11/3/14

Seven Years a Kansan (Driving) . . .

Part one of my "Seven Years a Kansan" series is the thing I hate MOST about Kansas . . . driving.

Let me be candid - y'uns simply cannot drive. I know why . . . too many wide, flat, straight, open roads and too little traffic. Like being the only person in the hotel hot tub there is no reason not to fart.

Here, for your benefit (did I mention this series would be littered with drawings I did in Microsoft Paint?), is a handful of tips that might help you act like you've been behind a wheel before.




See that orange thing sticking out of your steering shaft (heh, "shaft")? That thing is called the blinker stick (not the official name). If you were born and raised in Kansas there is a chance you've never actually USED this stick. In reality - you should use it pretty much allllll the time. If you push up it means you intend to go right (blue arrow). Push it down to indicate a left-ward intention (purple arrow).


When should you USE your blinker, you ask? ANY TIME you intend to change the course of your car from directly straight-ward (allowing for the curvature of the road and the earth itself as the only exceptions). This includes any time you plan to go "hard" left or right (from an stop sign or to leave the road to enter a driveway, etc.) OR to switch lanes. This DOES include any time you are in a "Left Turn Only" (or "Right Turn Only") lane. Why? Because you are also horrible at lane abuse and there is no proof you won't just change your mind last second.


This thing is called a red light (street parlance). There are three colors (even though there are often several other options including turn-only directions, etc.). Green means go. Yellow means get f*cking going. Red means stop. There is a thing called a "deep yellow" or "dark yellow" (which means you will likely have a red over you by the time you enter the proverbial "box"). In those cases - treat it like a red.


To that end . . . as my child once noticed - your car red lights (brake lights) should stop glowing when the red of the traffic signal stops glowing. That doesn't mean you have to jam the accelerator and go, go, go . . . it just means you should IMMEDIATELY be ready to move. I sat for :42 seconds the other night - at a GREEN light. There were THREE cars ahead of me.

WHY did I sit? Probably cell phones. Damn you people and your phones (this is not a Kansas thing - everyone who doesn't put their phone in airplane mode while driving (you should really think about or a data-blocker to stop with any notifications other than incoming calls)). 


To that end - having your phone in your hand, fourteen inches from your ear, does NOT count as "hands free" (and it is not so subtle as to trick a cop from seeing you). It just means that you do NOT have two hands on the friggin' steering wheel. Stop it, Seriously.


The things above are lane lines. The one on the left is a "double solid". That means no one - including you trying to get the friggin' Arby's drive-thru - can cross it. The one in the middle is a solid/dotted combo (not the official name). It means that traffic from only ONE side of the lines (the dotted) can cross. Congrats, east-bound traffic, YOU can go to Arby's. If you are westbound . . . you can not cross. There is a reason they put the lines this way - to keep traffic moving and for safety. To quote Brad Pitt (sorta) in Fight Club. "You. Are. Not. Special." You can not break this one. The one on the right is the dotted line. It is morse code for "Darwinism". Good luck. Go to town.


Let's talk about "Right of Way" for a second (we'll get to your general politeness, Kansas, on another day). Let me be blunt and direct . . . that yellow car - coming out of the Arby's and/or residential street, that had the STOP sign and that is entering oncoming traffic in both directions? It has to wait. HOURS if necessary. YOU, Ms. Red Car, can NOT just stop and decide to show "much love" to the yellow car. Why? Because my orange car will crawl up your proverbial ass if you do. Keep going. 


This is NOT Frankenstein's Monster's face/head. It is the center console of your dashboard. It is where all the distracting stuff lives. Set your thermostat to "cozy" and your radio to 89.1 FM and just drive. Leave this thing alone. If you MUST mess with it . . . do it while at a red light (and while not messing with your phone (see above)). I promise you that nothing is so important in the meantime. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. 


Know what else is a distraction while driving? CHILDREN UP FRONT! If you are going to drive your 16-passenger, Lexus SUV with all-wheel-drive (while your family of three lives in a state where snow fall and inclimate conditions on the road are a factor a whopping 19 days/year) . . . keep all kids in the red spots. They are better off and you are, too. Trust me.


I see you in the next lane with your eCigarette/vapor smoker. You look silly. Just. Plain. Silly. Sure it is better than the conventional smoking (particularly you classy folks with the windows up) but you just look weird with these drug-delivery systems. There is no driving-related point to this . . . just my venting.


Vanity plates . . . for ALL that is good and holy (pun very much intended) just STOP with the vanity plates - particularly the ones dedicated to The Most High or his earthly son and/or his spiritual vessel. If I need a thesaurus and/or tongue-muscle relaxer to pronounce your plate, "He" is not any more impressed than I am. This also goes for your beloved Shockers, Jayhawks, Wild/Powercats, et al. Stop it. Put that extra $40/year to better use in some way, manner, shape, or form.


See the thing above? That is a pile-up of cars. Now you've seen one. The next time you are driving down the road and one is at the side . . . drive on. NO need to slow and/or stop. You're not going to help anyone or anything and you're really only likely to ADD to the mess/pile. 

There. Some driving lessons. Take 'em or leave 'em. Just know that you should take MOST of them, Kansas drivers.