27 miles. That's what the odometer showed on our new vehicle, a Chrysler Pacifica mini-van. A real step up from our worn out twelve year old trade-in. Within 3 1/2 months of buying it, the van was involved in two accidents, being rear ended at a stop light and clipping a car going twenty-five miles under the speed limit. Reminds me of that saying, "You just can't have nice things." The collision damage made me reflect on the various types of bad drivers that clog the road on a minute by minute basis. The egregiousness of their driving habits is listed in no particular order.
Homo snowbirdalis - These old folks flock in from the Midwest in late fall and cause havoc until they fly home in the spring, Blind, hard of hearing and unsure of their surroundings, they ignore lane markers and drive so slowly that they are regularly passed by bicyclists. They also crash into buildings after experiencing "medical incidents."
Homo aggressis - Can be male or female. They drive like they own the road and are competing in Formula 1 at Le Mans. Weaving in an out and crossing over three lanes of tight traffic so that they can cut right in front of a car before making an immediate left turn. Have perfected the California rolling stop and believe that red lights are only an annoyance to be ignored.
Homo imparis - Juiced up on alcohol, drugs or weed, these drivers blithely skim along the highway without a clue that they are a death threat to all around them. At a police stop the refrain usually goes something like this, "Hey bro, I only had two beers." "Dude, I don't know what that white stuff is, These aren't my pants!" "I just lost my medical marijuana card. That scale isn't mine. I don't know why my car reeks, I last smoked weed three days ago." Society's creme de la creme.
Homo cellphonator - Technology from hell. Usually drivers under forty who talk, text and search on cell phones while being vaguely aware that they are in a sea of traffic. Skype your best friend while going around hair pin turns. Browse Amazon while driving sixty mph in a construction zone. Text your agreement to a business proposal as you engage the side of an eighteen wheeler. Ain't progress great?
Homo illegex - Suspended driver's license; no auto insurance, expired car registration. Burned out headlight and brake light. "Officer, I was going to take care of all of this as soon as I get paid from a job I'm starting in two weeks. Can you just give me a warning?"
Homo mornians - Guys are shaving while driving or trimming their mustache. The ladies are applying makeup and curling their eyelashes while steering with their knees. They already think they're in self-driving cars. RIP Sally Musgrove. She was pulled from the wreckage, still clutching hair spray in her left hand.
Homo gluttonus - Breakfast, lunch, dinner. They all taste better when consumed behind the wheel. Shove that breakfast burrito in your maw as you maneuver through morning rush hour. Look down at the salsa that's dripped on your pants as you belatedly marvel at the car that slams on its breaks in front of you. Crush the monster burger while someone eating sushi in a Subaru is about to crush you.
Homo boomboxicus - At a stoplight, the guy's car is shaking so hard from loud rap music, that it's about to leave the ground. You don't dare look over because that could obviously be a sign of disrespect that would get you shot with a very large handgun. Enjoy the moment.
While I don't claim to be the "perfect" driver, I've had a lot of years of observing what not to do on the road, and committing same to my memory banks. Defensive driving is only way to survive the free-for-all attitude of today's road warriors. "Is that lady really making an illegal u-turn with two dogs on her lap?" Be safe my friend.