Sometimes I am an angry driver and I believe that it’s not always my fault. A couple of weeks ago I examined a number of reasons why so many city drivers are aggressive and full of rage as soon as they jump behind the wheel of their car. Today I am going to look at a few more, and these, for the most part are the cause of much of my stress as a driver in the city.
Illegally parked or stopped cars on main roads
This is an issue that angers not only me but also his Worship John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto. Traffic is slowed or sometimes comes to a standstill if just one vehicle is stopped on the side of a major city street, in particular at rush hour. It means all cars in that lane need to push their way into the other lane. Often when I am faced with this situation, when the car ahead of me suddenly puts the four-way flashers on and stops in a no-stopping zone, I need to change lanes and hope that the car in the lane next to mine is polite enough to let me in. Usually the person is not so kind.
Large delivery vehicles blocking a side street
Delivering parcels or furniture to homes on small cramped city streets is a challenging job. I don’t doubt that driving around the city in a large vehicle and trying to find somewhere to park that vehicle can be tremendously stressful. However, I am also quite sure that these delivery drivers do not need to turn polite easygoing car drivers into crazy people as we attempt to squeeze past the giant trucks on side streets. If there is parking on only one side of a one-way street, for example, why does the delivery truck have to park on the other side and block the road? My passenger side mirror was once lopped off by one of these said trucks, who easily could have parked on the other side of the street where there were a ton of empty spots. Don’t block the road!
Right of way on a narrow two-way street
Most downtown two-way streets are designed with space for two cars across. That means that cars can drive down the street in both directions, with space for each to drive. If cars are parked (legally parked cars I mean!) on one side of the street it means there is now only space for one car to drive down the street. If the cars are parked on the opposite side of the street than the side I am driving on I believe that I have the right of way. The cars driving in my opposite direction are supposed to wait while I drive by then they are supposed to go around the parked cars once I am out of the way. So why is it that many cars not only don’t wait but I can sense their aggression as they accelerate when they see me and intentionally don’t let me pass – or make me jump onto the curb so I don’t hit them? Wait your turn!
Turning left when the sign says no left turn
I would consider myself to be a law-abiding driver. I stay within a few kilometres of the speed limit, I stop at stop signs and I follow turning signals. When I see a sign at traffic light that states “no left turn between 4-6 pm” and it’s 4:09 pm, I don’t turn left at that light. It’s very simple. I will give a pass to the odd driver who doesn’t notice the sign, signals, waits then realizes and does not turn. I will be angry, however, with the driver who sees the sign, signals, hears the honking horns and sees the line-up behind and turns anyway. These rules are there to help keep traffic flowing even if it is an inconvenience to most of us. Just please follow the signs.
Blocking side streets when sitting in traffic
This one is a bit more complicated but can turn me into an angry driver. Sometimes you are in traffic on a busy street and you can see for blocks ahead that you are going to inch your way forward. Every time you move is exciting and you jump at each opportunity to gain even a foot or two of the road. You approach a side street off to your right and you know that traffic is so slow that you can’t clear this minor intersection. You move ahead those few feet anyway and block the road.
Now I am driving along in the opposite direction and need to turn into said side street. You just can’t bear to wait to move forward those next few inches, so you block me from making my turn. Why can’t you keep the access to the side street clear? Does it slow you down that much to let me through? Now you are still stuck in traffic and I am an angry driver.
Please keep sending me your thoughts, comments and suggestions for what turns you into an angry driver or ways we can all make the roads a less stressful place to drive. And as I had mentioned, coming up soon I will also look at the relationship between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers on our busy roads. Please post your comments here or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.