Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Ohio car drivers. Need I say more?

2.28.2013

Ohio car drivers. Need I say more?

I guess looking for vehicular trouble has been ingrained in the minds and hearts of native Ohioans since the advent of the horseless carriage.

My views of Ohio drivers haven't changed much despite now living in the northern part of the state. I openly admit to making fun of Ohioans and the incompetent way most of them operate their cars. I've been here long enough to see the unnecessary absurdity and danger to others that many a driver makes on the road here on a daily basis. And I don't mean little things like flashing the left turn signal when turning right. I mean things like cut offs, speeding, and driving on the wrong side of the road. Frankly, if it wasn't for my motorcycle experience, I probably would've been toast by now with many of the close calls I've had in the three and a half years I've lived here.


Of course, the term "bad drivers" is arbitrary as there are many states who do try to claim this title. I think I will use the term "life threatening" in this case, since driving badly can cause lives to be at risk.

So, without further adieu, here are a few things I've learned about living in Northern Ohio:
1. Going 30MPH in a 25MPH zone will get me the middle finger because I deliberately decide to maintain my speed. Considering that I was in front of a busy police station, I didn't want to go any faster. I'm actually more disappointed that the guy used that gesture on me. What a waste of a middle finger. Do you know how many other people could use that middle finger?! The gentleman who cut me off and sped also managed to run a red light. The dude has karma on speed dial.
2. No matter how bad the weather is, Ohioans drive faster than than the conditions permit. It's a high-speed game of lemmings where everyone wants to rush to fall to their doom. In the few times that Matt and I have made the drive from Columbus to Eastlake via I-71, we actually make it a game to count how many cars would be in ditches or disabled due to a mishap on the road because of improper driving in the snow. Our personal record on the 160-mile stretch from one apartment to the other is 30 cars. The highlight reel involved a late-model Range Rover SUV speeding past us 20MPH faster than us the snow somewhere north of Ashland. We passed that same vehicle five minutes later, after it landed in a ditch. Also, all-season tires do not work worth a damn in the snow. Even with snow tires installed on both of our cars, that still doesn't give us creative license to hit those high speeds. We motorcyclists have a saying out here, "Ride your own ride." 
3. Speed limits are bullshit. Everyone's doing 90MPH. That is, until they see the cop and slam on the brakes in front of you. Here's a Pro Tip...if you're not planning to fire the afterburners for the duration of your journey, stay in the middle lane. Otherwise, the one-person-who's-trying-to-pass-you-but-is-blocked-by-an-inconsiderate-person-in-the-other-lane will ride your bumper like it's the last lap of the Daytona 500.
4. "Dukes of Hazzard" is a TELEVISION SHOW...except in Ohio. The idiot/careless driver spree has no end for me in NE Ohio. One morning, as I was about to get onto the left turn lane at the intersection of OH-91 and Vine St.in Eastlake, I witnessed a Chrysler Sebring run the red light and careen toward my lane, driving in the wrong direction. At the last second, the driver swerves out of my lane and flies over the island, onto the right side of the road, and then speeds away. Didn't that TV series end the mid 1980s? I guess that driver didn't get the memo.
Today I am convinced that "crashes" or incidents of the sort should be renamed to "things that could have been prevented but some stupid f*ck had to make it happen anyway." That description wouldn't hold up well in a legal document; it's just way too long. But seriously, I really wonder where these unsafe habits come from. Is it because the rules are different (or non-existent) in two-lane highways or the more rural areas in the state? Does anyone care? Or can I just blame it on Ohio and just call it a day?

With that being said, being on a motorcycle has given me the greatest chances of avoiding trouble thanks to the ability to swerve and ride sidewalks in any last-ditch effort to escape. Unfortunately the winter months up here in the Cleveland region relegate me back to the helplessness of a car, so if someone is coming at me head-on, my chances of avoiding a collision are much lower. I just hope my car's frame holds up.

For your amusement, I had one incident a couple years ago where the person who decided to be a jackhole on the road attempted to justify his actions to me via private message on an online forum.

This sucks. I need to go home. California, is there a couch waiting there for me to sleep on?