Road Rage: Bad driving habits can get everyone a little uptight

Tailgaters. Guys in the fast lane at 130 km/h, with a cigarette in one hand, a burger in the other, steering with their knees.

Tailgaters. Guys in the fast lane at 130 km/h, with a cigarette in one hand, a burger in the other, steering with their knees.

Ladies with a sweater-wearing lap dog hanging out the window. Or their hillbilly counterparts — the ones with the jacked-up pickups, with the Truck Nuts hanging from the hitch and three giant dogs roaming around in the back. What happens to the pooches if you get into an accident?

For those who drive on a daily basis, there is a never-ending list of things that annoy us on the road.

My personal pet peeve is when you’re sitting in the left-turn lane, waiting for the arrow to free you from the anguish of waiting in a line of cars for 35 seconds, and the driver at the front of the line isn’t paying attention. When they finally wake from their slumber, the arrow is yellow and only the one car sneaks through.

Should it really irk me that much? Probably not.

Should I really become sour with folks who observe the 30 km/h school zone speed limit in the middle of summer? Probably not.

But I do. And I know there’s more than a few of you out there who feel the same way.

Even the kindlest, gentlest souls can get riled up when driving. Anyone ever been flipped off by a little old lady driving a church bus?

I have, after having the temerity to gently honk my horn as her ride wandered into my lane.

Not willing to curse in front of children, I have learned to become creative with my vehicular vocabulary over the years.

Cut off in traffic? “What are you doing, you fuh-fuh-foolish ascot?”

I once heard this from the back seat: “Daddy, what’s a mudder pucker?”

“A hockey player who gets all dirty.”


One thing that irrationally irritates me: rednecks with bench seats who have one arm around either Elly May or Fido, snuggled up right beside them as they drive. Spread out, Cletus.

One more thing that irritates me, for more legitimate reasons… folks who callously litter. Do not just be firing your fast-food bags or beer cans out the window. Or worse, your cigarette butts during tinder-dry conditions.

A while back, I was in a drive-through line, behind a young guy who was very casually tossing all of the crap inside his vehicle (out through the passenger window) into the bush adjacent to the lane. Forgetting for a second I was a doughy middle-aged dude, I hopped out of my truck, picked up the trash and deposited it back in through his window, admonishing him with the real versions of some of the substitute words I mentioned above.

Fortunately, he was more Jose Bautista than Rougned Odor and I didn’t absorb a shellacking while waiting for my soup.

I asked a handful of co-workers what bad driving habits irk them and got all kinds of responses.

Folks who go too slow in the passing lane was high on almost everyone’s list. Many were scared at the thought of sharing the road with a 156-year-old guiding a 45-foot missile, er, RV down the highway.

Some are apparently unwilling to get along with cyclists and scooter riders who “think they own the road.”

Other things on the annoyance list:

» People on cellphones

» Thumping music (this came from a 28-year-old fogey)

» Driving forever with a turn signal on

» People who don’t know how to use roundabouts

» Roundabouts themselves

» People who try to wave you through at a four-way stop, causing mass confusion

» Drivers who do drive 20 km/h below the speed limit on a single-lane stretch, then speed like demons when you try to roll by when a passing lane emerges

» People who steal the parking spot you’ve been patiently waiting for and their friends who can’t seem to fit their cars into a single parking spot

» “Slow, stupid people” (wasn’t a specific complaint, though it summed things up nicely)

» Drivers who refuse to turn right on a red light, even when they’re allowed to

» Oncoming drivers with their high beams on

» Any driver who sits with their nose touching the steering wheel

Anything we’ve forgotten?