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DC Drivers are the Worst

October 7, 2007

I am surprisingly easy to get along with. There are very few things that truly upset me or cause me a significant amount of duress. However, one of the things that angers me more than anything else is the sheer number of awful drivers in the Washington DC metropolitan area. If you do not believe this, ask my girlfriend. She has patiently spent hours on the phone with me while I am stuck in traffic. She undoubtedly spends this time wondering who the rage-filled jerk is on the other line, and what did he do to the delightful young man she thought she was dating.

I was really looking forward to not driving to work when I moved to the District. I envisioned myself sitting on the Metro every morning ,listening to my iPod. However, since I have been here, with the exception of 8 glorious weeks of working at home, I have been either driving or flying to work every week.

I am lucky enough to have a reverse commute to work every day. I live downtown and work in the suburbs. This means that for the most part, I am fortunate enough to avoid much of the traffic, as I am going against the main traffic flows morning and night. Nevertheless, in the course of my travels, I have noticed a few distinct species of drivers on the DC roads. If you drive in DC, you will ignore the following at your own peril:

Makeup Girl. Makeup Girl refuses to wake up early enough to fully prepare herself for the public light before she leaves for work.  As a result, she is focusing equally on the road in front of her and the eyeliner she is ever so delicately applying via the rear view mirror. God help her if she has to slam on her breaks, as it could cause a major makeup issue or permanent blindness.

Blackberry Guy. Blackberry Guy is busier at 7:30am than you will be all day. Even in his car, he cannot help but multitask. He has to drink his coffee, fire off a quick email to his secretary securing an afternoon tryst, read the Marketplace section of the WSJ and talk to the guy on his Bluetooth headset all at once. Turn signals? Stop signs? What makes you think he has time for that kind of thing?

Taxi Driver Guy. Many people assume taxi drivers are crazy. They are. However, for the most part they also know the roads like the back of their cigarette holding hands. They may cut you off when you least expect it, but they will never blindside you because of an urgent TPS request sent to them by a summer intern. How many accidents have you seen involving a taxi? Exactly. Stick behind a taxi if you are in a hurry and you will get where are you going much faster.

Geriatric Queen. Does it look like nobody is drving the car in front of you? Most likely, it is just a tiny old lady. No one knows where she is going, or how she is still able to drive, but this species is out in full force at all the most inconvenient times. Unlike Makeup Girl, she was able to get herself fully dolled up for wherever she is going, even if it is just down to Wal-Mart for more cans of food for her cat Precious. This does not keep her from going 45 MPH in the center lane of I-395, or randomly cutting you off should you be in a hurry to get somewhere. Get in the left lane and pass her before she merges into you.

Environmentally Friendly Hipster Biker Guy. Just because a road only has two lanes going each way doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a bicycle. This guy considers himself equal parts car and pedestrian, depending on what is more beneficial to himself at the moment. Is that an open lane? Let me ride my bike down the middle, forcing all the cars to go around me if they want to go more than 15 MPH until I get to Whole Foods. Is that a red light? Good thing I’m only a biker and I can turn right into traffic without worrying about anyone hitting me. Who wouldn’t want to act like a car but have the rights of a pedestrian?

Mind you, this is only the people on the roads in automobiles. It does not include the countless pedestrians who live to impede your progress to your final destination in countless ways. From the old lady who starts across a six lane street with three seconds left on the walk signal in the middle of rush hour, to the guy who can’t be bothered to walk to a corner and crosses in the middle of a busy road, these non-vehicular human obstacles are a whole other issue, and a blog posting for a rainy day.

Do you drive around DC? Is there someone on the road I have missed? Let me know, as I am sure I will be encountering them soon enough. I like to know what I am up against…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. K-Diggity permalink*
    October 8, 2007 2:02 pm

    You forgot the best one:

    “Going 35 on an entrance ramp to the freeway guy”

    Seriously. They’re fucking there to GAIN SPEED. Someone is coming up behind you going 70.

    Every time someone tells me that going slower is better than faster, god kills 10 kittens. The only reason going fast ever results in an accident is because someone in front of you is not going fast enough. Duh.

  2. Adam permalink*
    October 8, 2007 2:09 pm

    How could I forget Freeway Onramp Guy? I get stuck behind him every evening getting on 395.

    He and his friend “Waits til His Lane Ends to Start Thinking About Merging Guy” probably kill 10 people a week on the roads.

  3. October 8, 2007 7:00 pm

    Hmmm, I think I’ve got a hybrid form of Blackberry Guy here in Phoenix. I’ve seen them doing this all of this as well as shaving, eating, then brushing the teeth. It’s a long commute sometimes.

    Here in the Phoenix Metro area, we also have some interesting drivers… you may have them there as well.

    Soccer Moms Driving Giant SUVs – these women are the bane of society. They drive these suckers like they are sports cars, cutting you off right before a parking lot entrance so they can get themselves and their “precious cargo” into the Wal-Mart/ Starbucks/ McDonalds one car ahead of you. Then they usually wind up either causing an accident in the parking lot or at the very least blocking traffic with their erratic driving. But hey, they aren’t responsible, they’ve got kids in the car and can’t concentrate. My question is, whose kids are they? Yours? Well, then… (these are also often the same women who feed their kids Mocha Frappacinos and then wonder why their kids are hyper… or get labeled as ADHD and are on a million different medications when all they need to do is cut out the coffee)

    I’ve-Got-A-Bigger/Better-Car-Than-You – These folks automatically get the right-of-way in town, even if they’re driving the wrong way down a one-way street. A Phoenix Variation would be that the car with the biggest tires always gets to go first at a 4-way-stop.

    This is also a pretty good list, you’ve probably seen it.

    …and this explains a bit more about the driving subculture here:

    As always, it’s a pleasure to read your posts.


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