Pet Peeves: Driving Related

One of the advantages of growing older is that some of my pet peeves from earlier years no longer seem to matter. In fact, you might say I’ve outgrown them. In truth, it’s more likely I’ve forgotten about them.

And one disadvantage of growing older is that I keep adding new pet peeves to the list.

Although I feel confident I’ll write about other pet peeves in the weeks and months to come, I wanted to share some that are driving and traffic related. Here goes:

  • I’m happy to yield to pedestrians in parking lots, even if they’re not in a crosswalk. Although I appreciate it when they wave to me in thanks, I don’t expect it. But what irritates the daylights out of me is when they cross in front of me without even looking to see if the way is clear. Oh, well. I haven’t killed–or even hit–anyone yet.
  • When the light turns green, I’m not apt to think to check whether somebody is running a red light from the side. This situation is even more dangerous when I or any other driver is clipping along at the speed limit and doesn’t have to stop at the light because it’s just turned green.
  • The former 7/Eleven (now a BP station) just around the corner from us has exits on two streets: Cedar Lane and Colonial Estates Circle. People don’t have any trouble recognizing that Cedar Lane is a real street and not part of the store exit. Too many of them aren’t that smart when it comes to Colonial Estates Circle, though. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve had to slam on my brakes because an exiting motorist simply didn’t look to his right before leaving the BP parking lot. Yes, of course a stop sign would help, even though there’s no guarantee everyone would stop. At least they’d be warned, though. But who’s going to pay for one? Colonial Estates Circle is a private street.

DSC_1843     exit2

  • Another problem at the same place is people pulling out from the BP and blocking the entrance to Colonial Estates Circle. Because the residents entering Colonial Estates from the south have to make a u-turn and a quick right rather than a simple left turn, they’re not in a position to see at first whether someone is illegally (and foolishly) blocking their turn. Even though I haven’t seen any collisions there yet, having to stop with the tail end of the car sticking out and blocking heavy Route 1 traffic is a real hazard. A “Do not block roadway” sign would help, but whose responsibility would it be?
  • And I won’t even talk about drivers on a two-lane road who tailgate impatiently when I’m rolling along at or just slightly over the speed limit.

Okay. That’s enough griping for now. Thanks for letting me complain to you rather than to my wife for a change.

I’ll bet you have some pet peeves, too. Maybe regarding traffic, maybe about something else. How about sharing a few of them in a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

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When Should an Older Adult Quit Driving?

I’m smiling as I think about my father’s driving. For just about as far back as I can remember, he drove as creepingly slowly as any stereotypical little old man. That started years before he became a little old man, although his driving got appreciably worse as he grew older. He continued to drive until a few days before his death. Probably up to the day before he had to be hospitalized for the last time.

As a widow, my mother was in a quandary about driving. Her health wasn’t good, and she readily agreed that it probably wasn’t good for her to continue driving. So on the condition that I would drive her when needed, she let me trade in the Crown Victoria along with my car of the time and get a new car. One that we could conveniently put her walker–and soon thereafter her wheelchair–in.

My parents were in their eighties when they died. My mother had quit driving when she realized she could no longer do it safely. My father probably should have quit, but hadn’t.

What about me? I’m only sixty-eight and in good health.

But a year or two ago I drove through a wire barrier I didn’t see, and a few months ago I backed into a light post I couldn’t have missed seeing if I’d been more alert. I’ve always hated night driving, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to feel even vaguely comfortable doing.

Last night I rode to a meeting with a friend. And I’ve asked my wife to please start being the driver for Wednesday night and Sunday night church activities.

But I’m far from needing to give up driving completely. I’ve never hit anyone or even been in an accident with another vehicle. I don’t feel uncomfortable with daytime driving in familiar territory.

So what’s the big deal? Why write this blog post?

Honestly? I think I just needed to think all of this through and realize that I simply need to be more careful. Especially in parking lots!

What about you? What’s your opinion about or experience with older drivers? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out . If you’re interested, here’s the Amazon link.

Best regards,
Roger

Learning to Drive

While my high school classmates were busy taking driver ed, I was busy lamenting the fact that my parents had one car. Because my father was a minister, that car would seldom be available once I learned to drive. And since my mother was a stay-at-home mom and I didn’t have a job, either, the prospects of paying for the extra insurance were nil. So why bother to learn to drive?

I might explain that I was a lot more timid in those days than I am now and was afraid of doing something really dumb if I took driver ed. Unlike many of my classmates, I had never been behind the wheel of a car. Not while it was moving, anyhow.

Flash forward. To 1968. I realized I couldn’t spend my whole life bumming rides off of other people. Especially the girls I wanted to impress.

One of my English instructors at Frostburg State, Alan Stone, wanted to learn to play guitar. He had a brand-new Ford Falcon, but he was willing to take a chance and swap driving lessons for guitar lessons.

His car had a standard transmission. That sounded like fun. Until I realized that I couldn’t drive anywhere in western Maryland without going up and down hills. And discovered how many of those hills had traffic lights at the top. Lights I always seemed to have to stop for.

Learning to keep from rolling backwards–why did the person behind me always have to stop so close?–kept me alert and constantly nervous.

No mishaps, though. But there was the time I made a bad turn and needed to back up. I overshot where I was supposed to stop by a number of yards. Yes, people were watching, and did they evermore give me the funniest looks.

I failed the test the first time, and I was scheduled to work in a different state that summer after graduation. There wasn’t time to take the test again before I left. So getting my license had to go on hold.

But things got complicated once I obtained a teaching position on the other side of Maryland. I was really going to have to get my license.

I brushed up a little on my driving when I got home, but the local DMV wasn’t giving the test every day, and I needed to leave for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But I learned I could take the test at any DMV office. So, on the drive to the Eastern Shore, my parents took me to the DMV office in a city that was on the way–one that we knew would be testing that day.

I passed! But I was still car-less.

What? You want to know what I did about that? Sorry, but this post is only about getting my license. Hmm. Maybe I’ll give you the rest of the story another day.

What about you? What were your experiences learning to drive? Please leave a comment and share.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,
Roger