We’ve all seen them. The ones that turn left from the right lane – forcing a panicky choice between hitting either them or the brakes. The ones that signal twice and then change lanes whether anyone is in the way or not. Those who turn left out of a right turn only driveway, then drive down the wrong side of the street far enough to get on the correct side of the street once they’re past the traffic island put in the middle to keep less than malicious, if not quite intelligent drivers from making sketchy or rude left turns in the first place.
Or maybe it’s those who, after their third DUI, still haven’t figured out that the best way to keep from lurching their cars past the newspaper machines into the liquor section of the grocery store is to not drive when they’ve been drinking. Or it could be the rush hour commuter putting on make-up, drinking coffee, talking on the phone and smoking a cigarette – while zig-zagging in and out of frantic, suicidal velocity traffic. Or perhaps it’s the ones that drive 10 miles under the speed limit on all the curvy, double yellow line stretches of road, then punch it just enough to keep from being passed on the straight, clear stretches until there are fuming lines of frustration strung out behind them halfway back to the last town, on the other side of the mountains.
They’re all part of the clueless, loose nut behind the steering wheel crowd that terrorizes the roads. Everyone of them should be prohibited from loading whatever hijacked third world webpage it is that they use to print their driver’s licenses. Actually, some really ought to be given walking tests before being allowed out in public.
But what about the drive or don’t have a life world we’ve created? Most cities make just getting back and forth to work without a car a big enough challenge. Assuming you’re lucky enough to have a job. And even if public transportation works well enough to make it a reasonable option, how many of those loose nuts do you think are also part of the “You can have my car when you pry my cold, dead fingers off its steering wheel” crowd? For sure, many of them are working hard on arranging just exactly that event, but in the meantime we’re stuck with them.
Obviously, we need is a transportation revolution. To keep things simple let’s assume that we’re not stuck with an intrinsically evil and in any event archaic economic system with so much built-in inflexibility that it can’t even achieve something painfully simple like full employment. In that more perfect world we would realize that we have already produced most of the technological innovation needed to junk all the 100 year-old transportation that requires steering wheels, and along with it the need for nuts, loose or otherwise, to hold onto them.
Along with the steering wheels, the improved, more responsive economic system would allow us to ditch the entire, antiquated fossil fuel paradigm altogether and save the planet along with our nerves. As long as we’re changing things, that is.
It’s not that we don’t have the knowledge needed to make the changes, it’s that we have trouble with finding the will. It’s easy to fill your car with the echoes of four-letter rage and wave your middle fingers around. It’s hard to make sacrifices for a future that may not come fast enough to include ourselves, or look the way we intended it to when it gets here. Seriously, we have trouble enough deciding whether yellow lights mean slow down to stop, or drop it a gear and burn rubber.