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My Driving Rant April 28, 2007

Posted by truthspew in driving.
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It’s been a good six or seven years since I drove on a regular basis. That’s what happens when you live in a city, a car isn’t really necessary.

But over the past month I’ve driven to and from work, supermarket, etc. I’ve driven on highways, local roads, etc. and in each instance I’ve noticed the behavior of drivers in Rhode Island is despicable.

For example, watch my angry rants from just one day. You’ll note the phrase “Smile dickwad, smile!” in there. Sometimes the expletives flow a little heavily. But aberrant driving seems to be an everyday experience in Rhode Island.

One other event happened that I didn’t get on camera because quite frankly I had no time to grab it and start it up even though it’s only two seconds from flipping it open to recording. You see, I was in the left lane of a two-lane road waiting for the light to turn green so I could make a left turn. This idiot just makes a sharp left from the right hand lane and cuts me off when the light turns green.

Some of the things I was taught way back in 1981 when I got my drivers license appear to be non-existent today. The first was that you always practice defensive driving, Ie. try to follow brake lights of not the car in front of you, but in front of the car in front of you. Another was that you NEVER put your brakes on while traveling on interstates unless you’re at an exit. So braking on the highway because you don’t know how to merge into oncoming traffic is in my view an offense worthy of death.

A co-worker and I were talking about it and he mentioned that it’s awfully funny that many people travel the same route daily, yet they won’t get over to the right lane a couple miles before the exit, they’ll wait until the last thousand feet to do so. The other thing that drives be bonkers in RI is that people rarely use turn signals. It’s odd – because I’m a native and I use them. What’s different about me? Maybe signaling my intentions so that the idiot behind me doesn’t for example pull around me to make a left hand turn?

A lot of it is that just in the last few years there are many more cars on the road. They say Rhode Island is losing population but I don’t think that’s true. They also say it’s capitol city Providence is at 176K. I think they’re off by about 30,000-50,000. We’re over 200K. Back ten or so years ago the city was at 130K. Not only that, the surrounding areas like Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket, etc. have all increased their population since of the million plus people in RI, most of us live in those communities.

Much of it has been due to immigration. We’ve got people from every part of the world here in Providence, though mostly Central and South America, and southeast Asia. But you’ve also got a little Nigerian enclave in Providence, along with a Russian enclave.

And native RI’ers aren’t the best drivers by default but throwing in people from other countries where traffic law let alone the rule of law, is regularly bent and twisted. What you get is a variant of anarchy on the roadways.

And then of course you have the recent admission of the City of Providence that the new red light cameras aren’t making the roads safer. More to the point they’re actually costing the city money. That they’d have no impact on safety was apparent when they sited the cameras. All in places where they’d be assured a maximum of revenue. Here’s the other thing, when they put the necessary statutes in place to allow red light cameras, running a red light and being caught by a camera ceased being a criminal even/moving violation and became a civil event. And people are becoming gradually aware of that.

I did make the suggestion that maybe they could offer a special type of drivers license to people. It would cost a few thousand dollars a year but it’d allow you to correct aberrant drivers without fear of criminal or civil prosecution. Essentially a section 11-8-8 for motor vehicles. But then I realized that money doesn’t necessarily make you a good driver and so had to abandon that idea.

Instead I’ll just keep recording. And then I’ll post the videos daily and notify the local PD. Because in many instance I do get plate numbers.

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