On Driving

Driving a borrowed car into the City today, I was struck with several things.

Have signals for bicyclists changed? I understand left, right, slowing or stopping, but what does making an obscene gesture and comparing a driver to an unaltered female dog mean?

Seriously. What is up with double parking? Double parking has to be the most infuriating thing, ever. (For those readers who are blessed, and don’t know what double parking is, it means parking in an active lane of traffic, next to parked cars. As in, the active lane of traffic that people are trying to drive in.) I read an article in the Chronicle recently that said that many large delivery companies like UPS, FexEx, etc. just pay the tickets for double parking, rather than finding real parking to make deliveries, because it would take so long. But the problem is when a huge delivery truck is blocking an entire lane of traffic…it really sucks. It’s even more infuriating when yuppies do it so that they can run into a coffee house and get their lattes. Grmph.

I’m not an old lady when it comes to driving, but the speed limit is a limit, rather than a suggestion. Especially in a borrowed car, I try to be aware of this. I would rather not camp out in the left hand lane going 65 on a freeway with a 65 mile per hour speed limit, really, except that the exit for my house is on the left, and there’s no way I’m going to fight across five lanes of bridge traffic to get to it. So deal. I’m going 65. Chill. Oh, wait, the speed limit on the bridge is 55, isn’t it?

Is CalTrans in San Francisco actually trying to drive citizens insane? I think that they are colluding with MUNI, to try and get more people to take public transit. When they aren’t moving lanes around endlessly, they are randomly closing huge stretches of the freeway, or removing all signage which might suggest what lane people should be in to get to various locations. This is actually a general problem throughout California, a state which is famous for having a plethora of mysterious freeways.

I understand that San Francisco is hard to drive in. Really, I do. I hate doing it, as a matter of fact. But for pete’s sake, stay the fuck out of the BUS ONLY lane, and if you are confused, pull over and get a map or ask for directions. You will not find your destination by driving around aimlessly, because the streets of San Francisco, much like the citizens, are noncomformists. Never trust a street to remain straight, and above all…never trust the street signs.

There’s a reason you can’t turn left on Market.

I realize that driving in California is a unique challenge, and that not everyone is up to the task. It’s like a video game out there, I tell you what. But I really do think that 98% of traffic problems could be solved by people growing a brain and actually using it, as most of the snarls in traffic I encounter are related to people being boneheads. If you’re too stupid to drive, you’re probably too stupid to live, in my opinion. It’s not rocket science, it just requires a little bit of common sense. Perhaps some day, the driving test will include an IQ test as well…