People Scare Me

Taking Boy to school today, I came up behind a car with his left-turn signal on, in the left lane.  He was going about 25 in a 45.  No problem, there’s a service station coming up…he’s probably about to turn in.

Nope.  Passed right by it.  Still crawling about 20 below the limit.  Cars are whizzing by to the right.

Then I notice something – he’s busily punching at a GPS unit at the corner of his windshield.  So busily punching at it, in fact, that he didn’t notice the light ahead of him turn yellow, as he’s ambling toward it at 25 mph.

I braked early, leaving a few car lengths ahead of me and wincing in preparation for the sound of screeching tires.

Sure enough, he noticed…as he entered the intersection on the red light.  He stopped, WAY out into traffic, and considered his options before noticing that I’d left him a ton of room to back out of the intersection.  So he did so.  All the while punching at his GPS and staring at the seat next to him, where I guess his directions or the address of the place he was looking for were sitting.

I sat there, thinking to myself:  “What a moron.  He’s still a little out in the intersection and there’s still more room for him to back up, but I’m glad he’s not doing it, considering that he still hasn’t taken his car out of reverse.  $20 says that when the light turns green, he hits the gas before realizing that.”

I was right.

Luckily he realized it quickly, and wasn’t in such a hurry that he stomped the accelerator when the light changed.  Otherwise I would have been wearing a Civic as a hood ornament.

The way cleared and I finally went around him on the right as he continued to buzz along at 25 mph, paying no attention whatsoever to anything other than his GPS and whatever was laying in his passenger seat.

Ugh.

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5 Responses

  1. GAH. I’ve seen that sort of thing happen around here all the time – people inch out into the intersection on a green light, hoping to turn left, then the light changes and they find themselves in a full-on red while they’re hanging out in the middle of the road. So they back up, back into the turn lane, and sit there still in reverse, then JAM on it when the green arrow shows up, go backwards abruptly, and either hit the car behind them or narrowly miss it – ONLY because the car behind them did what you did, and left a ton of room between them.

    Just too busy thinking about something other than what they’re doing.

    One of the early lessons you learn as a motorcyclist (thank you, Dave Hough) – Imagine the stupidest or most homicidally aggressive thing the motorist nearest you could do, and expect him/her to do it.

  2. Idiots.

    Some luxury cars with built-in GPS systems won’t let you input information if the car’s in drive. This seems stupid if you have a passenger who can input info safely as you’re tooling along, but it’s still better than the situation you described.

    I hadn’t thought about that. I’ve really only ever used a GPS as a tool for geocaching and occasionally a super-accurate speedometer, so I wouldn’t know.

    I’d expect that, like many things, they’re perfectly safe when not used by idiots – and yet it’s not possible to prevent them from falling into idiot hands.

  3. The stupidity of humankind, especially while driving, never ceases to amaze me. (Says the girl who rammed a state employee in his bumper a few weeks ago – yeah!) But that reminded me of a bit George Carlin used to do about that EXACT scenario…and when he got to the part about hitting the gas while in reverse, I literally wet my pants, like had to go in my room and change them. I was young, but could picture it perfectly.
    And today you lived it.

    I was thinking about that George Carlin bit at the time. “Something else you gotta watch for when you’re driving…the other drivers. Look! Here’s a woman backing out of a bush!”

  4. People are dumb, but at least you recognized that and prepared yourself for it.

    Again, motorcycling teaches you to anticipate stupidity.

    Another hint from a biker: watch out for poorly-maintained cars. People who don’t give a crap about their vehicle are somewhat more likely to not give a crap in general.

  5. Way to pay attention…think of all of the time it would have taken to fix your vehicle. Even if it was his fault. And you and your boy get to laugh at the dummy.

    I didn’t call his attention to it. If I’d spoken out loud, it would have been peppered with profanity.

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