Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bad drivers

I've been fortunate in my life, in that I've had the opportunity to live in many different parts of the country, and visit many more. One of the things I've noticed is that, whichever major metropolitan area I live near, those people believe they have the worst drivers in the country. For most of these people, of course, they're merely speculating, because they've not experienced continued driving in different areas. This leads me to wonder, what city really IS the worst for driving?
Now, we have to come up with some ground rules, so that we can figure this out scientifically - I don't believe in bad driving by intelligent design, sorry.
First, let's consider time in traffic. This is a rather important one, as that's when most people get to stew about bad traffic/driving. Next, one must consider the complexity of the highway system (or, conversely, the oversimplification). For example, in West Texas, on the way to San Angelo, when you drive up Highway 83, you come to a point where the sign says (I swear I'm not making this up) that you are driving on HWY 83 North AND South at the same time. Of course, there's only one road in West Texas, and it goes from San Antonio to the gates of well, you know. All right, after complexity, we have to consider courtesy of fellow drivers. Do they wave? Do they signal? Do they flip you off with both hands while changing lanes and talking on the cell phone drinking coffee?

I think that should be sufficient for now. I'll open up the debate by saying that the worst city I've ever driven in is probably Dallas. There are so many highways/freeways that converge and diverge in such a small area, the trip into town one time took me 2 hours. One morning I drove through town on my way to West Texas and it took me 4 hours to get through the city. That's bad, people. I didn't even take a wrong turn, for once, which is odd for me, because there are so many roads that take you the wrong way. I don't like Dallas.

However as for the worst of each, I'd have to say this:
San Francisco has the rudest/dumbest drivers. I saw a man cut across 4 lanes of traffic (we were on a one way street) to make a right turn without signalling, and then the street he turned onto went one way, the OTHER way. That's only the worst of the many chilling stories I remember from driving in that city.

Most confusing traffic - I'd have to say Washington DC. I never drove in that city without getting lost, and I lived outside there for two years. Confusing stuff.
Most time-consuming traffic - Seattle. There are 2 freeways. You either get where you're going, or you have to leave town, turn around, wait a couple hours, and try again. Heaven forbid you miss your exit twice. Stupid city planners, putting the city too close to the Puget Sound.

For the record, the Major Cities from which I drew my comparison include, but aren't limited to: Boston, Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

I look forward to hearing your replies!


Cassie said...
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mlwhitt said...

As a former 5 year resident of Nashville, TN, I must say that I think they have the worse drivers. EVERYONE drives 80 in a 25 speed zone. No one EVER comes to a complete stop. No one ever allows you to merge unto the highway. People when you try to allow them to merge on, continue to ride the shoulder. All kinds of crazy stuff.

Michelle said...

Hmmm Steve, don't you think it's kinda funny that wherever YOU go, that's where the worst drivers are!!!

Steve said...

Oh, Michelle, you're such a card!