Sights That Strike Fear--and Loathing--in the Hearts of Urban Drivers

I've been driving around Houston a lot this January, from the northwest part of the county to the medical center hospitals and beyond.

As I'm stuck in traffic, I find myself musing about things I see.

This morning when I was frantic to get somewhere on time, I was stuck on FM 1960, aka Cypress Parkway, as the driver of an 18-wheeler attempted to back into a driveway bordered by a 2 story building on one side and tall street lights on the other. The driveway he was attempting to access was about the width of a single-car driveway.

For 20 minutes, all 3 lanes on the eastbound side were blocked as he repeatedly reversed, stopped, pulled forward, reversed again at a slightly different angle stopped, pulled forward, etc. Finally, he succeeded.

As I watched, I made a mental list of things that strike fear in the heart of the urban driver. Here's my list for your consideration.

Sights That Strike Fear--and Loathing--in the Hearts of Urban Drivers

1. An 18-wheeler crossways in the street on which you're traveling. (Of course! What else would be number 1?)

2. Surveyors making measurements on a street you're forced to drive every day. (Oh, no! That always means they're going to tear up the street, shutting traffic down to a trickle as they attempt to "improve" the street.)

3. Drivers going slower than the traffic. (When you get even with them, you'll always see that they're either: texting, punching in a phone number on their cell, or checking the GPS app on their cell. My husband insisted I add, "Or putting on makeup.")

4. Drivers zooming along at NASCAR speeds. (When you get even with them, you'll see that they're doing the same as #3!)

5. A construction truck setting out traffic cones that tell you when you drive the route going home, the lanes will be closed down to one. (Never fails!)

6. Drivers who seem to be terrified of the traffic in this metropolis. They're SO cautious you begin to think that they're just a wreck looking for a place to happen.

7. Drivers who are aggressive speed demons. You find yourself wondering why a cop is never around when you want one. (These jackasses drivers need to be ticketed. Better yet, confiscate their tank-like SUVs, and pull their licenses!)

8. Drivers attempting to read while they drive. (Contractors, if you need to read the work order where you're needed, pull to the side of the road! Don't try to read anything when you're driving. Not a text. Not directions. And for heaven's sake, not a book! I saw a woman holding a paperback book across her steering wheel!! Her eyes were on the book more than the road.)

Come on, people. Distractions kill. You might as well be blind drunk and behind the wheel as to be texting, reading, phoning, or any of the other distractions in which too many drivers engage. Keep your eyes and your mind on the road. Everything else can wait. It's not just your life at stake, but the lives of all the drivers around you.

Takeaway Truth

After hours in that kind of traffic, it's a relief to get home.

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