ARRRGH!!!! THOSE NEW YORK DRIVERS!
Last weekend while driving around our great city, I couldn't help noticing just how awful some New York drivers are. For some it's poor driving habits, for others outright aggressiveness. Either way, I thought it would make for a good Room 8 post.
Distractions and Inattentiveness
Most of us (including me) have done at least one of the items on this list. Some are just bad habits, others are illegal now. Many years ago when I took driving lessons I was taught to count to one when taking my eyes off the road (mainly to read signs). More than that was dangerous. Here's my list for this category:
- Texting on a Cell Phone
- Talking on the Phone
- Reading (maps, directions)
- Grooming (hair, make-up, shaving, etc.)
- Day Dreaming
- Talking to Passengers
- Loud Music
- Looking for Things in the Back Seat
- Letting Car Insurance, Registration, or Emissions Certificate Expire
Rude, Aggressive, or Annoying Behavior
We sometimes wear this as a badge of honor in New York. Tourists sometimes actually look for examples of this when visiting. It doesn't have to be that way. Like the previous category, some of the items below are also illegal, not just rude or aggressive. The issue of bike lanes is hotter than ever. Cars use these lanes as short cuts or "express lanes". This is a good time to point out that bicycles are supposed to observe the rules of the road the same as cars.
- Not Respecting Pedestrians “ Right of Way’’
- Road Rage
- Excessive Lane Changing
- Jumping Lanes
- Cutting People Off
- Excessive Honking
- Not Respecting Bike Lanes
- Not Signaling when Turning
- Taking way too Long to Accelerate after Stopping at a Stop Sign
- Crossing Solid Lines
- Using the Right Side Parking Lane as a Passing Lane (at stop lights or stop signs)
This category can use some expansion or perhaps some of the items on the other lists should be here instead. Many of these deal with the obvious.
- Drinking and Drugs (including legal drugs that can impair ability to drive)
- Improperly Secured Items Tied to a Vehicle
- Not Wearing Seatbelts
- Driving on the Highway with a "Donut" Tire
- Using High Beams (especially when drivers flash them twice to get your attention, thus potentially blinding you for a moment)
- Swerving (especially to dodge pot holes)
- Not Having an Emergency Kit (including flares and a flashlight) in the Trunk
So many accidents are caused by speed issues, but not only because of those that exceed the speed limit; accidents are also caused by slow drives that don't match the speed of traffic on highways. It's also amazing how many drivers don't know that New York City's fixed speed limit is "30 MPH unless otherwise posted".
- Slow drivers on highway
- Unaware of speed limits
- Speeding in Parking Lots
- Racing on Highways and City Streets
- Accelerating too Fast or too Slow when a Light Turns Green
Nothing seems to irk New Yorkers more than parking issues. Some of these are annoying; many are illegal. Drivers have a hard enough time finding parking without having to deal with some of these issues.
- Double Parking
- Poor Use/Not Using Mirrors While Parking
- Poor Parking Skills (such as too far from the curve, not turning your wheel when parked on a hill, etc.)
- Taking Two Parking Spots
- Parking in Spots Reserved for the Disabled
- Parking at Fire Hydrants
- Not Respecting Alternate Side Parking
- Not Knowing the Difference between Parking, Standing, and Stopping
- Not Knowing how to Read Parking Signs
- Parking in Crosswalks
- Parking at Bus Stops
Disrepair of Vehicle
Some serious safety issues are caused by not keeping your vehicle in good shape. Drivers have a responsibility to get safety-related repairs done immediately. Every driver should have spare light bulbs in their trunk. I've seen some drivers go for weeks before doing what takes barely two minutes to do.
- Driving with Busted Lights
- Low Pressure on Tires
- Bald Tires
- Excessive Vehicular Emissions
- Missing or Cracked Mirrors and Windows (especially windshields)
So there you have it--Manny's list of driving pet peeves and more. I'm looking for two things:
- Additional items that I overlooked
- Items that perhaps should be in a different category than the ones I have listed
- Comments on specific things that policy makers and enforcers can do that they're not already doing (i.e. a safety exam when renewing a license at the DMV, or finding a way to address the numerous out-of-state registrants that clearly live here, not Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Florida)
The finalized list will appear in a brochure I'm creating for local distribution which I'll make available for download here and on Facebook. Thanks for reading!
Brooklyn, New York
"Más vale morir luchando, que vivir muriendo."