What’s the Rush?

July 18, 2008

It seems as though traffic is getting worse with every passing day. People are impatient. We need to get places, and we need to get there now. Never mind that we left the house a little bit late; what’s with the traffic holding us up? What kind of stupid driver drives that slowly when its a 70 zone? And for the love of God, is it entirely necessary that such-and-such a driver cuts me off/doesn’t turn on their signal/beeps the horn/screeches on the brakes/makes ridiculously wide or tight turns?

Driving has lost its pizazz and finesse. It’s now a frustration of daily life; the art has been crudely taken out as everyone steers wildly and seemingly forgets the simple courtesies of the road. And every driver has something to complain about, between gas prices and construction work on the street and lights burning out and other drivers on the road- we’re all a cranky bunch (although not in a good Cranky Fitness kind of way- maybe if we had a cupcake we’d be a friendly cranky bunch, too?).

There’s a few things that I don’t really understand about driving, most of which are things which I myself am guilty of as well:

I don’t understand why we all speed. It’s not worth it; you might get to your destination about a minute earlier but you’ve also likely endangered the lives of yourself and everyone else in the street. Not only that, but theres a good chance you’ve racked up yourself a nice littleBIG speeding ticket.

I don’t understand why we creep forward when the lights haven’t changed. For bikers, I can understand- you want to get ahead of the traffic and not slow down any drivers who might be turning in your direction (and if there’s no one driving crossways from you, then theres no chance of getting hit or in the way so its really to everyones benefit if you get a little head start before the vehicle traffic). But for drivers? Why do you creep forward? You’re not saving yourself time because you’re going to get caught at another light or get stuck behind another car. It’s not a race with the person in the lane beside you. Trust me, their little sports car can outdo what you’ve got. And you’d better believe it can, because if they can afford that luxury sports car then they can also afford the hefty speeding tickets that come along with the showing off (unless you bought your sports car as the result of a midlife crisis and can’t really afford the car- but then, you’re probably not the type of person to go about racing your car).

I don’t understand why we all hate bikers and pedestrians. Sure, sometimes they get in the way, but sometimes they can’t help it. We’ve got to share the road with everyone, and pedestrians do have the right of way- so don’t snarl at them just because they’re crossing the street. Remember that they’re dealing with weather conditions, whereas you’re in your fancy car with air conditioning/heat/a roof.

I don’t understand why we all hate other drivers. Oh wait. It’s because we all drive like idiots.

I don’t understand why we all drive like idiots. Why the road rage? Why the incessant need to get places NOWNOWNOW? Why the lack of gratitude waves and turning signals? Why the excessive horn honking and rude gesturing and exasperated complaints?

Everyones in a rush. Why don’t we all slow down and take a time out? Instead of rushing your way through traffic, weaving in and out of cars and muttering under your breath like a crazy person, watch the speed limit and drive it. Stop at stop signs and lights. Follow the rules of the road and let people go in front of you like the friendly, generous person you are. And if someone gives you one of their dirty, pissed-off looks, smile and wave cheerily. Because you’re not going to be putting anyones life in danger, and you’re not going to be getting into an accident. And because you’re driving carefully and safely, you’ve likely got the good sense to leave a couple minutes earlier so you’ll make it to where you want to be on time.

It’s pretty easy. Be polite and courteous to your fellow drivers, to pedestrians and bikers, to officers and tow truck people, to wildlife crossing the street. Don’t drive under the influence (its appalling how many people put everyone at risk in this stupid way). Don’t multi-task with reading maps/eating food/texting on the cell phone.

Then again, we’re a cranky bunch, us drivers. So if its possible, the best way to avoid all of the above silliness is to simply avoid driving! Get in a little exercise, save money and/or lend the environment a helping hand by taking a bike, public transit, or walking. The time it takes to bike/bus/walk won’t be that much longer when you factor in the slowness of traffic and difficulty in finding a parking spot. And you’ll even get the added benefit of not needing to deal with the stress of driving a vehicle. Now that is the way to do it!


  1. Generally speaking, I have discovered that the courtesy of other drivers is inversely proportional to the LACK of courtesy exhibited on my part. In other words, the nicer I am to other drivers, the nicer they are to me.

  2. Haha, bad morning? I agree that most drivers are jackasses. I try very hard to be courteous and patient. It usually works. 🙂

  3. This is exactly why the Bag Lady prefers to stay “down on the ranch” – she doesn’t have to deal with all that traffic! Unfortunately, she can’t always stay home, so she tries very hard to be courteous (and to avoid “rush hour” as much as possible!)

  4. Even in “MN Nice” we have crazy drivers. Either a teleport machine is invented or we all start taking public transportation 🙂

  5. Georgene- thanks for reading! And you might be right about that to some extent, but then, if we all showed courtesy, then there’d be no lack of it on the road. …but I guess thats sort of the idea with world peace and all too:P

    Robin- hehe actually no, my walk to work was quite uneventful! But I’ve just been seeing so much bad driving lately that I can’t help shaking my head at it. I used to love driving; now I do everything I can to avoid being the driver.

    Bag Lady- ooh, the dreaded rush hour. I grew up in a small town so my idea of “rush hour” was very skewed… then we tried the whole driving in Paris thing. AHAHA. Now that is some serious rush hour!

    Mark- a teleport machine would be nice! Maybe amongst your gadget findings you’ll discover something similar? 🙂

  6. I agree finding alternative transportation but unfortunately that’s not always possible and driving is a part of my daily life. I have to say I have noticed that people out here have definetly slowed down. No longer do I see people whipping past me at the speed of light. And for the most part drivers out my way are pretty polite. Maybe I’m just the lucky one or just oblivious to everyone elses frustrations.

  7. Goodness knows I have my short-tempered moments — and they’re usually about silly things — but really, I can’t believe the amount of road rage some people display.

    What is up with that?

  8. I love when people rush ahead of you only to stop at the next red light. It really doesn’t make any sense.

  9. Oh man. I am so. guilty. I’m always always running late. I blame my children. I’m not an agressive driver per se, I don’t tailgate or scream or anything, but I am one of those light creepers…. And I pass a lot. Eek.

  10. Yeah, my pet peeve is the red light creeping. Wait, also when cars overtake you only to slow down after passing. And when…

    I still like to drive – long distance, mainly – but I’m kinda chill these days. It’s easy when you have a five year old in the back, I suppose.

  11. I find that I react to all this by being uber courteous (waving people into my lane etc) which only serves to irritate the IRRITATED more.


  12. We are all in an enormous rush to get nowhere. Work will be there when we get there. Same thing for homes, appointments, stores, etc. Everyone needs to slow down and pay attention. If it means staying off the cell phone or not putting on your makeup then maybe that’s what needs to happen!

  13. Big Girl- it IS unfortunate when alternative transportation isn’t an option… when I used to commute from my town into the city the bus schedule wasn’t great so I had to drive all the time. I’m jealous of your polite drivers:)

    Dara- thats the funny thing, it usually is about the most ridiculous things that people get upset over.

    Running Knitter- that happened this morning while I was on my bike! I caught up to this one car three times when it got stopped by stop signs.

    Charlotte- hence why I don’t like to drive, because I become exactly what I don’t like. Its like a weird driving disease; seems to happen to everyone!

    Dee- having a kid in the back would certainly make a person slow down! Thanks for commenting:)

    MizFit- I love dealing with it that way. Its too much fun.

    Crystal- you’re absolutely right. All of those other things can surely wait the 30 seconds extra that it’ll take to get to a place safely.

  14. I was nearly run over in a grocery store parking lot. (Mizfit will know which one) When I showed my displeasure the woman BLEW her horn at me! I was very close to going to jail that day, but I was hungry. I don’t get it, why the rush?
    Wait..Robin nailed it, jackasses!

  15. If we all resorted to walking or biking or public transportation, we’d probably eventually end up in the same rut. Elbowing others out of the way to be the first in the crosswalk–that sort of thing. 🙂

    I’m with others in the ‘kill them with kindness’ method. It makes me feel good and quite often makes the other one feel like an idiot.

  16. Love2befit- goodness, such road rage! Them parking lots can be dangerous places.

    Cammy- theres a perspective I hadn’t thought of before! Thats true, maybe the rage wouldn’t diminish if we all started biking/walking/busing. But kindness is an awesome “weapon”:)

  17. Amen! It’s really bad in the D.C. area, where 1/2 of the roads are constantly under construction. I cannot stand people who do not get that pedestrians do have the right of way in a crosswalk!!!

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