dilemmanade
Monday, May 02, 2011
 
Memo to Fellow Urban Hellhole Drivers

I figure that the ubiquity of video games-- the fact that most people driving today played car racing games before they learned to drive-- has contributed mightily to the aggressive way people drive in My Urban Hellhole (TM Atrios). People seem to treat driving like a game.

It's as if you get points for every car you pass, which is why some people constantly change lanes or use the right turn lane to pass. And it's as if you lose points for every car that passes you, which is why people resist allowing others to change lanes if it means the other car will end up in front of them.

Driving being a game is why people speed up and go through lights turning red, even though they're probably going to end up stopped at another red light a couple of blocks later with the same car in front of them and the same car behind them.

And it's why the posted "maximum speed limit" is actually a minimum speed limit. If someone were to drive around My Urban Hellhole (TM Atrios) at less than the maximum speed limit, it would seriously annoy people.

And I suppose it's why people hate cameras at intersections. Shouldn't you be allowed to cheat and get away with it if there are no cops around? There are no cameras at intersections in car racing video games!

All that being said...

Car horns are loud. Really loud. On purpose. So that in an emergency using them will have a great and instant effect on other drivers. When you lay on your horn because someone hasn't noticed the light has changed, or you think they should go but they don't, or whatever, that horn makes a Really. Big. Noise.

Now, you may not know this, but I drive around with my window down because I don't have air conditioning. I also don't have a car stereo (long story). The person you are honking at may have their windows up, their air conditioning blowing, and be listening to music. And yes, the long loud blast of your horn will surely cut through all that ambient noise and alert them to your distress that they aren't moving.

But your horn might be only a few feet from my open window, and thus my head, and thus my ear. And when it is, that blast about blasts me right out of my car. I instinctually try to leap out of my seat; it's fortunate that I am restrained by the shoulder harness and seat belt, but even so, I am seriously rattled.

Fellow Urban Hellhole dweller, why not tap your horn once quickly? And if the offending party doesn't respond to your satisfaction, tap slightly longer twice. Build up to the long loud blast so I have time to shut my window or move away.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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