Dear Houston drivers,
Please head to your nearest department of motor vehicles and pick up a copy of the Texas Driver’s Handbook. Because for a bunch of people who must spend half of their waking lives in the car, ya’ll can’t drive for shit.
And before you blast me, I’m not alone in saying this. It’s been documented. And before your lazy, ignorant driving kills someone, I want you to take some notes.
I’m not sure what the worst offenses are. Between the constant texting instead of watching the road or your abuse of the left lane, I’m lucky I’m alive to write this post. A special hello to the lady who came to a complete stop in the middle of the road the other day because she needed to mess around with something in her passenger seat. There’s no respect for the motorway down here. Maybe it stems from the fact that the roads themselves are hazards. The lane lines on some of the freeways have been painted over so many times that you can’t really tell where you’re supposed to be. Maybe you swerved into my lane to avoid that giant hole in the pavement that could have knocked out your alignment or given you a flat tire. Okay, okay. I’ll give you that one.
If anyone from out of state is coming to brave it on our Texas roads, be aware of the way the rules change once you hit the Houston city limits:
Left is right and right is left.
The speeders are all in the two righthand lanes while the left lane is reserved for the elderly man going 45mph and looking like he accidentally wandered onto the freeway after about a decade hiatus. Or the lady just cruising along at 50mph with the parade behind her because, hey, it’s easier to hang out over there than brave the speeding, weaving mess going on over in the right lanes. Other people in the left lane may have shifted over so they can slow down to make that very important phone call. Or you’ve got the guy who’s just a jerk and does not want to let you pass, marshalling the road and giving you the finger when you give him a quick move over toot or flash of the high beams. All of this makes it very difficult and dangerous to effectively overcome the next rule.
Nobody knows who has the right of way.
In good-driver-land, traffic moving from the left lanes to the right lanes, or entering and exiting the freeway, has the right of way (pp. 23-24). This is for safety reasons, people, not because some of us decided that our way is just “better.” It would make sense that the people who need to exit the freeway should be able to easily do so, right? It goes like this: I’m in a left or middle lane and see my exit coming up. I put my turn signal on and attempt to change into the slower lanes to the right, eventually making it safely to my exit. The fact that I’m going faster in the left lane than those people to the right of way make this maneuver both safe and possible. Wrongo! Don’t forget rule #1: people are doing 80 in the right lanes. So when you’re stuck behind Mr. Jerk-Face, cruising along at 50 in the fast lane, it’s impossible to get over. Swear and honk all you like. Those bull’s balls hanging from the back of the guy’s bumper are a big old “f’ you…I’M THE MAN…YE-AH. No way you’re getting in front of ME. You just keep driving an exit or two out of the way and YOU LIKE IT!!!”
Nobody is paying attention.
Don’t take it personally. Mr. Jerk-face probably doesn’t even know you’re there. He’s either on the phone, texting or has his stereo cranked up so loud he’s oblivious to the world. It’s just him and his left lane. Vast. Free. Empty. Nobody else on the road. Same goes for that teenage girl who’s about to veer into your lane. She thinks she’s mastered the art of texting and driving at the tender age of 16. And that car in front of you that just slammed on its brakes for no reason? Don’t mind that either – the driver just needed to turn around and yell at his kids for a minute.
The biggest beast on the road wins.
You may have seen my post on little monster trucks. Yeah. Even those with SUVs have no chance against these guys. The only thing that can beat them are the Hummers. You can’t see around them, you can’t pass them and you can’t get away from them in this fair state. And if one mashes you it’s game over. So just steer clear as best as you can and try to find safety in the middle lanes.
Never, ever signal your intentions.
Of course you know you’re getting off at the next exit. And you’ve put your phone down and have three lanes to cross in a hurry. Signaling is for suckers. Just cut off the guy in the lane to your right at the last minute (hey, he was speeding anyway!). Then repeat until you get there. Yes, you definitely have room to squeeze in between the side rail and that car in the exit only lane. Just in the nick of time. Remember to go flying off the freeway and cut across the frontage road lanes quickly without looking. It’s the Texas way.
What’s your favorite place to drive?