DRIVING in East Texas frequently places me either on the highways or in the towns and cities of the region. The propensity for bad driving seems to be increasing. It is impossible to drive twenty miles on a highway without encountering the worst kind of tailgaters.
Yesterday while driving the posted speed limit of seventy on a highway, I looked into my rear view mirror to see two rapidly approaching drivers from behind. By the way they were switching lanes I could tell they were having some kind of road rage encounter. The guy in the back seemed to intent on running over the guy in the front, and both seemed to be angrily cursing each other. Both came running up on me like I was going forty, instead of seventy.
When I run into knuckleheads like those two, I wonder “where can they possibly be going that requires them to drive 90-100 miles per hour?” Of course, the answer to that question is “nowhere.” It’s just a couple of immature drivers who think their ego and their car have merged together. The frightening thing is they may be otherwise sane people, but here they are literally taking their lives and the lives of others in their hands and not doing so in a thoughtful manner.
There is a type of driver who seems obsessively compelled to tailgate. You can watch them on the highway run up on one driver after another, always coming far too close to the rear bumper of the next car in front of them. There’s a bullying aspect of it, and I’m certain that is the driving force for such horrible drivers. They are saying “get out of my way, this is my lane!” Where most of us leave five to ten car lengths between us and the next car at highway speeds, these jokers leave one or two car lengths. They could not possibly stop at that speed if anything happened in front of them which required an immediate stop.
Texting has become a problem which similarly impacts driving. I am aware of two major accidents in the past several months in which a young person was killed. In both instances the person simply drove into the back or side of a large truck on a highway. The lack of any braking by the young drivers strongly suggested they were not looking up at the highway at all. Texting was suspected, although I do not know if it was confirmed.
Reading texts is bad enough, but I see people actually texting while driving. They’re easy to spot. They’re the ones driving from side to side in their lane of traffic, as they pay little attention to the road and all their attention to their cell phone’s text screen.
Our legislature passed a law last year to outlaw texting while driving. The governor vetoed it, for reasons that remain unclear. I heard he had three reasons, but could only remember two.
I worry about people not wearing seatbelts, but I worry more about people texting while driving or not allowing sufficient space between cars. Those are deadly practices, irrespective of whether they are against the law or not.
© 2012, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. firstname.lastname@example.org