Saturday, May 12, 2007

I Know Who You Are, And I Saw What You Did!

"One of my contentions is that bad or inconsiderate driving behavior begins right in our own neighborhoods. We're already speeding on our street or running stop signs, then we take this behavior on to every other roadway."

-Tom Everson

Does it get anymore irritating than this? Alan and I went to the chili cook off in Castro Valley last night, and instead of just being able to park, we have to contend with this! If it had been a case of one inconsiderate dolt who had taken up more than one space, it would have been one thing, but there were at least three different incidents of this within a parking area of about 175 available spaces. That might sound like a lot of parking, but not when you consider as many as 1,000 people usually attend this event. I am all for folks doing their own thing, and driving what they want, but I really believe that if you can't handle the vehicle you own, you need to not be driving it. I finally got into this space, after giving up on two others, but as you can see, my space was invaded on, and the spooky thing is, the car encroaching on my space isn't that big!

Now before you jump on me for being some kind of car bigot, understand, three out of the last four times I was cut off in traffic, it was by a vehicle that was twice the size of my car. Two SUVs and a LARGE/ExtraLONG truck. What is the deal with that? Why does it seem like most SUV drivers, drive like they think the road is just for them? Is it something about the vehicles themselves? Does the gasoline, which you pay so dearly for, have the some sort of VIAGRA it? With national gas prices at an all time high, how and why would you want a vehicle which not only can you obviously not park, but which also costs you a small fortune just to go about town?

I know, I know, not everyone who owns a truck or SUV is as inconsiderate as the folks I saw last night, and in general, most people can handle the their choice of auto, but really, situations like this do seem to be happening more and more. Now I have been cut off by regular sized vehicles as well, but I have been paying close attention since last August, when I was very nearly in an accident, after I was cut off on HWY580, by a truck. I shook off the fear after a few weeks, but now, every time I have to be on that particular stretch of road, I think about that day... and how scared I was. Alan was with me, and all I could think of was, "God please, if this is it, please don't let Alan suffer." I thought of him. Sigh.

It's bad enough when someone makes that kind of mistake, or acts unsafely in traffic, but when you actually park your vehicle, get out, and go about your business without checking to see if you have parked correctly, well, that just makes you a jerk. Of course on the other hand, it's not like the DMV makes anyone pass a test of ethics or consideration, but don't they still make you prove you can park the vehicle you drive? I honestly think that more tickets need to be handed out to those who can't park their cars sufficiently, and then after oh, say, three times ticketed within a year... YANK... goes the license! Because obviously you need more practice. I blotted out the plate number of the cars I photographed for this entry, it's just my personal ethic, but I am really thinking about posting the plate number the next time this happens. Sigh.

Ok, your turn. Tell me what you think. Am I wrong? Am I right? Do you have an opinion about SUVs in general? Do you have a personal pet driving peeve? Opinions, opinions!


"Bad Driver"
Castro Village Shopping Center
Castro Valley, California
May 11th, 2007
Late Afternoon

**By the way, other than this situation, we had a really good time. I will have a round-up of my weekend activities, with plenty of fun photos, for my post on Monday.


Robbie said...

Oh honey! You are so right. Parking is a commodity around here and I see this behavior constantly. Those aren't even compact spaces! There is no reason for those vehicles not to be better parked!

Wil said...

While I love both you and Robbie, I am also one of the drivers of those big-ass trucks and SUV's. Not all of us are cretins (although I have my moments, eh, Carly?). Sometimes, it is the result of conditions beyond our control. Indeed, look hard at that last photo with the pastel blue Suburban. See the "old line" on the pavement, the one with the paint fading? It's "Parking Lot Creep" and it's a virulent social disease sweeping the country -- the downsizing of spaces in public parking lots in order to squeeze a few more schmoos in. Makes it bloody hard for a vehicle with a minimum turning circle of 28 feet to negotiate entry to a parking space AND leave sufficient room for entry and egress.

There is no excuse for bad driving behavior. But my experience dealing with people from away tells me that far too many urban types have an exaggerated estimation of their abilities as drivers. Foreshortened following distances, distractions galore while behind the wheel, simply ridiculous speeds unwarranted by conditions and an exaggerated sense of 'personal space' around their vehicle -- they all contribute to the problem. I have had the misfortune of seeing them all in the space of a minute or so and in the same driver.

Carly, you drive a GM manufactured vehicle. In my experience, the right side exterior "objects may be closer than they appear" mirror is optically tuned to give too large of a picture, distorting, more than needed, just what is behind you. Couple that with vehicles that are too flipping small to even be seen in such a mirror as anything more than pillbugs and you begin to understand the "cut off" phenomenon you
described above.

And I have seen my fair share of drivers parking their pink Priuses smack dab in the middle of two spaces, so "no one will chip my paint" as one blonde leaf muncher told me.

All I'm saying is it goes both ways...

Laura said...

well when we bought my car last year i flat out nixed an suv when my darling husband suggested it.
because of all the pta moms i know who seriously brag that they have a a gargantuan suv because at least they will be okay when they are on the open road and, god forbid, get into an accident. plus, they add, folks get out of their way as they drive their beloved behemoths

Nancy said...

No particular opinion about SUVS/trucks...some of the biggest jerks that I've seen on the road ride a variety of different vehicles. All I know is that there are a LOT of them and they all drive ME crazy!


Patrick said...

I don't have any strong opinion about trucks and SUVs, either. Until we have some stricter laws requiring a higher MPG rating for all vehicles, they'll be around. And there are plenty of people who have perfectly valid reasons for driving a larger vehicle besides vanity.

I've had SUVs try to merge with my car, but I've also had compacts attempt the same trick. And other of my pet peeves is when someone pulls out in front of me and I have to hit the brakes to avoid rear-ending them: it's the smaller cars that have less power that are guilty of this.

But the parking thing is different: there is NO excuse to park that way, no matter what kind of car you're driving: once you're in place, you look at how you have lined your vehicle up and if it's off then you REPOSITION the car. It takes an extra ten or fifteen seconds.

At my apartment complex lately, there's a lot of people who are parking across lines...not in that way that makes it clear that they want two spaces because they're trying to protect their "darling," but rather having their tire just across the line as if they were either in a hurry or drunk. And it often leaves one space unusable and sometimes there are no others.

Parking is a much bigger pet peeve of mine than what's being parked. :)