Undercarriage
A loose grocery bag that whirls around the road between traffic sometimes finds its way underneath your vehicle. A glance in the rearview mirror confirms that it has stuck to the undercarriage and probably is melting to the muffler.
- Merge Launch
A driver entering a road from a merge ramp launches onto the road at top speed, limited only by the curve of the entrance ramp. Once on the road, the driver immediately jockeys for position in the far left lane to continue at high speed, sometimes making a clean sweep across every lane.
- Coming Up Fast In The Rear View
Motorists who race up behind you as you turn, trying to anticipate the road will clear and making the assumption that your speed doesn’t slow by the time they arrive.
- No Bike Lane
A lack of safety for cyclists, causing them to pedal madly through the streets as though driving a car by occupying the center of a normal lane.
- The Pace Car
A sole brave individual who disregards the speed limit for long stretches of interstate, bringing a train of otherwise law-abiding motorists who follow in formation like lemmings. The pace car is expected to take the heat for any speed traps triggered in the process.
- Alleyway Escape
Emerging from a narrow alley, the driver turning onto the street from the alleyway must first pass a pedestrian-filled sidewalk. Then, parallel-parked vehicles block the view while a dip between the alley and street beg for a bumper scrape as the driver attempts to pull out.
- Curb Hopping
Too sharp of a turn is made and the rear wheel rides on top of the curb. Often purposely used by delivery truck drivers.
- Shopping Cart Shove
A parking space that seems too good to be true is found to be blocked by an abandoned shopping cart. The gain in finding a closer space is negated by the extra work now required to get out of the vehicle and move it manually, unless the much heavier vehicle is used to displace the offending cart from the parking space.
- Projecting Mailboxes
Leaning precariously into the road, these mailboxes beg for a side mirror to smash into them and help put them out of their misery.
- High Beam Blindings
A motorist who leaves the high beams on and destroys all others’ eye adjustment to darkness.
- SUV Squeeze
A driver, surprised at the good fortune of finding an open parking space, discovers the reason why: two abnormally large vehicles on either side of the open space allow just enough room for parking, but not enough to comfortably open the door to exit. The driver must decide if it is worth trusting the squeezers to open their doors with caution.
- Animal Crossings
Wild animals suddenly find a large strip of pavement in their way traveled by large, heavy metal objects traveling beyond predator speeds. Can cause substantial damage.
Do any of these strike a chord with you? Let me know your experiences!
One of the most interesting side effects of cutting back so much on driving is that when I do drive, I actually enjoy it. However, now I’m romanticizing the thought of driving in a convertible for a summer drive on the same scenic roads I used to cruise on with my sports car (my expensive mistake). In another daydream, I’m driving a sports car through the orange and red foliage of autumn.
How about cruising in a flawless, new Infiniti Q50? The advertisements promise that I’ll be doing nothing but driving the coast of Malibu during sunset with classical music at full blast. Based on the packages available, I’d easily spend $40,000-$50,000 on a new one.
There must be a better way. After a quick search, I found a brand-new Infiniti Q50 for less than $100 for a day’s rental. I can be perfectly content walking to work every day, knowing that if I want to take advantage of a day with beautiful weather, I can take a latest model sports car up to the Great River Road for scenic driving with a few friends and stop for a microbrew.
Therefore, I don’t feel deprived, knowing that I can live the recreational life in that advertisement, but intentionally and for a tiny fraction of the cost.
The moral of the story? Buy utility. My everyday vehicle which I bought for $3,500 eight years ago has a four-wheel drive option to power through our winters with a minimum of trouble. We rented a Chevy Tahoe for our last ski trip and it was perfect for the task at hand, with none of those annoying, persistent red coins.
If you want or can afford luxury, rent it, unless you want to work for the auto lender (The Collector) for the next 5 years as your unofficial employer. Otherwise, most of your paycheck will go directly to them while your life goals and retirement date slip further into the future. Take it from me, I’ve made that mistake already!
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