Welcome! You’ve stumbled upon Hemorrhoidal Tendencies, the occasional feature of my blog where I complain about the things in this world that are a pain in the ass.
In my first entry in Hemorrhoidal Tendencies I discussed some driving pet peeves. Every time I get behind the wheel, I realize I’ve only scratched the surface. Here are a few more things about driving (or more accurately, my fellow drivers) that can make me want to turn a pleasant Sunday drive into a scene from Death Race 2000.
You’re Not Fooling Anyone
Even the most conscientious drivers among us are guilty of breaking a driving laws on occasion. Is there really anyone out there who never goes over the speed limit? Or failed to signal a turn when no one is around? I didn’t think so.
One source of driving guilt that is probably most common is distracted driving. I myself have been known to grab a burger on my way out of town to eat while tooling down the interstate at 75 miles an hour. But over the years I have seen people put on mascara, shave, clean their ears with cotton swabs (yuck,) apply nail polish, and – I kid you not – read a textbook by the glow of the dome light.
These behaviors were all witnessed before the introduction of cell phones, which took distracted driving to a whole new level.
My home state of Illinois has straightforward laws about the use of cell phones while driving. Here is a summary:
As of January 1, 2014, a new law in Illinois bans the use of all hand-held devices while driving in Illinois. Only hands-free technology such as speakerphones, bluetooth, and headsets are permitted. In addition: (1) all cell phone use is prohibited while driving in a school zone; (2) all cell phone use is prohibited while driving in a highway construction zone, and (3) all cell phone use is prohibited if you are a novice driver. All Illinois drivers are prohibited from texting.
Even with all the hands-free devices on the market, it doesn’t surprise me that people break this law. What does surprise me are the people who think they are not breaking the law. On a regular basis, I see people holding their cell phones inches away from their face and using their speaker phone.
While the law mentions speaker phones, it also requires that they be HANDS-FREE. The cell phone is IN THEIR HAND, ergo it is HANDHELD not HANDS-FREE. Is this really so hard to understand?
Do they really think that they are that much safer than if they simply lifted it up approximately eight inches and over to the side of their heads to their ear?
If you’re going to talk on the phone and drive, just own it and put the damn thing next to your head. Or better yet, set it on the seat next to you and continue using the speaker. You’re not fooling anyone and you look like an idiot!
I Litter-aly Couldn’t Believe It
Although it annoys me, I can understand why one might use their cell phone in the car. People are busy. I get it. But some behaviors I really have no explanation for. Some are not only illegal, but just plain rude.
I was driving down the road minding my own business. Ahead of me was a crappy, rusted out, heap of a car – blue smoke belching from its tailpipe, muffler creating sparks when it would bounce over a bump. As we rounded a curve, the passenger rolled down the window and tossed a plastic grocery bag filled with god knows what, to the side of the road.
What type of miscreant would do such a thing? Something organic like an apple core or banana peel might be acceptable. Heck, I probably wouldn’t even judge a cigarette butt too harshly, not because it’s right, but because it’s so commonplace. But actual trash?
I guess since the car was such a gem, they didn’t want to mess it up and wait until they could find a trash can. Despicable. It makes you wonder who raised them to see the world as their trash can.
The Rotten Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
Come to think of it, I have a pretty good idea what type of person raised them.
Years ago, I was driving near my apartment in Chicago, minding my own business. Intersecting the street I was on were several side streets, each with a stop sign. I clearly had the right of way.
A car driven by a woman with a girl of about 10 in the passenger seat came careening out of one of the streets to my left, blew the stop sign completely, and pulled in front of me. While not in mortal danger, I was going fast enough that I had to slam on my brakes. As any self-respecting city driver would do, my hand hit the horn as my foot hit the brakes pedal.
As the woman (presumably the 10-year old’s mom) completed her turn and gunned the engine, a skinny, adolescent arm emerged from the passenger side window, middle finger raised in my direction.
That little girl is an adult by now. If you live in Chicago, keep an eye out for her on the road. She’s probably the one diapering her baby with one hand while talking to her mom on her cell phone’s speaker with the other. With her hands busy she can’t flip you off. She’ll leave that to the three-year-old in the car seat drinking Mountain Dew from his sippy cup.
Be careful out there my friends!