Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Bad" Driver

Let's just have some real talk for a minute.  But first, I'ma need you to find a piece a wood and knock on it.  I'm not about to jinx myself here.

I am a good driver.

I write/say that completely straight-faced.  I'm not being sarcastic.  I know that several people don't agree with me.  Several people that have straight up told me they don't agree with me.  I've been told I'm not defensive enough, I've been told I'm not aggressive enough, and I've been told I'm just not good enough.  I've been told I'm scary, I've been told I'm going too fast, I'm following too closely, I'm not paying enough attention, my hands aren't in the right place, I need to use my mirrors more, I need to use my mirrors less, I need to slow down, I need to speed up, I need to pass that person, I need to let people pass me...  Well guess what, you're all wrong.

Driving advice is like baby advice.  None of it is good unless it's your own.

Here's how I know I'm a good driver:

I've been driving since I was under the age of 5. 
No, I'm not kidding.  I was raised on a farm.  When it was time to feed the cows, my uncle would let us go with him.  He knew I wasn't big enough to push the hay bales out of the back of the truck, so he put it in low gear and I would steer the truck around the field.
Additionally, sometimes, Teh Parents would let me "drive home."  This meant that when we pulled into our driveway that I got to sit on Teh Mom or Teh Dad's lap and steer the car home.  Once I was big enough, we just traded seats and I got to actually drive the car home.  Before you go ape-shit, please remember this was the 90's and we wore seat belts... and my driveway was only 0.1-0.2 miles long.  Not very far, but far enough.
Finally, when we would need to borrow something from the neighbors (we lived in the sticks, if you remember from the Can't Fight Country posts), I would be allowed to drive by myself to the neighbor's house to pick up whatever items we needed, usually eggs since they had chickens and it was easier than going all the way to the store.

The "drive home."

I've driven in highly populated areas.
I lived in Raleigh for 3.5 years.  I lived in VA Beach for almost a year.  I've driven in DC more times than I can count.  I've dealt with rush hour traffic.  Everywhere I go, no one can drive.  It's not an isolated thing.  It's a matter of being aggressive while being defensive.  Sometimes you just have to cut that person off, but you have to be aware if the person you're getting behind is slamming on their brakes.  Awareness is key.

I've driven across the country and up and down the east coast.
I've dealt with highway and interstate driving.  I've dealt with LOTS of highway and interstate driving after a cross country trip from NC to Seattle, WA and up and down the entire east coast.  I've dealt with construction zones and bugs and weather.  I've caravan-ed with people (that I've known and not known).  I've sped a lot.  I've driven down long stretches of interstate with state troopers who were also speeding.  I don't slow down for "authorized access only" roads that connect the interstate where cops sit.  I don't slow down when I see cops on the side of the road.  If I'm speeding, I'm going fast enough for them not to care.  I've got my cruise control set.  I know to pass in the left lane and drive in the right lane and I'm happy to let people pass me, although I dislike it when they make me break my cruise control because they pass too slowly.  I use signal lights like it's nobody's business.  Sometimes, I even use signal lights for sharp turns, it's a strongly ingrained habit.

I've been complimented by a transfer truck driver that I'm a good driver and follower.
He was impressed at my ability to follow him over a long distance while maintaining a safe enough space between our vehicles where other cars wouldn't merge between us and being able to get back behind him when someone did separate us.  He was a professional DRIVER.  Ego = stroked.

I've only been at fault in 1 accident and 1 that didn't count.
I rear-ended a lady leaving high school soon after I started driving (I was still driving Teh Parents vehicles at that time).  I cracked the front plate cover on Teh Dad's Camry and that was it.  There was zero damage to the lady's car.  She didn't even go through the hassle of calling the cops.
The 2nd accident that I was involved in wasn't really an accident but an event.  I was driving back from getting eggs from the neighbor's house (so pre-licensed) and my friend was with me and she screamed, so I slammed on the brakes and the (new) car slid sideways into a steep ditch on the side of the road.  No one was hurt, we just had to get a tractor to pull the car out, and there wasn't a scratch on the car.  Teh Mom made me drive the car home even though I didn't want to.  That was probably the only time in my entire life, ever, I didn't want to drive, Gentle Readers.

I've been involved in at least 3 accidents.
Teh Dad likes to brag that he's never been in an accident.  I like to brag that I have been in accidents.  This gives me more life experience.  I was side-swiped in GTMO by someone who wasn't paying attention that my entire vehicle was on the same road as him, I was side-swiped during my senior year of high school by a lady who failed to yield right-of-way to me, and I once ran a van into a house (in my defense, I was in the passenger seat and I was aiming for the ditch, not the house, but this is a story for another post). 

Yes, my mirror is laying on my trunk.

I've received 2 speeding tickets.
ONLY.  That's it.  They were both while I was in college when I was driving between home, home and Raleigh on the regular.
Ok, and 2 warnings (in SoMD).
Side story: Teh Dad kicked me off his car insurance when I moved to Raleigh because he was sure I was going to get into an accident and make his rates go up.  Sucka, who missed out on that extra discount (yes, I know you're gonna read this eventually)?

I've driven overseas.
Bahrain, Scotland, and Australia, and Cuba if you really want to count that, but the speed limit didn't go over 35mph in most areas, if it wasn't 25mph. 

This means I've dealt with Saudi drivers making left turns from the far right lane which is 4 lanes across, no jk.  I've hit a person who was walking down the side of an alley that I was driving down (nbd, it was just with my side mirror).  I've driven on the "wrong" side of the road (which felt more right than the American "right" side of the road).  I've dealt with weather while driving on the "wrong" side of the road.  I've dealt with not being able to put the vehicle in reverse and having to drive through the grass due to a lack of knowledge about driving a stick shift in Scotland.  I've started down the American side of the road and quickly realized I was playing chicken with the cars in front of me and I was in the wrong.  I've dealt with road signs in other languages.  I've dealt with speed limits not in miles per hour.  I've dealt with stop lights that turn yellow before they turn green.

I can drive a manual (stick-shift).
I learned to drive on a 1990, manual, Ford F-150.  Her name was the Ghetto Mobile.  I'm so short that even with the (bucket) seat pushed all the way up, I still could barely get the clutch down.  But I made it work until Teh Granny bought Teh Kaar for me as my early graduation present.  Teh Kaar was also a stick-shift.  So I drove a manual from January 2003 until I came back to the US, November 2011.

Ghetto Fabulous Mobile

Teh Kaar

I have driven in inclement weather.
Snow, ice, rain, hail, wind, sand.  I've done that.  It's about not making sudden movements and being aware.

I have driven strange vehicles.
I have driven a 15 passenger van.  I have driven friend's vehicles.  I have driven a golf cart.  I have driven a go kart.  I have driven a lawn mower.  I have driven a battery powered Jeep.  I have driven trucks, vans, cars, and SUVs.

I use my phone while I'm driving.
This doesn't necessarily make me a better driver since I'm distracted, but it does mean that I can multi-task.  This also helps me stay awake on long drives.  Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  Falling asleep at the wheel is only a recipe for disaster.

I am used to driving with the dogs in the car.
This really means more gentle acceleration and stops.

I won't tell you when I think negatively of your driving.
As a passenger I have zero rights to do anything but sit down and shut up unless you are putting us in harms way and you aren't aware.  That doesn't mean I won't hang on or press my invisa-brake on the passenger floor board.  It means I don't get to change the radio or the temps unless I'm given express permission or there are dual controls.  It is what it is.  Being the driver = being in control of ALL the vehicle unless the driver states otherwise.  Period.  The distractions of the passenger only endanger everyone in the car and stress out the driver.  It's best to just keep your mouth shut.



  1. Why do women drivers have the worst rep? I'm seriously a freakin' good driver as well, but men rarely believe it! My hubs is the worst back seat (or passenger) driver EVER! He has a bit of OCD and can't stand not being in control of the vehicle, but it still drives me CRAZY when he can't keep his mouth shut!

  2. lol i love this post so much! i used to be a good driver, and i still think i am, but i get more scared now and i drive a lot more carefully than i used to. i also am a really passenger seat driver now, and its all because i had a really bad accident a few years ago.

  3. i think i'm a good driver .... but my record says otherwise LOL

  4. See I do read your blog. Yes I did remove you from my insurance because I knew even back then that the acorn does not fall far from the tree. Yes you drive just like me and yes I caused most of that. All things considered you had done well and yes I do take most of the credit for the redneck training that you received back in the day.


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