Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've come to the conclusion there are two kinds of drivers in Oklahoma: courteous drivers and scoundrels.

My drive home from work today took thirty minutes longer than usual because of construction on Broadway Extension. I appreciate that the lanes need to be narrowed so construction can proceed. What irks me are the drivers who either don't know or don't care about merging into traffic.

One school of thought - and I think this is what they teach in driver's education classes - is that a responsible driver should merge into traffic as soon as they see a "Lane Closed Ahead" sign. Sounds like a good idea. But the scoundrels zoom past dozens of cars only to cut in line at the last possible moment, leapfrogging past all the responsible drivers waiting patiently in line.

We've all seen this happen. And there's nothing we can do about it.

Some scoundrels seem to take great pleasure in cutting in line as fast as possible. They probably were the bad kids in grade school who cut in lines. Now there's no teacher to put them back in their place; they can get away with it.

Other scoundrels inch along, five or ten miles an hour faster than the responsible drivers, with their turn signal on. They're still leapfrogging, but they seem apologetic about it. OK, just stop until a nice responsible driver lets you merge. Don't continue taking advantage of the situation.

In my side mirror this evening I saw one such kind person waiting for an opportunity to merge. Behind them was an impatient scoundrel who drove onto the shoulder to get around them so they could jet down the lane in front of them. They just couldn't wait patiently for their turn in line.

Another sore spot is Broadway southbound approaching 63rd Street, where the right lane merges. I've seen scoundrels move over onto the shoulder in order to pass traffic and get as far ahead as possible. Maybe they're late for work, but I always understood you weren't supposed to drive on the shoulder. And certainly not at 60 miles an hour!

Occasionally I've toyed with straddling the stripes, hoping to discourage a scoundrel from leapfrogging me. I know, that's against the rules too, but hopefully I won't get hit in the rear or sideswiped. I've had a few near misses, I must admit. Maybe there's magic in numbers - maybe if all the good drivers straddled the stripes and we worked in unison, we could curb the illicit behavior. But then they wouldn't be good drivers themselves, and it would run against their nature. So much for mob mentality, I suppose.

What really aggravates me is the scoundrel who cuts between me and the car in front of me. I leave a little room so I won't hit the car in front of me if they slam on their brakes. But the scoundrels apparently have amazing parallel parking skills. One car I've seen, on several occasions, cut from the disappearing right hand lane across my center lane to the left lane, all with no signal light! No telling how many hundreds of cars they bypassed.

Everyone wants to get to work as fast as possible, and get home again at the end of the day. With no rapid transit in Oklahoma, we're dependent on the highways. And, while I see an occasional motorcycle cop on Sunday afternoons, they all seem to disappear during rush hour. Maybe if they rode three abreast down Broadway Extension, like pace cars in the Indy 500, they would deter scoundrelous behavior. I'm sure the State or city could use the extra money from fines. Maybe the job is just too much for them, much as Mexico can't control the drug lords.

I consider myself a pretty conservative driver. I haven't had a speeding ticket since 1979, and I'd like to keep that record intact. But unless there's a little more law enforcement presence on the highways, there's nothing to discourage the scoundrels from their nefarious activity. The good guys, waiting patiently in line, don't stand a chance.

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