We all know Houston has a lot of traffic. We're a driver's city and we're (mostly) proud of it. We also happen to be a pretty polite lot, which makes driving here slightly less stressful than in other major cities, if only slightly. For the most part, we carry our Texan demeanor with us on the roadways, but there are definitely exceptions.
This doesn't even count the overt ways in which people wreak havoc on the highways -- cutting people off, tailgating, driving wildly while trying to talk on the phone, eat a burger and apply makeup (Don't laugh, I've actually seen this one on the West Loop!). Those are as obvious as they are infuriating.
But, there are slightly more subtle ways to piss off other drivers that are often less dangerous than the above, mostly legal, but still annoying as hell. Here are five of them.
5. Slow down when it isn't necessary. As if driving around in your massive Hummer wasn't uncomfortable enough for the rest of us, you are the guy that slows down to a crawl when you go over a railroad crossing as if you are driving a low rider. We promise that those awful railroad tracks aren't going to damage the shiny undercarriage of your beautiful gas guzzler even if you are going faster than the speed you would go if I were pushing you, which I might do if you don't speed up.
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4. Go straight from the right lane. When there are four perfectly good lanes of traffic available, why would you choose the right lane if you don't plan on turning right? This may seem ridiculous, but if I would like to turn right on red at the light and you are in front of me...you get the picture. This is particularly frustrating when EVERY OTHER LANE IS EMPTY. You might be able to get away with it if you have to turn immediately after the light, but, if not, get over and keep us all from wanting to drive a spike through your engine block.
3. Drift. Whenever I see a person drifting into my lane, my first thought is to pass him/her, not necessarily to avoid an accident, but to determine exactly what idiotic move they are making that would cause this driving neglect. A glassy-eyed driver trying desperately to type "OMFG! STFU!" on his smartphone is often the culprit. There is also the application of makeup, the consuming of food, fiddling with the radio, reading (I've seen this one) and the like. I actually drove past a woman on the West Loop who was talking (or singing), while trying to apply eyeliner with one hand and holding a burger in the other. She was driving with her knees. 2. Turn into an occupied lane of traffic. Nothing says inconsiderate like turning into oncoming traffic right in front of someone and driving slower when there are other free lanes with no cars in them. I see this happen often and I just don't get it. It's one thing if you are flying across multiple lanes of traffic to get to the far lane. That's annoying, but at least understandable. But, turning into a random middle lane that is the only one with an oncoming vehicle, what is that?
1. Don't pay attention at a red light. A few years ago, I was sitting at a light at the corner of T.C. Jester and 19th Street in the left-hand turn lane. The light there is notoriously short. When the light turned green, the car in front of me didn't move. Knowing the brevity of the signal, I gently honked to get them moving. Nothing. The light turned yellow and then red. Still nothing. I decided to wait this out one more exchange. Next green, same thing. I honked again. This time, the guy, his head popping up from whatever he was looking at in his lap, gunned it as the light turned red. Since then, I've seen a similar scenario replayed numerous times, thanks, no doubt, to smartphone technology. The moral: When at a red light, PAY ATTENTION!
These are just mine. No doubt you have some of your own. Feel free to share in the comments.