So where are we at, the fourth? About half a week into the new year? I kind of hate January, because all the real holidays are over for a while, and there's nothing in the near future to look forward to.
On the other hand, traffic isn't quite as bad.
Maybe this happens everywhere, I don't know. But every year, the day after Thanksgiving, traffic in Austin gets panda-fuck stupid. Black Friday, people get insane behind the wheels of their cars, rushing around, cutting people off, crashing into each other.
Basically, they drive like brain-damaged monkeys with penises for eyes.
And it doesn't get better. From that day, it actually gets worse, like people have to collect on their insurance before the end of the year, or something. "Baby, if I don't total out the car before January, all those payments we've been making are worthless!"
I always expect it to go away after Christmas. There's no need to rush around buying gifts, right? But no, it just gets continually worse.
It's not just people driving fast, either--they drive reckless and they don't pay attention to the things going on around them. And when I say they drive reckless, I feel like it's kind of important that you understand what I mean. Two years ago, I saw a woman stop at the bottom of an off-ramp, wait for the traffic to clear on the service road a bit, and then she flipped a U-turn down a one-way street. To get to Costco. People all up the exit ramp--as well as the exit lane--had to slam on their brakes and swerve, which caused the other lanes of traffic to do the same. This was so she didn't have to go around the block to get to Costco. I like discount celery, too, lady, but not enough to endanger lives.
I have seen people drive two cars to a lane because they both wanted to turn, and neither one wants to surrender.
I once saw a guy decide he wasn't waiting at the exit ramp any more, and crossed the median. But he hit a sign on the way across. The yield sign that told him he had to wait to exit.
One time, I saw a woman get in an accident, and her and the other motorist pulled to the left side of the road to inspect the damage. They decide it's not worth bothering with insurance, and they both get into their cars. She pulls out, drives about twenty feet, and then sideswipes a vehicle in the right lane. I promise I'm not making it up--although, to be fair, that one might have been in the summer.
These are the examples I can think of off the top of my head, but there are more--a lot more--and there are worse.
I mean, any city is going to be filled with shitty drivers, right? It's part of the human condition--we all want the world to be our way, so traffic, by extension feels like we're doing everything right while everyone else is doing everything wrong.
I'll admit--I'm not the best driver in the world. I'm pretty good, because I've done it for a living for over a decade (various jobs, various sizes of vehicles), and the only accident I've had was when I plowed into a gigantic dog on an overpass on the toll road.
It was raining, and just as I got to the top of the overpass--where no dog should ever be--I saw not one, but two dogs. Great Danes, I think, because they were the size of deer. And they were just playing around on the highway, wrestling around with each other, jumping around, chasing each other. Like they were playing in the yard.
But they weren't playing on a yard--they were playing on a high-ass overpass in the pouring rain. I drive a pickup that tends to drift even on dry roads--if I want to turn while it's raining, I'm better off just slamming on the brakes and hoping the ensuing hydroplane will take me in the right direction.
Still, I edged my truck over into the far left lane, as far from the dogs as I could get. So of course, just as I neared them, they rushed my way. I hate to break it to all of you dog people, but when it comes down to causing a major accident on a busy overpass or killing a dog, the dog's done.
I felt bad about it, but that dog was pretty stupid anyway.
Wait, why the hell am I talking about killing dogs?
Oh yeah, to prove what a good driver I am. You're convinced now, right? Sheesh.
Anyway, sometimes I do dumb stuff. Like, I'll start talking, and the light will change from red to green, and maybe it takes me a few seconds to notice. Or I'll run over a cyclist (although that shouldn't count, because it's on purpose. In fact, I should get more credit for my driving skills, considering how hard those assholes try to get away).
I'm not a perfect driver. But I'm better than probably 90% of the people here. And during the holidays, they all get worse.
So every January, I'm kind of glad the holidays are over, if only so they'll take their shitty drivers with them.
There are still stragglers, of course. For example, there's the guy from today who was in the far left lane and decided he needed to exit. So he sped across three lanes of traffic, almost hitting someone in each one, before getting to the exit lane. And then he decides that's not the exit he needs after all, and crosses all three lanes again to get in the fast lane. In a matter of ten second, he almost caused sic accidents, and it didn't even faze him.
So the roads are always a dangerous place around here, I suppose. Holidays, come back!