Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Driving in the National Capital Region

If you live in the grandly-nicknamed National Capital Region (also known as the "NCR" - DC and its environs, which now extend about to Raleigh, NC, if you're looking for affordable housing), one of the things you get used to is ass clowns who appear to have earned their driver's licenses by inserting nickels into the claw machine at the local arcade until they successfully grabbed one. We even have signs warning about the dangers of "aggressive driving" of the sort practiced by those who graduated from the Heinz Guderian Driving School.

Here are a few of the rules of the road practiced around the NCR ...

1. Drive a pickup truck whether you need one or not. It must be very large with lots of blinding yellow fog lights. These may be mounted on a large bar above the truck's cab, or underneath the front grill for more efficient blinding of people in cars with low ground clearance.

1a. If your truck doesn't have them already, purchase used tires from the largest military transport vehicle you can find (tires must be at least 6' in diameter and have a minimum 18-inch footprint); raise the suspension to allow clearance over ordinary cars.

2. Practice your best scowl. Remember, that this is the only expression you are permitted to show once you're behind the wheel. See also rule #5, below.

3. Weather conditions should always be taken into account when you drive in the NCR.

3a. Under no circumstances should you use windshield wipers - like turn signals, these are optional, and are used for appearance only.

3b. At the first sprinkle of rain or flake of snow, immediately cut your speed by two-thirds; three-fourths is better. Putting on your four-way flashers is optional.

3c. If snow blankets your vehicle, clear a peep-hole just large enough to see what's in front of you; however, this must be done from inside your vehicle! If you can't reach around to the windshield while you are driving, then put on your defroster full blast until you can just see the road.

4. Do not be intimidated by darkness. Headlights should never be used until it's pitch dark, and then only so that you can see the police. Of course, if you have those blinding yellow fog lights (see #1 above), you may use them at any time and in any weather conditions.

5. Be prepared to yell obscenities at and/or give the finger to anything that crosses your path.

6. A "yield" sign or flashing yellow light has no meaning. In the NCR, the "stop" sign is the indication to yield, but only if absolutely necessary. You are never required to come to a complete stop unless the vehicle in front of you does.

6a. At an uncontrolled intersection, the right of way for passage goes first to the largest vehicle, and then to the oldest and most decrepit vehicle.

6b. A black SUV with heavily tinted windows and a motorcycle escort has the right-of-way at all intersections.

7. Driving on the shoulder during periods of heavy traffic (in general, between 5AM and 7 PM) is strongly encouraged.

8. High-speed passing on winding, narrow roads is a mark of the expert driver.

9. Never yield to emergency vehicles, such as ambulances or fire trucks. Less experienced drivers will move out of the way so they can get through. If you were driving properly, they would never have caught up with you in the first place.

9a.  You can gain speed and time by drafting behind emergency vehicles.

10. A fully-experienced NCR driver must master the art of tailgating. With practice, it is possible to maintain a distance of two feet or less between you and the vehicle in front of you without even paying attention! Remember, you are always in a bigger hurry than the driver in front of you.

11. The expert NCR driver has also mastered the basic and advanced techniques of cutting off other drivers. This must be done with great care when cutting off other expert NCR drivers. The best sign that you have properly cut off another driver is that the front of the vehicle you're cutting off nearly hits the ground as it brakes to a screeching halt. Rule #5 applies for both the cutter and the cuttee.

12. Sometimes associated with "cutting off" is the ability to close off gaps in traffic. When you detect a vehicle either trying to pull into traffic or accelerating from behind in an attempt to get past you, you must adjust your speed such that the gap in traffic will not be there when that vehicle gets to it. This requires you to anticipate the other driver's intention while carefully adjusting your speed to intercept him or her at just the right moment to prevent a successful merge.

13. Go ahead and use your cell phone while driving. Even better, send all the text messages you want. Local laws prohibit both, but the law doesn't apply to you.

I hope this helps in planning your pleasant drive through the National Capital Region. You may want to put Dial-a-Prayer on your speed dial, too.

Good luck.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming up.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

This is SO true!! I wonder if those hyperaggressive drivers are the offspring of rednecks and New York cabbies? And the Beltway is worse!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Aaugh! It souns like the Expressway or Memorial Parkway in Huntsville. Those mother truckers are the worst!

KKTSews said...

I am convinced all the bad driving, particularly the wild weaving between lanes and filling any gap between vehicles that MIGHT have been a safe following distance, is the result of people playing video games like Grand Theft Auto. They learn there is no real consequence for wild driving, and start to apply it in a world where physics will eventually come to play.

Sad to say, it's not much better in sleepy 'ol Ohio. No one here knows how to deal with a 4-way stop sign and I've been flipped off by people with elementary school kids in the car. Oh great! Teach lessons here, folks.

The Bastard King of England said...

Heinz Guiderian driving School: Be a highhway Nazi!

KathyA said...

You forgot learning to back up off of exit ramps while not decreasing your speed!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I love these!!

When I first moved her and left a normal amount of space in between cars I realized that some ass clown would speed and weave in front of me and then we 3 would all be on each others asses. I don't get it. God forbid you leave a car length or more between you and the car in front of you! People think that much space just means they can weave in there. Crazy shit!

Mike said...

This is the "I'm in a hurry because I'm important" crowd.

Duckbutt said...

Or the "I need to get to a bathroom before I pee myself" group.

Big Sky Heidi said...

A.M. traffic is hellacious on I-65 by Franklin, TN too.

allenwoodhaven said...

I saw a great cartoon: a highway sign that read "Warning: Jerks and Idiots Next 10,000 miles".

I think it was George Carlin who said a jerk is anyone driving faster than you and an idiot is anyone driving slower. Seems accurate to me!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Makes pittsburgh driving seem like a piece of cake :)

Anonymous said...

Learning to drive in the NCR, I see nothing wrong with most of these. You forgot some, though. While cutting someone off, don't forget to flick them off.
If you think someone is a terrorist, tail them and see how fast they speed up. The faster they go, the more fast you get to go.
Always keep your hand on the horn. You never know when you're going to honk it because someone thinks you're being an ass clown when in fact, they're the one that's an ass clown. And you honk 3X more than they do just to prove it.
If someone has pissed you off, make sure you bottleneck them next to a semi. Maybe their window will get a crack.
Carry a bat. A big one. When the car in front of you slams on breaks because you had cut them off earlier and they somehow, by some miracle, make it STILL in front of you and the light turns red, they get out of the car to start yelling at you. Guns are over-rated. And usually the cops get called.
Just because someone has stopped in the middle of the road for no apparent reason doesn't mean you should too. See how close you can get to the side of their car, honk the horn, yell an obscenity, flick them off and then speed off.
Rubber-neckers. You know you hate them. But you know you're one of them.