I’ll admit it. I’m not the best driver. I think I used to be pretty decent. But after years of only really having to drive a mile or so to work every day, coupled with my husband taking care of the family road trip piloting, I lost my mad driving skills.
I hate to drive on the boulevard of death known as the interstate, where some morons drive 130 mph, weaving in and out of traffic like they are Dale Earnhardt Jr. (or whoever is a good NASCAR driver these days), and other morons drive 90 mph with unsecured things like BBQ grills or weight benches on the backs of their trucks or trailers, just waiting to fly off and smash through your windshield, leading to possible decapitation and your untimely death.
Not to mention all of the 18-wheelers who are trying to kill you each and every day on these highways to Heaven or Hell. (Hey, there is a reason there’s a whole group of personal injury attorneys ready to represent you if you are involved in a wreck with a “big truck.” Just sayin’.)
But it’s not just the interstate I have problems with.
When I make left turns, I really have a tough time judging whether I have enough time to turn in front of an oncoming car, so I usually just wait until they are all gone, which seems to anger people sitting behind me for some reason. Go figure.
Basically, I drive like an 80-year-old woman. But at least I can take comfort in knowing there are other drivers out on the streets of Mobile who are still much worse. …
It’s bad enough we have to deal with the folks from Louisiana and Texas every summer who feel they simply must slow down to 3 mph when entering our tunnels on their way to the beach (as an honorary 80-year-old driver, I can sympathize), but the incessant, overly excited honking all the way through is just too much (as an 80-year-old driver, it startles me).
But who are these idiots who keep getting their trucks and RVs stuck in the Bankhead Tunnel?
Maybe I can understand the RVs; they aren’t exactly professional drivers. But I mean, certainly there is a whole semester at the truck driving academy on navigating tunnels, low bridges and fast-food drive-through clearances for 18-wheelers?
This has happened so many times over the years we’ve even had celebrity offenders — like professional golfer John Daly, who rammed his RV into it back in 2009! Cheers, J.D.!
But I swear, this summer it seems like someone has gotten stuck in it Every. Single. Day. I know there are warning signs above the entrances already, but perhaps something a little catchier would be more effective. Maybe something that rhymes?
“If you are driving an RV or a big truck, you are about to get STUCK!”
This could be put on a giant billboard above the tunnel entrance along with a photo of the big rig that dumped all its hay out in the tunnel last week. Or we could change it out with photos of the latest idiot to offend.
To get the attention of the 18-wheeler drivers, maybe use the iconic naked lady that you often see on their tire flaps with a caption reading, “Hey, big boy, you are just too big to get into this here tunnel, if you know what I mean! And actually I mean that literally in this context.”
I don’t know. Maybe that’s too wordy. Maybe someone should build a bridge or something. Hmmmmmm.
Notorious O.S.R. Problems
Even though the folks who get stuck in the tunnel provide us the most obvious examples of bad driving in the Port City, there are other traffic arteries in our fair burg that cause my blood pressure to go up way more often than the tunnel dummies do.
Poor Airport Boulevard always gets picked on as being the worst, but lately I often find it to be the most easily navigable. No, the road I want to vote for as the “Thoroughfare Most Likely to Cause Road Rage” in the 2018 Nappie Awards is Old Shell Road, aka the notorious O.S.R.
Old Shell is a necessity to me, not an option, as there are many places along it I must travel to on a daily basis. And when the O.S.R. is flowing freely, it is a thing of beauty. You can zoom all the way up it from Broad to Schillinger with your sunroof open, singing Bon Jovi songs really loudly and off key.
But it only takes one evil, horrible person to ruin a lovely ride and a pretty stellar rendition of “You Give Love A Bad Name.”
Last week, I left my office near downtown to pick up my daughter from gymnastics camp on Old Shell in what I thought was plenty of time to get her (15 minutes). I jumped on O.S.R. near Ann Street to make my way and things were going great. But somewhere before Catherine Street, a person in a dark blue truck pulled onto the Road of Ancient Shells and started going 10 miles an hour.
Maybe his truck couldn’t go faster. Maybe he was an actual 80-year-old driver, instead of a fake one like me. (Note: I’m 80 until I’m late to pick up kids, then suddenly I’m Danica Patrick, but faster. #danicaburn) Or maybe he was just trying to piss people off on purpose. I don’t know.
There must have been 10 people lined up behind him. All were looking to see if they could get around him. Some were fleeing to Dauphin, others to Springhill, but I think everyone was in agreement and probably pleading with him (like I was) that he needed to get his stupid expletive truck out of the mother blanking way. Some of us have kids to pick up from mother blanking camp, sir! I hate you!
I kid, I kid. (Kind of.)
Of course, I don’t hate him. I picked up the kid at 5:04 p.m. and since I didn’t get the stank face from her teacher, all was OK with the world again.
Actually, on Old Shell I find myself being among the hated more often than being the hater. Because rest assured, if there is a bicyclist on O.S.R., I am probably personally causing a traffic jam similar to the one caused by that blanking dark blue truck. And before you start, I’m not cyclist hating, I believe in sharing the road and I love to see the cyclists navigating the city and I am happy we have the new signs and all that jazz.
But on Old Shell especially, I am absolutely terrified I am going to hit them. They ask for three feet, but I am going to need to give them at least six, maybe seven. And I am not going to go around them until they get that, which makes many people behind you angry. Go figure. And I guess that makes me that blankety blanking blank that needs to get her blanking car out of the way.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. But hey, at least it’s not stuck in the blanking tunnel.