Drivers Gone Wild: A Case Study

Summernats_(6646594601)They say you can learn a lot about people by what they say, what they wear, what they eat, blah, blah, blah. I’ve recently discovered, thanks to a three-day road trip from lovely Upstate New York to super lovely Central Florida, that you can learn a lot about people by the way they drive. That’s provided you’re lucky enough to survive the road rally occurring every day south of the Mason-Dixon line. Ya’ll know what I mean if you’re indigenously predisposed to living and/or driving in the south.

Allow me to start at the beginning of our journey in relating to you what I affectionately refer to as Drivers Gone Wild: A Case Study.

The fun began as we pulled away from our estate at Windsorshire at approximately 6:15 AM; just early enough to avoid rush hour traffic but late enough to say we actually slept. Upon entering the highway we were greeted by the most prolific type of driver known to exist natively in Rochester, NY. I call him the “Turnkey pointer.” Why, you ask?

The Turnkey Pointer is a rare species of driver only found within 50 miles of the Greater Rochester area. It is known for the habitual practice of turning the key, pointing the car in any general direction, and hoping for the best. The Turnkey Pointer is often observed attempting full right turns from the left lane, random slow-downs and speed-ups, and, as its signature move, taking three-and-a-half miles to slow down before turning into Wegmans.

The mating ritual of the Turnkey Pointer is even more peculiar. It involves activating the blinker and just letting it ride until another Turnkey Pointer of the opposite sex, or an entire line of them for that matter, falls in behind. Somewhere between the start of this ritual and, say Cleveland, the original Pointer will decide to turn into a neighborhood, in the opposite direction of the turn signal, and whomever follows is the chosen mate. It’s similar to what peacocks do except that the colors are not as visually stimulating.

On To Pennsylvania

A few hours into our journey we crossed the border into the land of Pennsylvania (state motto: Taking so Long to Drive Through, You’ll Wish You’d Never Been Born) and its mountainous terrain. Having lost my wireless signal the instant we crossed the border (I swear I’m not making that up) I had the next 24 miles to do nothing but observe the various species of drivers in the Quaker State. Two stood out to me: the Silver Grilled Mountain Terror and the Yellow Bellied Nervous Nellie. Both species do well in areas known for mountainous structures like the Rockies, the Appalachians, and the ego of President Barack “the neophyte” Obama.

But I digress.

The Silver Grilled Mountain Terror prefers large-ish vehicles. Vehicles capable of hauling several tons of cargo thanks to multiple axles, large engines, and the signature silver grill which tends to resemble the open jaws of Jaws bearing down on you from behind, at a brisk 95 mph.

Said drivers tend to travel in packs and chatter on CB radios using names like Road Kill Warrior, Hell on Wheels, and the Truckinator. Occasionally a Silver Grilled Mountain Terror wannabe by the name of “Crunchy” tries to join the pack in a beat-up 1973 Chevy pickup complete with the Union Jack and dual exhaust sticking straight up from behind the cab. Crunchy rarely lasts long in the fight for male dominance.

The Yellow Bellied Nervous Nellie also enjoys large vehicles like the Cadillac Yacht Road Touring Edition or the Buick SkyPig. It’s too bad these road warriors can seldom get their vehicles moving any faster than Fred Flinstone with a painful bunion. But to their credit, they keep their cars on the road despite the fact that the age of most Yellow Bellied Nervous Nellies is somewhere between 74 and 109-ish. And the Amish love them, by the way. They are the only species of Pennsylvania driver old Jedidiah has a real chance of beating in a 50-yard drag race!

To Maryland and Beyond

Crossing the border into Maryland (state motto: Our Name Might be Girlie but We have Two Super Bowl Trophies, Buster!) felt like something out of  Smokey and the Bandit which, by the way, was an awesome movie if you love 1970s films featuring fast cars, big trucks, and very little by way of plot lines. From Maryland to the tip of Florida Smokey and the Bandit is a cultural masterpiece if my observations of traffic are any indication.

As we drove deeper into the South I observed only one type of driver: the Southern Speed Demon. In order to understand this creature one need only remember the Tasmanian Devil of Looney Tunes fame. Throw the serenity-challenged Taz behind the wheel of your favorite motor vehicle, give him a couple of shots of Monster, and let him go. Work that around your imagination for a few minutes and you’ll know just what I’m talking about.

The Southern Speed Demon seems to believe I-95 is his own personal racetrack with minimal turns and absolutely no caution flags. I swear you can have an empty rearview mirror and then, in the blink of an eye, see a maniacal driver coming up on you with the vulture-like zeal of the office staff on Free Lunch Friday. By the way, Free Lunch Friday would be a great name for the next Bieber album if he can pull himself together. But any way, If you’re from up north you’re better off just finding a lane and staying there until you reach your destination or you face the real possibility of running out of gas. Even then, attempting to get off at the next exit can be a challenge.

I’m happy to say despite all of the lunatics on the road we safely made it to the Sunshine State all in one piece. We didn’t win the race, mind you, but we also weren’t subject to polite conversations with state troopers or phone calls to the insurance company. Hopefully the drive home can be just as uneventful.

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