Driving me mad

February 28th, 2011 / #cars, #observations

While driving to Clearwater, FL from Gainesville, FL on February 27, 2010, I got to thinking about the makeup of the people on the road. I got to thinking, and came up with this list of stereotypical Interstate drivers. I’m sure there are more, and if I think of them in the future, I’ll add them here.

The Scout. If you’re in a hurry, the Scout is of utmost importance. Generally, when people who are comfortable with speeding are on the Interstate, they tend to form “packs” of multiple marauders that rove the asphalt countryside, bypassing weaker commuters and leaving them in a cloud of dust. To do this, each pack tacitly designates a temporary leader to act as a wedge and forge the path between tractor-trailers, wide loads, and senior citizens who are unaware that their Buick can, in fact, hit 70 miles per hour. Of course, with great responsibility comes great risk: it is the Scout’s responsibility not only to clear the way for the pack, but also to keep a keen eye out for the fuzz. Since the Scout is usually the fastest traveler of the bunch, he runs the risk of being cited for his sacrifice. Sometimes, the system isn’t fair. (Note: On long-term voyages, the burden of being a Scout should be shared between pack members. Every 25-35 miles sounds about right.)

The Pace Car. You may be in a rickety old Ford Escort on a two lane turnpike between Uncasville and Norwichtown, but this guy’s in the pace car on the 497th lap of the Daytona 500. He knows that the second he pulls away from the long line of angry automobiles, the race to a green-white-checkered finish will begin with a roar. Until then, though, you’re stuck behind this guy and the truck he’s trying to pass in the right lane. Unfortunately for all involved, you’ll be waiting a while – both the Pace Car and the truck it’s trying to pass are cruising along at what seems like 12 miles per hour.

The Self Righteous Trucker. Some states have laws that forbid semi trucks from entering the left lane, but these laws assume you’re driving down a highway with more than two lanes. Those unlucky souls who are given the choice between only a pair of lanes, however, are bound to meet the Self Righteous Trucker. To fully understand the Self Righteous Trucker, though, it is important to get inside his head:

“Hm, the truck ahead of me is going approximately .00000000000323 miles per hour slower than I’d like to go.”

The trucker looks to his left and sees nothing. In his rear view mirror, he sees a rapidly approaching car, traveling approximately 35 miles per hour faster than he’d like to go.

“Oh well, I can make it. They’re my roads too, damn it.”

The trucker merges left and takes the span of 4.3 miles to pass his nemesis in the right lane.

The Eagle Eye. Even though the nickname might cause you to respect the Eagle Eye, don’t fall into that trap. As the Eagle Eye drives along, he makes it a point to remain abnormally vigilant for any sign of police presence: “The flashing sign 3 miles ahead in the dead of night? I don’t want him to know I’m going 2 miles per hour over she speed limit – better slam on my brakes!”

The Weaver. In order to qualify as a Weaver, you must fulfill three requirements: (1) you must own a motorcycle; (2) you must be in a traffic jam; and (3) you must be an incredible douchebag. Weaving occurs when these aforementioned douchebags weave between lanes (emergency lane included) of stopped traffic. I understand that splitting lanes is legal in California’s stop-and-go expressway traffic, but the lion’s share of Americans, contrary to popular belief, are from places other than California. So as I, an upstanding and patriotic citizen am inconvenienced to the point that I must listen to yet another installation of NPR News in my motionless automobile, the Weaver is rewarded for his brazen behavior. I guess this falls under the category of life not being fair.

The Police Impersonator. Unlike the Weaver, the Police Impersonator is not characterized as a moron because of a conscious decision to be a moron. The Police Impersonator is a moron because of his uninformed choice of automobile. Rather than choosing a painted, newer model car, the Police Impersonator purchased an old police cruiser at auction. But despite the inexpensive price tag, he’s paying for his decision, all right: now, wherever the Police Impersonator goes, he will invariably be stuck in never ending traffic caused by the inaccurate perception of others on the road that this is a police officer. (Note that the Police Impersonator is a touchy subject – some people are required by law or employment to drive these terrible vehicles. Some folks can’t help it.)

I’m one of these types of drivers. I’ll let you guess which one.


There is only one comment. Add to the marketplace of ideas!

  1. Frank Burgess spoke up on April 28, 2011.

    Spot on analysis of wayfaring highway goers!

    Casey, I believe you to be a Scout!

Sorry, but comments are closed. Some things are best said in a vacuum.

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