Thursday, 20 March 2014 11:48

St. Louis drivers - there's a new sheriff in town

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You have been warned. I have been on high alert while driving for weeks now and it ain't pretty out there. Spring may have sprung, but this is not free license for bungholery while behind the wheel of a car. A whole new crop of deliberately oblivious drivers are out there amongst us talking on their &%*^)(@ phones, texting on their &%*^)(@ phones, and generally doing whatever the hell they want. I officially declare war on the lot of them, to be followed by an informative and cathartic safety dance.

Admittedly I am not the best or most patient driver on the planet, but I am arguably not the worst either. I do however fully admit that I have a bit of the road rage in me. Over the past few years I have seriously toned down my lead foot, St. Louis-style driving. For full disclosure this was not as much me having an epiphany of safety, but more of a learning to listen to my nervous and often terrified partner who is not the biggest fan of my motoring skills. Slowing down has made me hyper-vigilant of what the other guys and gals are up to on the road. It's crazy out there! Did Mad Max move to town or what?

Nobody seems to have an ounce of patience anymore. Every day I watch people speed up like crazy to cut somebody off and get ahead one car length in traffic or merging onto the highway. I cheered yesterday when I watched an eighteen wheeler on Kingshighway outsmart and keep its place in line against a shiny black car with tinted windows who tried to whiz past in the curbside parking lane. He tried it again on the steep entry ramp to 40 West, but was once more shut down and rejected. So very safe! I see this all the time though and I wonder who these so very important people are that clearly need the road all to themselves for their own convenience. How dare we impede their progress to happy hour.

The phone thing is getting scary though. We witnessed a teen driver in a fancy SUV approach an opposing stop sign, stop, then turn left in traffic without ever looking up from his lap and presumably some form of interpersonal communication device. People being on their phones while driving is one thing, but actively texting and reading Facebook is out of control. I wish cars would have a cell blocking device because people won't wise up until they are in one of those horrific texting and driving commercials. What was wrong with the old ways when a covert blow job was the worst way to distract a male driver?

I thought my daily commute was back to normal until they tore down another bridge and redid the barriers in midtown on 40 again. Nobody seems to care about the multiple "45 MPH, Work Zone" signs everywhere. I was almost rear ended the other day when a worker was running across the highway right in front of me and I had to hit the brakes. I am seriously surprised and amazed that nothing really bad has happened (or been reported) along there. The ice may be gone, but with the new barricades it feels like a crowded luge track through there.

I have also lost track of the number of times recently that I have had to swerve to avoid getting tagged by somebody else's vehicle. The Saturday of the St. Patrick's Day parade still haunts me. I can still see that white van that came out of side street and almost t-boned me coming at me in not-so-slow motion. I had not had a drink all day myself, but in the true spirit of the day I had enjoyed a bit o' the green. This incident was a major buzz kill and I basically had to start all over.

I am considering a crowdfunding campaign to get a few Speed Racer like upgrades for my sporty and affordable little Honda. Will you help me? Here is a list of what I need:

1. Electromagnetic Pulse Gun - to shut off engines and iPhones 

2. Paintball gun - to get people's attention and a wee bit of revenge

3. Public address system - a LOUD one. I want to use my voice for good and to scare the crap out of foolish drivers.

4. Bullet proof glass - goes without saying. I won't be making friends out there.

5. Tons of video cameras - these encounters will make great Facebook posts and will possibly record my untimely death.

6. Steel reinforcements - if this is too costly or impractical, a Range Rover would do in a pinch.

I will be out there fighting hard for you fellow citizens. Please don't drive like it's a video game.