Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Road Rage

What is it about drivng a car that can turn an otherwise mellow person into a raging angry maniac? Honestly, it happened to me this morning. There is a crazy intersection coming out of the Schenley Park at Phipps Conservatory. Coming from the park you have a stop sign. Traffic coming in the other direction doesn't have a stop sign. In order to go toward the Boulevard of the Allies you need to wait for the traffic to break. I was at the stop sign. The idiot behind me started honking. I looked back. He was driving a black Mercedes sports car talking on his phone. He continued to honk as if he wanted me to push my way through oncoming traffic and risk life and limb for him. I watched him as we got on the Boulevard. He weaved through traffic, inbetween lanes as he continued to talk on the cell phone.

I admit. I talk on my cell phone while I drive, but I use a head set. I keep my eyes on the road. Really, if you can afford a brand new Mercedes roadster I would think that you can afford a Bluetooth headset. I wonder how many accidents are caused by people yapping on the cell phone. After I parked this morning I crossed a cross walk that has bright yellow "Yield for Pedestrian" signs. As I was half way through the cross walk a car comes flying down the road, ignoring the crosswalk, signs and pedestrians. I looked up at the car, my life flashing before my eyes, and I saw a lady talking on her cell phone. She did come to a screaching look and gave me a "sorry" look. I really think it's time to make it illegal to talk on cell phones while driving without headsets.

It's not just drivers of cars. I have also seen a new trend: people talking on cell phones while skateboarding. I've seen it by the Squirrel Hill library and in Oakland. I actually saw a guy go flying on his skateboard, through traffic, against a light, while talking on his cell phone. It would have been poetic justice if he got hit by a lady talking on her cell phone while driving a minivan.

I also experienced another form of outrageous inattentive driving recently. One morning I was riding my bike to town using the Jail Trail. At the end of the trail I waited for the light to change so I could merge onto Grant Street. As I crossed the intersection, a woman ran the light, almost hitting me. I pulled along side her and looked into her car. She was reading a novel while she was driving. It wasn't even a good book, it was some trash supermarket novel. I knocked on her window and asked her if the book was good. She seemed surprised. I then explained to her that if she kept reading and driving at the same time she would have a lot of free time in her jail cell to read, after being convicted for vehicular homicide. She promised not to read and drive at the same time anymore. I am rather certain that she is now talking on her cell phone while she drives, or maybe she put a dvd player in her front seat and watches "B" movies while she drives.

I guess the thing is driving can be very dnagerous. It is really insulting that some people have so little respect for others on the road that they feel that they don't have to pay attention while driving. Multi-tasking is great. Rush hour is boring, but let's make sure that we aren't turning our vehicles and boredom into weapons of mass destruction.

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