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Driving Ping Crazy … Wi-Fi Road Warriorness

August 25th, 2015 · Tags:Arts · Satire

THAI Legs Tuk Tuk

One of the most alarming statistics of this society is the lack of two-parent homes. I won’t get into the demographics of who’s who, race, gender, etc. … suffice to say, someone in the home is not teaching people how to drive. Being outspoken most of the time and on the road all the time, I often offer free, unsolicited advice to these mobile misfits. … Always willing to generously pass on some knowledge … one-on-one in traffic, complete with hand gestures, if that’s what it takes.

But until I open a technical school for simultaneous driving, texting, selfies and blogging … I guess I will have to just post my thoughts on the Web to really reach the masses. If that driving school does materialize, we already have our first fundraiser planned to raise money for the end of school trip. We will sell bumperstickers that say, “IF God intended for liberals to vote, he would have given them the ability to drive to the polls.” Ha … put that on your Prius (if it’ll fit). I digress …

One of the reasons I hope I can enlighten drivers is road rage. We hear about it every day — that some pickup truck followed a mini-van and did something inappropriate and mean. Funny that the mini-van always has time to get out the camera phone. Kind of makes you wonder who started it all. But … by all means, we are rational here at The Ping … and we emphatically believe there is NEVER an excuse for violent retaliation … but … how many of you out there — like me — scratch your head every time you hear about one of these instances and say, “I bet that minivan did something really stupid, dangerous and rude for the second driver to react like that”?

I have to wonder … I digress … Back to driving school.

 

NZ Morris

My longest bit of road research yet, is an 18,000-mile, 43-city whirlwind tour of the contiguous United States. And I took notes. And just let me say this … it is probably a good thing Colorado has weed now to chill the (French word) out … Because, to my surprise, I have never met more angry/aggressive drivers than Denver … and yes, I have driven for several weeks at a time in Manhattan, no problems. Driven on the opposite side of the road in New Zealand (almost successfully) … and seen the craziest traffic in the world in Bangkok. Everyone always asks me “Where are the worst/angriest drivers?”.

Here is more of what I have learned and some things I wish every driver would think about:

The Gun Is Loaded

Even in a Prius … you are driving a 3,000-lb bullet. And bullets don’t kill people … people do. Think before you change lanes, stop for a puppy, pull a U-turn, try to race a muscle car, text, lipsync in the rear view mirror, or whatever.

 

BP Car crop

Don’t ‘Kill Them With Kindness’

This takes the cake for stupidity, because “their hearts are in the right place.” Have you seen someone — typically in a tree-hugging smart car — who stops in the middle of an intersection, to let someone else enter … stopping traffic, nearly causing a 30-car pileup, all in the name of trying to be nice? They wave and smile and are oblivious to all of the screeching brakes and swerving cars behind them. In their minds, they have just made the planet a better place. When you forget traffic lights … forget traffic laws … forget protocol … forget what all other drivers on the road expect you to do – you become the problem. Your plan to prove to the world that you care about the person who could have waited … backfires … almost every time.

Race You To The Red Light … Or The Traffic Jam

For someone who has the ability to look ahead of a car and gauge traffic patterns, it can be an absolute curse. Because as soon as you slow down, approaching a red light directly in front of you … or same thing, if you are behind 20 cars packed into three lanes, bumper to bumper at 70 m.p.h. … there is always someone who thinks they are so much smarter or driving enlightened that their car will magically go where no other car can. So they try to squeeze in, causing wrecks … everyone has to adjust … packing in even tighter … and the magical driver goes on, never knowing or caring about the carnage in their wake. (By the way … typically, you pass this driver about a mile up the road … and then they repeat all their missteps.)

The Pass On The Right Theorem

Ninety-nine percent of the time, if you zoom to the right on a multi-lane freeway, you are entering the zone where additional cars ramp up onto the freeway. It is what is known as “a bottle neck” or a “log jam.” You may have a moment of false accomplishment and get ahead of one car … just before another one slows down or merges in front of you. Then you have to make your second unsafe move … to jump lanes back to where you started. Stay left and you will get there first, the majority of the time. And after all, isn’t it about getting there first. (But don’t you dare be that slow driver in the left lane.)

HOV Lanes Are About Control

This is the ultimate in dumb driving. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen this. In a busy. busy metropolitan area, there are HOV lanes for high-occupancy vehicles. It is a great concept … people who carpool are rewarded and allowed to drive in a lane with less traffic. So smart … except they let people into the mix. I kid you not … some drivers will drive like maniacs in the traffic jam, jump in the HOV lane where there is no traffic, and then they slow down. Who cares if there is a line of traffic behind them. They have control — probably for the first time in their lives — so they dictate the speed or lack of speed for everyone in the HOV lane. And yes, although there is no one in front of them, they drive slower, all of the sudden. Yes, the people they were racing in the heavy traffic, begin to pass them, as the protected lane and the unprotected lane travel side-by-side. (This is the only situation where I have actually tried lane splitting, on a motorcycle … passing the single car, driving 60 in the wide open HOV lane …

Lane Splitting

Maybe the slow drivers are just scared??? But look at the sign. It clearly says, “HOV Lane” … not “Scared Little Rabbit Lane”

 

PING Triumph square

I Can Outrun A Motorcycle That Does 160

Most of us can’t. Why try? Chances are, if you have finally caught up with that motorcycle, the rider has spotted some reason to slow down. Bikes don’t go fast to rub it in that you can’t … The riders enjoy it. Let it go. No reason to swerve in front of them going 65. Common sense would dictate to use more caution around a driver on two wheels. Why do people use less? You would be shocked at how many drivers do the opposite. Where is this unwritten law that says cars must pass motorcycles to feel validated?

A Good Time To Pass … Is … wait for it … wait for it … wait for it … NOW!

In your road trips, or commute, have you ever gained on a car steadily, watching them follow another car closely, for miles (following so closely they resembled livestock considering a cross-breeding maneuver) … but as you catch them and prepare to pass, the-little-car-that-could decides that no matter how long they have tailed the car in front of them … as you approach moving faster than either of them — that is the perfect time for the little car to whip out in front of you to pass. There is no question — some people are just oblivious that there are other people on the freeway … or in the grocery store … or anywhere else on the planet. So then why in heaven’s name are they behind a wheel or even trying to operate a shopping cart for that matter?

Which Way Was It?

How many times have you been tailgated by a person in a neighborhood or on a city street, then they get around you as the road opens up for traffic … and they of course slow down? A variation of this, is the cross-state road trip. There is always one little car that cannot keep up with the other drivers … but when the speed limit goes down to 45 in some little farm town (you know to keep from killing Old Man Floyd who pulls out of the cafe …), the slow car will come roaring by you doing 60 … only to clog the road up ahead, when the speed limit goes back up to 75 … and of course the “new leader of the pack” thinks 65 is sufficient. Next town … repeat.

For Pete’s Sake, Watch A War Movie!

Okay … multiple choice time. IF you were in a war, in a platoon, on the move in enemy territory, and your outfit needed to cross a bridge. Does your commanding officer yell for you to:

A. Bunch up together as you cross the bridge, so that whatever happens to one soldier, happens to all of you?
B. Spread out and live to fight another day?
C. It was an easy question and you actually don’t need a third choice

My goodness … When a remote highway is wide open except for six cars, for miles and miles, why in the world would those six cars travel in a tight-knit group at 80 mph? I see it every time I get on the road. If it will help you … on your next road trip, tell yourself that you are a soldier … the pavement is just a bridge … and that you want to live, make it back home and some day go to college on the G.I. Bill.

Red Is For Stop

Which is it? If I see brake lights on every car, in every lane, in front of me … do I accelerator or slow down? (Sounds silly doesn’t it? Just you watch.)

Your Car ‘Is Smokin’

If you are careless enough and insecure enough to smoke in this day and time — with all that we know about the deadly poison in cigarettes, not to mention the billions of dollars of increased medical insurance costs for all other consumers and you … I doubt that you care about the other people on the rode either. But, just in case, be advised, we can smell the cigarette stink several cars behind you. Hell … on a motorcycle, you can even “enjoy” the cancer-causing agents wafting from traffic going the other direction. Nice huh? Who doesn’t want to be offensive from several hundred feet?

Space Is The Enemy At Traffic Lights

We all know life is too short to miss the green/yellow light by one car length. NO … I am not saying just run it, if it is a “little red.” But I do point out that if everyone will pay attention, and get on their way when the light turns green, more people will make the light easily and the system will work a little better. Also … If you place your car directly behind the car in front of you at a light … without leaving an empty space for a couple more, then more people will make the light. (This is the opposite of the bridge theory above …) And yes, if you ignore either one of these suggestions, that guy behind you may be me — honking … Because yes … I have been rear-ended at three red lights in my life so far. I am trying to avoid the fourth. When the light turns green … I play for keeps. Let’s get a move on!

All Media Hate A Rubber Necker

Every time there is a wreck on the freeway, the media repeat what they have heard other media say (monkey see-monkey do) and they report that on-lookers or “rubber neckers” are slowing down or contributing to the problem. Oh contrare! One of the first things taught in driving classes is that you should slow down when you pass an accident … to avoid hitting someone walking away, crawling away, slithering away … or whatever. Yes … that extra caution slows the traffic, slightly, but if you don’t “rubber neck” and slow down, you might rear-end … and stop traffic all together. See the second or third car who also get in the wreck? They were NOT rubbernecking and slowing down.

Parking Lots Are Death Race 2000

The same drivers who drive fast in residential areas but then slow down on the highway are at their best in parking lots. I think they detour through five or six lots a day, just to hone their skills and tally points. What is wrong with a person who cuts through a lot, kicking their car up to 45 miles per hour, for the first time ever? Oh … and they slalom through the other parked cars for more stealth. Who knows, on a good day, they can probably dent a car, knock over a motorcycle and cripple two or three pedestrians. It’s what they do.

Hi!

Last point. Have you notice bikers and/or motorcycle enthusiasts have a special wave, and they pass it on cordially to other riders? How about automobiles try being nice. Are you crazy enough to try it? Give a friendly wave, with your entire hand to another driver. Ha … just imagine the puzzled looks. Mouth a “Thank You” instead of the “Other You” one normally reads on another driver’s lips. Nah … It would never work. Well … except in a farm town. But then again, farm kids have mastered and respect autos and guns by the age of eight.

Know what I sayin?