I’ve reached a point in my life that I just move over and let them by. Eventually they will cause a wreck, and I want to be far away when that happens.
In case you don’t know how insurance works, the crash that occurs (let’s not call it an “accident”) when you spike your brakes will not be scored against you for premium purposes as the “follower” will get cited for “following too closely”. However, every accident you are in is an “incident”. Too many “incidents” and, even if you are not at fault for any of them, you will get dropped by your insurance and see your premiums go up. My dad got dropped when a police horse kicked his car at a stop light. In the previous two years he had also been hit by a red light runner and stop sign runner. The insurance companies believe (and statistics support) that drivers who are in a number of accidents, even when not at fault, will continue to get into accidents.
…and they’d be right. Avoiding collisions is a skill like any other, and people who develop and use that skill pay less for insurance.
There are those who believe you should avoid all collisions, and there are litigious people who think you’re better off injured with 2/3 of a settlement. I know which camp I prefer to be in.
I have not been behind the wheel for any colliions since 1970, and I am very grateful that I have been able to avoid all of that sturm und drang. I have been a passenger in a couple of instances where there was collision damage, and even though nobody was seriously injured, it was something that was not at all pleasant.
Some people think that it is “normal” to be involved in car accidents every couple of years. These may be the same people who think that everyone is driving around with their CEL lit up.
I have driven in the top 8 cities and in most of the other 22. It surprises me that my home town of Sacramento rates so high, but perhaps the fact that I pretty much stick to suburbia these days gives me a favorable impression of my city. I have also driven in several cities overseas that could show us all a thing or two about aggressive driving.
My 50 years driving experience tells me to be cautious of:
- Pickups with ladders on top. My theory is that previous service stops ran longer than scheduled so now they are running late and will get chewed out and badly reviewed by every client for the rest of the day no matter how hard they try to please.
- Young men driving trashy cars in rush hour. I suspect that they have low wage jobs for which they will get docked if they are a minute late, and they have absolutely no control over any aspect of their lives. The only time they feel in control of anything is when they are driving, so they tend to react violently if someone changes lanes in front of them and they have to lift off the throttle.
- The excitable middle-aged woman in the maroon SUV that I occasionally encounter on my way to work. All I can say is Thank God I am not married to her.
I’m not a young man, but I confess it is liberating to drive a POS car in rush hour traffic. You don’t have to be afraid of people aggressively merging because, if they happen to make contact with my POS car, they’ll total it, saving me the hassle of selling it. When you drive a nice car, you have to be more careful, but when you drive an old beater, people know you have little or nothing to lose, so they drive accordingly.
My car is a 21-year-old Civic with 316,000 miles on the odometer, and it’s a stick shift. If I ever try to sell it, I’m not going to have a very big audience looking to buy it. With that in mind, I won’t be too sad if it gets stolen or totaled.
I used to work with a woman who had a real lemon of a Mercury, and whenever she drove into NYC, she left the doors unlocked, with the key in the ignition. To her great disappointment, it was never stolen.
There’s an unmarked cop around Chelmsford MA area that drives around in a black pickup with ladder rack and ladder. I’ve seen him twice pulling people over.
Aren’t you concerned at all what others might think of you? It’s not as common now, but when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, you “were what you drove”.
I was a teenager once too, 71 nova with a straight six was fine with me, 2 gear trans if I recall correctly. Even used the coin jar to drive to Fl and back to Chicago. Did a cross country trip, did not have to worry about tires as often as my bud with a ss396,
It’s a new century and a whole new world, now. All the other drivers are looking at their cell phones to see if they’re having macaroni & cheese for dinner or starting a Go-Fund-Me account, too busy to notice other cars or drivers! I see them every day from my bicycle, but they never see me.
I was always concerned with my image. My mother used to tell me, “when you’ve fallen on hard times, and you’re down to your last $5,000, go out and buy yourself a new Caddy. Your self esteem will improve and you’ll pull yourself out of the hole more quickly”.
The only people whose opinions matter to me are those who judge me based on the content of my character and my behavior.
Unless I’m interviewing for a job, I don’t worry about what superficial people think, and I’m certainly not going to spend money for the sole purpose of impressing shallow people.
I’m going to start one to buy that Bentley I so richly deserve.
reminds me of “fall behind early – gives you more time to catch up”
Actually, there was some wisdom in my mother’s advice. I didn’t start making serious money until after I had driven a succession of large, powerful, smooth riding, comfortable, and invariably expensive cars. I then did what I needed so that I could continue driving those cars, which I did until they stopped making them. The fact that I’m spending the last years of my life driving a small Asian car with a tiny 4 cylinder engine is not thrilling.
I always went with if you are on hard times, time to go on vacation.
I have never cared much about others opinions and I have never bought a car based on others opinions. I have bought cars based on my needs and wants and if they are cheaper because they are a car that not many people want, so much the better. I have had a couple of Chrysler minivans , wonderfully versatile vehicles, the one with the bench seats held 7 full size people, or 4X8 sheets od drywall or plywood with equal ease, and served as a camper with sleeping bags and a air mattress on an 8600 mile trip to see the great national parks of the west and northwest.
I pulled into a restaurant near me where a lot of retired truckers stop with my minivan and as I walked in the door a trucker I knew slightly announced in a loud voice, Real men drive pickup trucks! I walked my 6’3" inch self over to the stool he was sitting on with a smile on my face and said. Real men drive whatever they want. The restaurant got very quiet and he got interested in the contents of his coffee cup. I enjoyed my coffee.
In L.A. being able to do > 30 MPH is rare, so they speed up anywhere they can.