|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
A road rant
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle drivers are some of the most civil in the country, according to a survey on road rage released earlier this year. We are the least likely to see people doing other things (putting on makeup, reading) while driving. And we are least likely to witness other drivers cutting into our lane with little or no warning.
So why are we so frustrated? On our collective list of grudges, bad drivers rank up there with litterers and smokers.
During our average three hours of driving a day, we fume over the clueless, the aggressive, the crazy. We wish a cop had witnessed what they just did. Mostly though, we want to drive them off er, slap a driver's manual into their hands.
If only cars were equipped with electronic reader boards on their roofs. That's been the fantasy of local businesswoman Kara Ceriello, who runs the Not a Number Cards & Gifts shop in Wallingford. She swears she knows how to drive, having once worked as a car messenger in Los Angeles. She faults many a motorist for being too self-absorbed and oblivious. "They're like doo-de-doo-de-doo."
Naomi McCoy, an administrative assistant for the Seattle School District, has a mellower driving persona, in part because her first motoring was on the roads of Hawaii. She's a stickler for speed limits and doesn't get why impatient drivers will occasionally flip her off.
We recently invited the pair to chat about driving; they're likely channeling some of you.
Chiming in are Sgt. Monica Hunter of the Washington State Patrol and Rich Pruitt of the Seattle Police Department, to remind us of the rules of the road. In the meantime, for the love of all, turn-signal please.
Our biggest peeve: Perpetual confusion.
Kara: "In Seattle it's, 'No, you go. No, you go.' If a person's too hesitant, I will be in my car yelling at them."
Naomi: "See, I'm not a yeller. I'm very patient."
Our biggest peeves: People who move over immediately and people who cut in at the end.
Kara: "If I see an open lane, I'm going to go in the open lane."
Naomi: "I'd definitely not do that. I get really put off if I'm in the back of the line, and I'm keeping a space for safety reasons, and someone noses in."
Hunter the cop: "Exercise common courtesy. The incorrect way is to rush to the front of the line. When you go to the gas pumps or the grocery store and the lines are long, you would not jump in front of everyone. You should not do it on the highway."
Our biggest peeves: Drivers who use their blinkers too seldom and their horns too often.
Naomi: "I always use turn signals."
Kara: "I love you! I signal when there's no one behind me. I signal all the time. What's your stance on horns?"
Naomi: "I never use horns. I just think it's impolite."
Kara: "I totally respect that. My husband, he'll smack away my hand if I'm about to honk. He can't think of any reason for me to lay on the horn. And I say, c'mon!"
Pruitt the cop: "Turn signals are required by state and city law. And as far as using that horn: Don't honk at people you want to insult and don't honk at people you want to meet for a date."
Our biggest peeve: Driving too slowly in the fast lane.
Naomi: "I'm the one going the speed limit, and I'm the one that [gets] flipped off. I don't have tons of power, and sometimes the car does need some time to say, speed up."
Kara: "People tend to drive much slower here. They tend to drive slower in the left lane, and they just don't seem to get this at all. I've talked to a person who literally slows down in the left lane."
Hunter the cop: "You should not be continuously driving in the left lane. That lane's for passing. Keep to the right. People say, 'Well, they shouldn't be going over 60 mph.' I say it's our job to police the highway. If you want to slow down traffic, get an application from the State Patrol."
MERGING ONTO THE FREEWAY
Our biggest peeve: People who won't yield.
Kara: "You try and squeeze in. And they're looking ahead, not even letting you in. They'll even speed up. So you know they see you. You're supposed to alternate. That's what you're supposed to do."
Hunter the cop: "Put your signal on, accelerate, move past the gore point/barrier and merge in. You don't want to rush in at 60 mph and rush over. People always say, 'Well, if I get hit it's in the back, and it's not my fault.' The person in the lane owns the lane. Yield to them."
Our biggest peeve: No "thank-you" wave. Kara: "That is what you do. I want my wave, and I get annoyed if it doesn't happen. Say there's an Escalade with only one person driving, and you let them in but there's no wave. That's like committing so many crimes at once. I don't flip them off, but hey, I want my wave!"
Hunter the cop: "Stop the entitlement, people. It's a gesture of appreciation. But if someone forgets, give them the benefit of the doubt."
Seattle Times researcher Gene Balk contributed to this story. Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company