I live in northern Virginia and we have our own brand of road rage here. It happens often and is a regular part of our lives. Just a few short miles away is the famous mixing bowl. It’s the confluence of three major highways. I’ll give VDOT some props on fixing it up these past years. I used to have to perform some Evil Knievel type moves to get onto 395 north.

When I was working (oh so long ago), I used to take breaks once and awhile and walk outside near the corner of Duke St. and Washington St. in old town Alexandria. This intersection is host to lots of near and actual accidents, mad drivers, and crazy people. Seriously—to any law enforcement official reading this—you should just go camp out there and you’ll get a year’s worth of ticket quotas in a matter of days.

But since I’m not there anymore, I’m getting glimpses of bad driving on other roads and thought I’d share my list of driving related pet peeves. 

10. Not signaling.
Hello! It’s me, Dawn, the gal behind you who can’t read your mind but who would like to have a little notice that you’re turning or switching lanes so I can oh, I don’t know, apply the breaks a bit sooner or maybe change lanes myself. What’s that? The lever for signaling is too far from your index finger and you’d have to extend that finger in order to push it up or down? Gee, that’s too bad, precious.

9. Pulling out onto a road right in front of another car and then driving really slowly in front of them.
This is especially offensive when there is no traffic behind the car that is already on the road. Try waiting an extra ten seconds and pull out after that car—nice and slow.

8. Getting really distracted by your kids, cell phones, pets, etc.
If you can’t keep your eyes and your focus on the road, then pull over and deal with the problem, don’t do it in the lane next to me going 50 miles per hour.

7. Sticking your middle finger out, using foul language, obnoxiously honking your horn, speeding up and tailgating, or any other immature road rage behavior.

6. Staying in the left lane when you aren’t passing.
The left lane is for passing folks. You’re forgiven if you have to make a left turn soon, but generally speaking, get out of the way if you’re not.

5.  Motorcycles (or any other vehicle) driving way to fast, in and out of traffic, basically scaring the crap out of everyone on the road.
If you really feel the need to drive like that, go to a race track. There is nothing that important to get to that you have to endanger other people. (Except if you’re Jack Bauer.)

4. Parking in someone else’s (my) driveway.
Those of you who live in nice single family homes are probably thinking this would be cause to call the police or a tow truck. Those of us in townhomes and apartments with small driveways are subject to the lazy neighbor or their friends who don’t want to park in one of the public spaces a few yards away. If you want Grendel to start peeing on your flowers and grass, just block me in one more time. This also holds true for people who park in spots marked reserved.

3. Reading while driving.
I’m not talking about sneaking a peek at a map. I’m talking about having the latest Grisham novel open next to the steering wheel. If you think I’m kidding, then hold on to your britches. I’ve seen this happen more than once. How dumb do you have to be to think that’s okay?

2. Tailgating.
This has to be one of the most obnoxious and dangerous behaviors of stupid car drivers. I can’t say enough about how dumb and irresponsible this is.

1. Pedestrians who cross against the light.
This isn’t driving behavior but it affects those of us in the cars. It’s incredibly annoying, disrespectful, and dangerous to walk through intersections against the light—or when you know the light is turning and you’ll be in the intersection when it’s red. And if you aren’t crossing at a light then double shame on you. You may think it’s okay for you to just run across and no one will care. Well I’ve got news for you. We do care. Rush hour is a nightmare in the DC metro area. We don’t need you causing five cars to miss the light because you can’t wait your turn. We also don’t need to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting you because we are paying attention to traffic and not expecting a person to be running in front of us. Just because you aren’t in a car doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to traffic signals (and that goes for you bike riders, too).

If any of these items comes as a shock to you as being wrong or offensive, then I implore you to visit your local DMV and take a new driving test. Either that or stay out of my neighborhood please. And for you out of towners visiting DC, think of the beltway as a watch with north being 12 o’clock and south being 6 o’clock. The inner loop runs clockwise and the outer loop runs counterclockwise. And the speed limit is actually 65 and not what those pesky signs say.

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