9 Annoyances of Being On The Road

I have always enjoyed being on the road, driving for hours — so much so that I have caught myself at times being a passenger aboard an airplane and looking out of the window next to my seat, down at some lone highway below in the middle of nowhere and thinking how I would like to be down there.

9 Annoyances of Being On The Road

traffic cars highway

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I cannot explain the thrill of being on a long road trip and discovering new places. Driving is certainly different than flying as a passenger aboard an airplane; and the feelings I have for both are quite different and yet similar in intensity…

…but as with anything, driving has its annoyances — which I list in no definitively special order.

1. The Slow Passing Trucker

Speed Limit 70 highway

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I will be the first to thank the truckers of the road for spending long hours on the road, delivering much needed products to where we all live — but what is with those truckers who feel the need to get into the passing lane going one mile per hour faster than the vehicles they are attempting to pass?

Also, why must they do so just before a hill which causes their trucks to slow down and groan — holding up traffic in the process?

2. The Inconsiderate Passer

Speaking of passing, why do some drivers wait until I am about to pass them until the last minute to pass someone in front of them — and cut me off when they could have just waited another moment or so? For some reason, this especially happens when there are no vehicles behind me.

When I am in a similar situation, I typically wait until the vehicles in the passing lane pass me so that I may pass the vehicles in front of me without inconveniencing others. Is that not the courteous thing to do?

3. The Left Laner

“Why are you in this lane?” I ask myself when a car is in the passing lane but will not pass a vehicle in the right lane — and there is plenty of room to drive behind the vehicle in the right lane.

I have also seen cars stay in the left lane even though there are no vehicles to pass — and even though using the left lane other than for passing is illegal in a number of states.

Why must they stay in the left lane — and why must some of them drive too slow to remain in that lane?

4. The Indecisive Speeder

Highway in Slovenia heading to Austria and Italy

Photograph ©2006 by Brian Cohen.

One type of driver continues to puzzle me: the one who speeds up and slows down for many miles.

When I drive long distances, I typically use the cruise control feature if the car is equipped with it; so I am driving at a steady speed.

A car will come up behind me and pass me — or I will pass the car — and yet both of those actions are repeatedly repeated. Sometimes the car will pull the old cut-in-front-of-me-to-pass routine that I just described — only to slow down in front of me…

…and when I finally get to pass that car, the driver suddenly has a need to speed up and tailgate me.

All the while, the vehicle I am using is on cruise control.

Either pass me or let me pass you — speed up or slow down: make up your mind — but at least please drive at a steady speed.

5. The Motorist Who Cuts You Off As You Approach

More times than I care to remember, a motorist will come out from an intersecting road and drift slowly into my lane — as if I was not there, despite the fact that I am approaching at highway speed — and that no cars are ahead of me or behind me in either lane.

Why in the world would someone do that? Either enter the highway plenty of time before I approach when it is safer to do so instead of waiting there for whatever reason — or wait until I pass by before entering the highway.

6. No Leader of the Pack

Solar eclipse sign on Interstate 85 highway

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

“Drivers tend to congregate in packs,” my cousin once told me not long after I earned my driver’s license. What he meant was that cars seem to form groups which are difficult to pass because they block all lanes.

Watching him maneuver to break through the pack was fun when I was a passenger in his car — and sure enough, once he broke through that pack, another one awaited him several miles down the road.

Do motorists drive in packs for reasons of security?

7. Inaccurate Signs For Work Zones

Highway work zone sign

This highway work zone sign is clearly accurate. Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Work zones are certainly not a rare or extinct phenomenon. After all of the work zones I have passed on my road trip of two weeks across much of the United States, I am convinced that a person employed in road construction probably enjoys one of the highest rates of job security…

…but I have also encountered highway signs for road construction sites which deemed to be inaccurate and inconvenient. For example, why are there work zones for miles and miles with at least one lane closed and a reduced speed limit when no evidence of any road construction is apparent and no workers or construction equipment are present? This is especially true both prior to the commencement of construction and after construction has long been completed.

I completely understand and fully support the push for awareness of driving through work zones, as highway workers are killed every year. According to these facts and statistics from the Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation of the United States, 669 fatalities resulted from crashes in work zones in 2014; and an estimated 96,626 crashes occurred in work zones in 2015.

All I ask is to please not declare a work zone on a highway until just prior to the beginning of road construction — or as soon as possible after road construction has completed and workers and equipment are gone.

8. Speed Traps

Seeing a police vehicle in the median — especially when hiding behind trees or some other object — can be startling even to drivers who are not speeding…

…but it is especially annoying when a driver is in need of assistance a mile or so down the road — perhaps with a malfunctioning vehicle or in need of medical attention.

Police officer in Buenos Aires Argentina

Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

I always felt that the primary focus of law enforcement officers is to assist and protect people — and in many cases, that seems to be true — but those speed traps can be a distraction to drivers. I have seen motorists slow down to 40 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour speed zone — I never understood why they felt the need to slow down that much — which creates a potentially dangerous situation and significantly slows down traffic.

I have heard that there is no such thing as ticket quotas — but somehow, I can always tell when I am driving whether or not the month is coming to an end by the increased number of speed traps out on the highways.

9. The Invasion of Clearview

Brooklyn Bridge road sign

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

I cannot stand the new typeface known as Clearview which many states have started using for their official road signs — I much prefer the old “button copy” in which round reflectors were embedded in the type, as shown in the above photograph — but that is a separate article for another day; and I am probably the only person annoyed by that anyway.

Summary

Most of the annoyances I listed in this article could be resolved quite easily and lead to a safer and more enjoyable experience on the road for more motorists — but easy resolutions typically do not occur.

I am certain that I left out many more annoyances of being on the road — and that is where you come in: what annoyances of being on the road would you add to this list?

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “9 Annoyances of Being On The Road”

  1. Scott says:

    I am convinced truckers pull the slow pass, to just “pass” the time. I have seen them start a pass just as I approach – too many times.

  2. DaninMCI says:

    Many trucks have speed limiters in the low to mid 60 range. So they are passing as fast as they can.
    People drive in packs because of left lane hogs combined with speeding or driving faster than the majority flow of traffic but it can be avoided by driving close to the speed limit most of the time.

  3. George says:

    Something that I’ve noticed while driving in American roads is that the influx of cars comes in waves. Suddenly you see yourself pretty much alone in the road. Five minutes later you look at the mirror and in comes a bunch of cars behind you. You can either get at the same speed as them or continue driving in your own pace/speed and see all these cars pass you by. It’s so weird.

  4. Jason says:

    It is up to the passer to pass in time. If you get cut off it’s because you weren’t passing fast enough for the passer to not get stuck behind even slower traffic.

  5. A says:

    I agree with you on ClearView! The old font is much better.

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