Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I've never been pulled over

The short answer? Because I'm a good driver.

The long answer? Because I'm not a Utah Driver.

I learned to drive in Oregon. The speed limit there on the highways is 55 MPH in almost the entire state. There are a few stretches where it is 65. And I'm telling you, for realsy reals, people go 55. The "speeders" go over 60. My dad is a very conservative driver and always told me to never go more than 7 over the speed limit. So I don't. I give drivers a good amount of distance in front of me, I watch the car two cars ahead to react to them in traffic, I don't speed (unless I'm passing someone), I use my blinker, I don't cut people off, and I stop at red lights. Sounds basic, yes? Not in Utah.

Here in Utah drivers as a whole (of course there are exceptions) speed like crazy, pull out and cut you off instead of waiting 5 seconds to turn when the coast is clear, they don't use their blinkers, they tailgate like crazy, they think that because the have an SUV or 4-wheel drive they can go 70 MPH in the snow...and so on. But here is the one that gets me the most and it drives me INSANE- they consistently run red lights. Yellow means slow down and prepare to stop, not speed up to run the red light. In Utah you can yield to turn left at a light even if you don't have a green arrow (whereas in Oregon you can only turn left with a green arrow--in most places). If the light turns yellow, cars keep going. Then once it's red, almost consistently, 2-3 more cars will turn left through the red. Then all the people waiting to go straight have to wait because even though they have the green light, they are waiting for the drivers to get through the red light they are running. And people wonder why there are accidents all the time around here! It drives me crazy. And for a state that has a ton of traffic circles, no one knows how to use them properly or who to yield to. It's easy- yield to the left. Use your left blinker to enter and right blinker to exit. EASY but it causes so many traffic jams. Here is the thing about the highway drivers- they either speed like crazy (10+ over the limit) and weave in and out of lanes, or they go 5 under the speed limit. They also think that they can merge onto the freeway going 35 when the speed limit is 65. If they see a cop, they go blatantly slow. I wanna punch people sometimes. If you see a cop, at least go the speed limit. They other thing they do is a "Mexican road block." For example, everyone in three lanes will all be going the same speed, so no one can pass them. People speed up and slow down so inconsistently that it's hard to get around them. Or you do change lanes and then the person that was going faster decides to slow down and you're stuck.

This, among many other things, is why my dad hates to drive in Utah. He jokes that a 90 year-old will run him down and pass him on the highway even when he goes the speed limit. This is also why I get so much anxiety driving on the highways here. I would rather do almost anything than drive the I-15 down to Provo or up to Salt Lake.

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