As I was driving home from work today I got into the usual afternoon commute traffic on the highways, byways, and interstate. Since my commute is 25 miles each way (though it was 30 miles this afternoon since I added a stop at the Post Office), I often get to see quite a cross section of drivers. Some are a little more passive than others, and some are a little more aggressive. I tend to fall, admittedly, somewhere in the middle. Most are pretty close to an acceptable norm.
Among all of the other drivers that participate with me in the afternoon vehicular ballet, there is usually one – though not always even one, but usually not more than two – who are really passionate about getting to their final destination (it’s up to you to judge how I meant that last part). They will dart and weave, they will pass at ludicrous speed (kudos if you name the reference), and they will dive through gaps that by most people’s estimations just don’t exist. This afternoon I saw three.
The first came flying up behind me on a curvy two-lane highway at a rate I’d guess was 20 miles per hour faster than the speed limit (which was 55 mph). They then attached themselves to my bumper even though I had a number of cars in front of me and couldn’t have gone faster even if I’d wanted to. They wasted no time passing me (with great emphasis) as I merged onto I-40, and then proceeded to disappear in and out of traffic at a dizzying pace.
The next flew by after passing another car that was in the left lane (I was in the right, a little ahead) and buzzed so tight to me that I’d swear I felt the breeze. They, too, disappeared in and out of merging traffic where I-40 and I-75 come together west of Knoxville. They were a bit less graceful than the first driver, and left a trail of braking cars in their heady wake.
The last to ‘impress’ me with their feats of derring-do came up on me as I was moving over into the far right lane near the Post Office exit. I had signaled my intent with my turn signal light. They signaled their intent with an aggressive dive around me to the right, which I fortunatley saw coming with my Jedi-like skill for predicting the traffic habits of people going 30 to 40 (I kid you not) miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit. As soon as they were (mostly) around me, they crossed back over three lanes to the left and proceeded on from there along the asphalt slalom course, whipping left, then right, then left, then…well, I took the exit, so I don’t know what happened after that.
Now, here’s the interesting part. All three of them had something in common (other than the obvious need for speed). They all had handicap plates on their cars. Plates, not hang tags on the rear-view mirrors. That tells me that whatever disability there is must be of a permanent or long-term nature. But in view of their driving style(s), it begs the question:
Is this how they got that way? (Or maybe it’s how they got their handicapped passenger that way?) Or are they perhaps suicidal, wishing to end their suffering in a blaze of glory, and they just don’t really care who they take with them?
Be careful out there folks. They, or other drivers of questionable methods, may be headed your way.