I’ve been driving a stretch of Transit Road from Lockport to Williamsville/Amherst quite a lot lately. For the past two months, I’ve been chauffer/driving instructor to my 20-year old son, who got himself a summer job at a grocery store 15 miles from home.
Now, I had encouraged him to find a job. Unfortunately, that was the one that found him. He doesn’t have a drivers license, only a permit, so we’ve been using the drive as practice. He drives there, I drive home. I drive back later, when his shift is done, he drives home. It’s double mileage, double gas and almost two hours of my time each time he works, but I don’t mind. This post isn’t about that.
After driving this same stretch of road over and over for a while, I have noticed some annoying trends with the drivers I see on the road. Most, if not all of them stem from one simple thing: They are totally oblivious to anything other than their own self-centered concerns.
Transit Road is a straight as an arrow north-south road, as if it was drawn with a transit. It goes from Lockport to well south of Buffalo and is a well-known major route. In our 15 mile drive, it goes from four lanes in Lockport to four lanes with a median in the Town of Lockport, down to two lanes at the Erie County line, then back to four lanes with a median from somewhere south of Swormsville on. Speed limits range from 30 in Lockport, to 55 in less built-up sections. Much of it is 45mph.
We’ve probably all been annoyed by the driver paying so much attention to their cellphone conversation that they forget they are sitting at a green light. It’s the same lack of courtesy towards their fellow drivers shown over and over a million different ways. I’m sure I may have appeared to be like this once or twice, but some people seem to go through life like that. I try to drive in a way that not only gets me where I am going, but try not to be an obstruction or hazard to others as well. I wish I could say the same about the average driver.
Lockport is bad enough, but the Transit corridor through Erie County, with Clarence on the east and Amherst on the West, just seems to be full of selfish, self-entitled drivers. They shoot out from a side road in front of you, like they’re in a hurry to get to a fire, then slow down below the speed limit and glare at you in the rear-view mirror. They drive along in the left lane at 10 mph below the speed limit. They stop dead in the road then decide to put on a turn signal. Some want to be sure you see their signal, so they put it on 1/4 mile in advance and slow down to a crawl.
I’ve noticed that when there are multiple lanes available, one always makes more progress than the other. Loogically, you would think that the left lane would go faster. Not true! Despite there being a median for left turns, every person who turns left, slows down, puts on their signal (optional) and slowly creeps onto the median. Meanwhile, all the traffic behind them is slamming on their brakes.
No, the right lane is marginally faster, despite all the people making right turns by coming to a dead stop first. Why does a SUV need to slow to a crawl to get over a driveway curb? It must be they don’t want to spill their Starbucks latte.
The left lane is also full of all those entitled folks who figure they are going to be driving a while, so they will use the time for conversations, cell phone calls, reading the paper or who knows what. They put their mind on autopilot and ignore what is going on around them.
Here’s one that might not surprise you. What is the worst vehicle to be stuck behind? A large truck? A sports car? An SUV? A minivan? Right, the minivan. Minivan drivers are the worst and the newer the minivan, the slower they will be. Old, rusty minivans are usually passed on to the kids, or bought cheap as a beater, so they drive as fast as they can. No, it’s not a small engine that makes minivans slow, it’s the drivers. Who owns a minivan? The soccer Mom, the Baseball Dad, the small business owner who needs a family vehicle that can double for business use. They are multi-tasking vehicles and the drivers are usually multi-tasking as well. They are the slowest thing on the road because, invariably, driving is the last thing on their mind.
But the pet peeve that really ticks me off the most is just around the corner from home. We have a gas station on the corner of Transit and High streets. It has two entrances on Transit and one more driveway on High Street. There is a traffic light at this corner and it stays green for Transit most of the time and only changes when traffic on High Street trips it. Frequently, cars are backed up a full block waiting for this light to change. Incidentally, they back up into a school zone making it hazardous when school gets out.
So, if a driver was coming north on Transit to the light at High, and wants to get into the gas station, which is the best way to do it:
A.) Go straight through the green light and turn into one of the two entrances on Transit.
B.) Turn right on High, put on your left turn signal and stop and glare at the cars backed up at the light for not letting you into the driveway on High Street.
Time after time, I see choice B. being used. Cars turning onto High Street from Transit have to come to a stop behind the a$$#ole making the turn into the gas station, and backing up more traffic behind them on Transit.
You don’t see cars arrive on High Street, turn onto Transit and go into the entrances on Transit to get gas, do you? Why would someone on Transit use any other entrance than the ones on Transit? The entrance on High Street is for people who arrive from High Street.
Why must they use that particular driveway? Is it easier to line up at the pumps? Are they just going to go into the little store for a pack of smokes? Who cares? Why is their little inconvenience of having to make a slightly tighter turn inside the gas station lot rate risking our necks to avoid an accident caused by their inconsideration?
But that would require them to think beyond their own little self-centered world and consider that there just might, maybe, possibly be other people on the road and that their actions might have some impact on those around them…. I know, I’m asking too much.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as my driving pet peeves goes. I could go on and probably will, but I’ll save it for another day!