Over at Gawker, they did a piece on the ten worst people on the subway. I've been to New York enough to recognize at least some of the things they mentioned. I can't imagine the hell it must be using that to get to work every day, but then again, I live in Houston, a place where commuters spend hours of their lives every week in a car sitting behind other drivers just to get to work.
I'm not sure which is better, which is why, when Art Director Monica Fuentes sent me the Gawker link and suggested something similar might be great to write about for Houston, traffic made the perfect foil. Just last month, I wrote an open letter to drivers at the 59/610 interchange. It seemed to resonate with a lot of you and I can certainly relate. So, with a nod to the folks at Gawker, here are Houston's top 10 worst people in Houston traffic. It may not be the subway, but our traffic has a special ring of hell all to itself.
People who weave in and out of traffic searching for the fastest lane. This does not work. Trust me. And, believe me when I say that there are few things more satisfying than when I pass you because you moved into a slow lane. Unless there is a wreck or something blocking the lane you are in, just pick one and stay there.
People who don't turn right on red from the right lane on a street with three or more lanes. If you do not intend to turn right at a light on a street that has three or more lanes, you better have a damn good reason for keeping all the people with the flashing blinkers behind you waiting. The only acceptable reason is that you are turning IMMEDIATELY after the light. I might give you 150 yards of cushion, but that better be it.
People who ride your bumper. Seriously, why the hell do you do this? In my spiteful, petty little world, I feel a great desire to simply slow down to a point where any potential accident would cause the least damage possible. It's reasonable in bumper-to-bumper traffic to be close behind me, but if you are so close to me that you can read the station numbers off my radio and traffic is moving, you are way too freaking close. Get into another lane.
Slow drivers in the fast lane. Pretty much everyone hates you. I'm sorry, but they do. If you have to drive slower than most, that's completely fine. Just don't do it in the left lane...ever, especially when traffic finally gets moving and all everyone wants to do is just GO.
People who don't pay attention at red lights. There is an etiquette to when you are allowed to tap...TAP...your horn at a person who has lost all sense of time and space at a red light. Count to three and then lightly tap your horn once. At this point, I think we can all forgive you. But, if you don't respond, you are threatening the very fabric of civilized society. If we miss the light because you sat there so long staring at your phone or whatever you are doing, I'm fairly certain the law allows me to have you arrested or simply killed. People who whip across multiple lanes of traffic to make their exit or turn. If you are about to miss your exit, there are only a tiny number of reasons to put the life of yourself and your fellow drivers in danger with this maneuver. If you are rushing someone to the hospital or if you are in dire need of medical attention, you are forgiven. Otherwise, you are acting like a jackass.
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Smartphone users. I love my iPhone. I admit that I take a glance at it every now and again in the car. But, if you are driving in traffic and trying to have a Twitter conversation at the same time, you clearly need a Twittervention. It's time to stop, take a deep breath and realize that you are in a real world. This is not the Matrix. Unplug and drive.
Women who try to apply eye makeup while driving. This one I don't understand not only because you drive so poorly while doing it -- your eyes literally not on the road -- but the inherent danger you creating for your eyeball. You have a pointy brush about a quarter inch from one of the most sensitive organs on your body and you are using it while trying to navigate traffic? This may be the first time I've ever said this as I have no children, "You are going to put your eye out!"
People who don't let others merge. Congratulations! You are King of All Assholes. You singlehandedly pulled a dick move and added another pissed off driver to the road. Way to go, a-hole. Way to freaking go.
People who try to drive down the emergency lane. This might be in my top 10 things I hate in life, period. What kind of jerk must you be if you have decided that your life is so important you must drive down the emergency lane to circumvent traffic? That is not a personal driving lane for the incredibly cool and important. That is a lane for people with car problems and those who have been in accidents. When I see this happening, my tendency is to pull over and block about half the lane. Sometimes, we gotta police ourselves.