The holiday season is upon us and with it comes some of the busiest travel days of the year. I, like many people, have moved away from my hometown but will make the long trek back to take part in family celebrations and traditions. Unfortunately, I also live in that purgatory of distances that make it too close to fly but far enough away to require the better part of a day driving to get there. And after years of making the trip, I’ve come to expect the pleasure of meeting a few choice drivers along the way. Whoever said that life was in the journey and not the destination never drove across several states on icy roads the days before Thanksgiving or Christmas.
1. The ‘Blinkers Are Optional’ Guy
Fun fact: Those pretty little flashing lights on your car are not purely ornamental. They’re intended to alert me—you know me, that person minding their own business in the lane next to you—that you want to move into my lane. Not signaling forces me to brake, swerve and/or swear at an inordinately high volume.
2. The ‘I Drive With My High Beams On at All Times” Guy
Those brights are very handy when you’re driving down a barren highway at night, keeping an eye out for wayward woodland creatures. They’re far less handy when you’re driving 15 feet behind me with those spotlights blazing into my rearview mirror like the holy lights of heaven welcoming me to the afterlife. And if you keep blinding me with your high beams, I might just see the actual holy lights on this damn drive home right after I careen off the road.
3. The ‘What Is Cruise Control?’ Guy
Some people don’t like to drive with cruise control. That is cool, if those people are capable of maintaining a standard level of velocity without mechanical intervention. But five minutes ago you passed me. Three minutes later, I passed you back. And now you’re passing me again. I guess we’ll just continue this automotive tango all the way to Grandma’s house.
4. The ‘Speed Limits Only Apply to Other People’ Guy
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t observe all speed limits like I should. On an open highway, I’ll push the boundaries of legality by 7 or 8 miles per hour, being careful to slow at any hint of a speed trap or inclement weather. But apparently I took a wrong turn onto a Formula One track by the looks of this demon coming up in my rearview mirror like a wolf on the hunt. The greatest pleasure in anyone’s vehicular life is to pass these assholes as they’re pulled over on the shoulder 2 miles up by the state trooper you would have been smart enough to brake for, but those pleasures are few compared to the number of Mario Andretti-wannabees who fly under the radar each holiday season.
5. The ‘Let Me Blow Past You Just to Exit in 10 Yards’ Guy
Yes, I realize that I’m driving 2 miles per hour slower than you’d like. Yes, I realize that must be annoying. In normal circumstances, I would think nothing of being passed by a faster driver. But, when your exit is within sight, is it necessary to hit the gas, shoot passed me at Mach 5 speed, and then cut right in front of me in order to get to that gas station 4 seconds faster than if you’d just stayed behind me? Is it necessary, guy?! Perhaps you and Douchebag No. 4 are racing each other to the Holiday Douchebag Festival. Bring me back a T-shirt from that shindig.
6. The ‘I’m Sure It’s Fine to Merge Onto the Highway at 30 MPH’ guy
Have you ever tried to jump onto a moving treadmill and not biff it straight to the floor? Not easy, is it? Merging onto a 75 mile per hour highway going a measly 30 is the driving equivalent of that. I have to either veer out of your way or slam on my breaks to avoid crashing into you. And because you forced me to break and therefore cut off my cruise control, I was spewing more vulgarities than that girl in The Exorcist (sans the green pea soup vomit). I mean, seriously, now I have to hit the cruise button all over again! The insolence of it all!
7. The ‘I’m Using You as a Pace Car’ Guy
This is not the Tour de France. You are not furiously pedaling your way uphill and there is literally no benefit to you riding my ass all damn day. But for some reason you’d rather drive one car-length behind me than pass me. Now you’re forcing me to make the unfortunate decision to either speed up ferociously—risking a speeding ticket—or slow down to an obnoxious level to annoy you into passing me. Spoiler alert: It’s almost always going to be the first one because I have no damn patience for option two.
8. The ‘I’m Personally Offended That You’re Trying to Pass Me’ Guy
I get it—no one likes to be passed. Everyone gets a little twinge of, “Who do you think you are?” when another car speeds alongside them with their cruise set just a smidge faster. But it’s nothing personal. At least it wasn’t personal, until you decided that you simply couldn’t live with the insult of being passed. So as you saw me creeping up in your side mirror, you just had to speed up so I couldn’t. Now I look like a jackass going slower in the left lane as you speed off into the sunset, and you’ve earned yourself a two-handed bird-flip with a death glare to boot.
9. The ‘Passing Lanes Are for Suckers’ Guy
Due to regional differences, every state words their rule on the passing lane a little differently, but I think most of them can be paraphrased as, “Get the fuck out of the left lane, you fucking fuck!” When you’re being passed on the right side or God forbid, you’re going the same speed as the person in the right lane and therefore preventing me from getting around either of you, it’s time to get your ass out of the left lane and let the big girls get on their way.
10. The ‘I’m Playing Movies for My Kids in the Backseat” Guy
You, sir, in your insistence in entertaining your children, play movies on the built-in screen in your tricked-out minivan. Naturally, as I cruise behind you, I practically veer off the road in a trance these screens have put me in as I desperately try to figure out what film you’re screening this evening. And, when I’m more rational, I would have to admit that this is not douchebag behavior on your part, I’m in so much of a rage after meeting the other nine types of douchebags on this trip that I’m going to curse at you anyway and insist to my passengers that you have no business being on the road. Enjoy Finding Nemo, asshole.
As douchebaggery doesn’t discriminate, it should be noted that these “guys” are just as likely to be girls. All genders, ages and ethnicities appear to be equally likely offenders. Accordingly, my profanity doesn’t discriminate either. Happy hoildays to all and to all a fucking good drive.