This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life

Driving as a Contact Sport

  • September 21, 2016 1:53 am

woman-in-car

Florida is unique in many ways— with a sub tropical climate that makes snowfall a rarity, miles of beautiful beaches, talking rodents dressed in jackets and bow ties which attract thousands of tourists every year, a large population of older people, and the worst drivers anywhere! I have identified the drivers of Florida as an unusual species hereafter referred to as Driver Floridanus.

It seems that when folks in Florida turn the key in the car’s ignition, all civility and common sense are left at home. Once a Floridian hits the roads, it’s every man or every woman for him/herself.

It’s not uncommon to be passed on the right—even if there are stripped lines prohibiting driving in that lane. I’ve even seen cars use turning lanes to pass other cars. Sometimes, drivers create new passing lanes from nowhere.

One of my favorite maneuvers of the Driver Floridanus is to speed maniacally down a highway until coming within a hair’s breadth of the bumper of the car in front, and then pulling into the passing lane abruptly. Apparently the object is to see how many heart attacks can be induced by this delightful maneuver.

Another fun habit of the Driver Floridanus is to exceed the speed limit on two lane highways by at least 20 miles per hour. Now I’m not talking about freeways, thruways, or interstates—I mean dark, rural roads that have one lane on each side with no median between.

Another characteristic of the Driver Floridanus is his/her inability to use turn signals. I know that the turn signals on my car work and that I am physically capable of turning them on. But, I’m not a native Floridian, so perhaps I was not born with the genetic inability to use turn indicators like the Driver Floridanus. Hopefully some research will be conducted at one of the universities located in the state to isolate the gene that causes this problem.  Perhaps, a vaccine can be developed to cure it.

Then again, it is dangerous to use your turn indicators here. By using turn indicators, it marks you are a wimp, so your attempts to change lanes become a challenge to the Driver Floridanus. In order to cure you of that sissy habit, the Driver Floridanus will make every effort to obstruct your attempts to change lanes, even to the point of not allowing you to turn into your own driveway or street.  If by some stroke of luck, you do make a lane change, the Driver Floridanus punishes you by tailgating your car, and then passing you at speeds usually reserved for Daytona Speedway while flipping you “the bird.”

And don’t even try to get out of a side road unless there’s a traffic light at the corner, because the Driver Floridanus will not, under any circumstances, allow another car into traffic ahead of him/her.

So, be forewarned! If you choose to move here, be prepared to never again seen a turn indicator flashing, to be allowed to make a lane change, or to drive at a prudent speed. Update your will and get your affairs in order, so you drive to the supermarket.

Florida has beautiful beaches, terrific Theme Parks, plenty of historical sites—which you will enjoy—if you survive the trip!

10 Comments

  1. Marge Weldy says:

    Kathy, I think anyone who has been in this region of Florida just a few months can really relate to this blog. During my first year here I was cut off behind CVS, where the road narrows from 1 to 2 lanes, by a speeding white car. I honked my horn. Next think I knew, the unmarked highway patrol car’s lights were flashing in front of me! I was furious! I pulled over and the patrolman yelled at me for honking at him. He said, “You could be shot around here for doing something like that.” I kid you not, those were his chastising words to me. From then on I just started to mutter to myself, “goes with the territory.”

    • Kathy says:

      I remember years ago deciding that I was taking my life into my hands if I reacted to another driver’s stupidity here for that very reason.

  2. Barbara Herman says:

    One thing that really bothers me is that so many drivers do not turn their headlights on when it’s raining. These numbskulls think they don’t need to turn on their headlights because they can see without them. They forget that other drivers can not SEE THEM in the rain. Plus, it’s the law to put headlights on when it’s raining. I’ve even seen police cars driving without their lights on. Are we the only ones obeying the laws??

    • Kathy says:

      My understanding is that it is illegal to drive in the rain without lights on–and that is now the law in other states. But nothing surprises me about driving here.

  3. Ginger Allain says:

    I attributed the dreadful driving around Orlando to the large presence of tourists unfamiliar with the roads. There’s a lot of foreign tourists too plus quite a few elderly drivers who may manage OK in a small town traffic but not out on the open road. It is dangerous out there.

  4. Donna Piche says:

    Aren’t indicator lights, traffic signs and lights only suggestions? LOL!

  5. jo ann bohart says:

    GREAT article!!!!

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