The people of Durham can’t drive. Well, most of them can’t. Well, maybe it’s just the ones on the road when I am because it’s pretty frick’n uncanny how every time I drive here I wish more and more that my CRV was less a budget conscious import and more like something out of a Mad Max movie accustom to taking battle damage.
I find this lack of driving ability ironic since the area is surrounded by higher learning institutes known for producing prodigies with remarkable mental power. None the less, every night, I watch drivers jerk spastically into turn lanes they could have been in a mile ago. I watch them slow to a halt when an orange cone appears roadside, like the cone was a T-Rex that attacked based on motion. I watch them forget where they are supposed to exit—and the three previous signs marking said exit—then whip their car across lanes of traffic to perform a death-defying escape from the express way.
I don’t think this would irritate me so badly if I couldn’t foresee the stupid before it happened. But I can predict it, you know, like some curse of seeing the future wherein I’m always furiously screaming and white knuckling my steering wheel.
I can tell by the way a Prius straddles a lane that the Durham roads have confounded it into a potential 12 car pile up. I can tell by the way a F150 swerves across the grass of a missed off-ramp that a traffic jam is going to occur. I can tell by the way the lady speeding next to me is angrily text messaging that if I don’t slow down, it will be me trading paint with her and not the other angry lady texting directly in front of me.
Part of the blame needs to be placed on the City of Durham, which has a road system about as easily mapped as the human Genome. Streets that go one way dump you headlong into streets that go only the opposite way.
This town has on and off-ramps with the same angle and efficiency of a pinball flipper. The amount of space you have to negotiate getting into an express lane in the downtown area is so lacking it forces cars to play chicken if the want to make on. Of course no driver remembers this is an issue, so they never get into the passing lane to prevent weave lane stand-offs. I find myself cringing at the potential accidents as they come hurtling at each other, then I hope they will happen so at least two stupid drivers are eliminated from the demographic, and then, when they don’t, I curse my luck as I slow to stop while they baby-step their way through another merging filibuster.
Even with these road system short-comings, there is no excuse for such a wanton display of bad driving. It’s not like folks around here don’t take pride in their cars. I routinely see big rims on Chevy Luminas, and custom tail lights on lowered, primer covered Honda Civics. But folks, if you’re going to spend the money to pimp out your car, for God sakes figure out how to drive it!
I don’t care how cool your car looks when it’s wrapped around a telephone pole. I don’t care how stunning your rims are when you plow into a concrete median. I don’t even care how good your tints were done when you flip your whip cause you were hate texting your baby daddy.
No, all I care about is the peace of mind that comes with the firm knowledge that when I slow traffic to a crawl while checking out the carnage of your accident, no one is going to rear-end me. Is that too much to ask?