My first car was a 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta. Then I had a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. Then a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro. Now a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox. Until actually typing that, I didn’t realize that I’ve only ever had Chevys. Hmmm… but I digress.
My mother taught me how to drive. The first thing she made me do was learn how to park the car. For the longest time, I couldn’t drive anywhere, but she’d let me park the car. I thought she was legitimately crazy for it at the time. Now, I’m grateful for it. I can park my car – any car – anywhere! Parallel parking is a breeze. I can pull in, back in… if there’s a space, I can get in it. Thanks Momma! Years later, my daddy taught me how to drive a stick. I’m a beast – hills and all!
I’ve been driving for about 16 years. I have only caused 2 accidents. One of them is suspicious – the woman was up to mess and my insurance company fought it and didn’t pay her anything. So for all intents and purposes, I’ve only caused one accident. I was either 17 or 18. A kid ran in the street and the car 2 cars ahead of me slammed on the brakes to avoid the kid. Then they drove off. The car in front of me – with no functioning brake lights – slammed on the brakes. I didn’t see the brake lights so I slid right under that car’s bumper. No damage for them, but I demolished the hood of the car I was driving. Smh. My mother still to this day will not let me live it down. It was my very first accident and it terrified me.
I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of driving Northern and Southern California, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now the DMV area. So NorCal drives much slower than SoCal. Literally. The speed limits on their freeways is 55 mph. The speed limits on the freeways in SoCal is 65. We SoCal folks live in the land of traffic. If you disagree, you’re just wrong. Try going 10 miles in an hour on the 405 in any direction between 2pm and 8pm on a weekday. And don’t think that you won’t catch traffic at 3am. Its a mess. We understand the importance of getting to where you are trying to go as efficiently and effectively as possible. I can’t remember the year, but the report that listed the worst freeway interchanges had about 5 major interchanges of the SoCal freeways in the top 10.
People in Pittsburgh can’t drive. PERIOD. Most streets are one lane in each direction. Imagine you’re driving along. You have the right of way, the road is clear, no pedestrians, but for some unnecessary reason the person in front of you just stops. Then you realize, they just held up traffic to let someone pull out of a driveway. Or they held up traffic to let someone make a left turn in front of them. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever. And I’m not talking about times where traffic is backed up and you would have blocked the driveway so they’re letting someone out. I’m talking about holding up traffic to let people do random things.
Now I’m in the DMV. The driving is better than Pittsburgh – but that’s not saying much. It’s closer to NotCal but not quite SoCal. Folks are still dilly dallying around. There is no efficiency or effectiveness to the driving. Add the major tourist factor to the area. Ugh. I’ve seen more right turns from the left lane in the 2 months I’ve been here than in my entire driving career.
People can’t drive. I wrote a few posts on another blog awhile ago about the different cars and their driving habits. I might have to reblog those. They were based on California but they hold true for other states.
PS – I hate the way Saturday Night Live makes fun of us Californians and how we describe how to get somewhere!!! We are trying to be helpful. But you know what? Follow your GPS. End up in the middle of rush hour traffic and be stuck for 4 hours while we’re taking the streets and the shortcuts! 🙂