Driving Rants

I'm in the unfortunate position of having to commute 80 miles a day in the Bay Area. I see a lot of idiocy on the roads, and below are my least favorite types of drivers.

These are drivers who drive 10-20 MPH slower than the rest of traffic in one of the fast lanes. Like a rock in a stream, traffic flows around them as other drivers navigate around these bozos. Do these people genuinely not realize that when you have cars zooming by you left and right and miles of space in front of you that you should move over, or do they experience some sadistic pleasure in slowing everyone else down ? I consider these drivers more dangerous than the "Personal ambulance drivers" because this type of driver turns a good driver into a serial-swerving maniac on the road.
Personal ambulance drivers
It's pretty easy to spot these idiots. When traffic gets dense and the flow of cars starts slowing down, these drivers will swerve into a lane, accelerate until almost hitting the car in front of them, and then wildly weave into lane with some open space. Never mind the fact that everyone else has to apply their brakes when these morons cut in front of them, slowing down drivers behind them, because these people are obviously much more important than all other motorists on the road. I call them "Personal ambulance drivers", because they drive like they are rushing a woman going into labor to the hospital. The BMW M3 seems to be the car most likely to carry this nuisance.
Lexusitus sufferers
These poor drivers are afflicted with a serious degenerative disease that makes them unable to keep their car in the proper lane or pay attention to traffic, because they can't stop yapping on the car phone. I used to think that all Lexus drivers were raging alcoholics, due to the way their cars swerve all over the road, but it turns out they are busy using the phone. I have no idea how these people avoid getting into car accidents every day. I know that when I got in my car accident on HWY 101, it was because I let my eyes off the road for a split-second, and that was when the car in front of me decided to break really hard. How anyone can use the phone and drive and not total their car is beyond me.
SUV commuters
Three of the biggest reasons consumers purchase these hulking giants of the road are: 1) To be able to see over other traffic 2) to be safe in a car accident and 3) to go off-roading if necessary. I would have to assume that the atrocious gas mileage, bloated tailpipe emissions, poor acceleration, awful braking, terrible handling, and a tendency to roll over are just icing on the cake.

Now the funny part is that SUVs are starting to outsell passenger cars so that 1) You can't see over other traffic (everyone is driving a SUV !) 2) You aren't safe in your SUV anymore because the chances of smashing into a SUV instead of creaming some poor passenger car keep going up as SUV sales grow and 3) Almost no-one ever goes off-roading in their car because they want to keep their monstrosity pristine. I know #3 is true, because, what does almost EVERY used SUV ad prominently display ? That's right, "NEVER USED OFF-ROAD"!

For those of us driving normal cars, we 1) can't see ahead of the next car anymore because it is a massive SUV, and 2) get squished in an accident with a SUV.

Of course, everyone knows why people are "driven" to buy SUVs. Station wagons and minivans don't project the sexy image of the rough and tough frontier pioneer while pulling out of a parking space at the local grocery store.

The Highway 17 Page of Shame has some nice things to say about SUVs, and so does the The Ultimate Poseur Sport Utility Page.

Do these people come from some utopian world where car accidents never happen ? These cretins slow down to 5 MPH and slothfully amble past any accident scene, car on fire, road-kill, rabbits mating on the shoulder, etc. Anything on the side of the road is worth slowing down everyone else on the freeway, presumably to snap some pictures for the family photo album. These people deserve to be slapped hard.

Political Rants

I'm getting used to seeing Steve Forbes tout his "flat-tax" every couple of years or so. He goes on and on about how simple life would become for everyone, and how everyone would be better off. The big problem I have with this is following: The government takes in $X in tax revenue every year. If the $X is greater than what it spends, there is a surplus. If not, there is a deficit. Nothing you can do will change that. This means that every year the government has to take in a certain amount of tax revenue. And if you give a tax break to a certain group of tax payers that means either running a deficit, spending less, or raising taxes on another group of tax payers. The first option is not a good idea, the second is pretty unlikely, so the last option is the most likely. And I don't know about you, but the notion that some millionaire is going to simplify taxes so that he pays more and I pay less seems pretty unlikely to me. I think the above Dilbert cartoon nicely sums up the whole ridiculous mess.