Friday, May 26, 2006

Hey, No Kidding!

Test Scores are in: Northeast Still Has Dumbest Drivers

(Disclaimer: if you are reading this and you are from the NE, obviously I am not talking about you. You are, I'm certain, an excellent driver.)

This is something that I've known ever since I took my first trip to Connecticut in November of 2002. It had snowed, and the roads were covered with ice under the snow. My then-boyfriend-now-husband took me out driving in it to do a little sightseeing. I was surprised to see Connecticut Yanks skidding around on the road, and in some cases sliding into ditches - one had even lost control and careened into a telephone pole.

It brought to mind a bad ice/snowstorm we had in Atlanta one year, when during my commute home from work it took me 3 hours to cover a stretch of road that typically took all of 20 minutes. When I stopped at a Publix to pee, and to call my mom and reassure her that I was all right and on my way home, I overheard the man on the payphone next to mine:

"This is ridiculous, these people here. The traffic is unreal. It's just a little snow. It's not even cold out!"

Shooting The Look at him was all I could do, but boy did I do it with everything I had. (For the record it was indeed cold. Obviously, since we had sleet and snow, which is not something that typically happens in 60-degree weather.)

As a southerner, I used to feel ashamed and defensive when people mocked our tendency to shut down and stay in when it snows. I used to feel defensive when they mocked our lack of ability to drive in snow and ice. But that Thanksgiving trip to Connecticut opened my eyes. They really are no better in snow and ice than we are, they just get out and do it anyway.

(Since then, I've been dying to have this discussion with a northerner who mentions this, and tease them about the cars I saw in ditches and run into phone poles, but I haven't yet had the opportunity. That's OK. I can wait.)

Then! Then, a few months later, I moved to Connecticut. And I saw the absolute most jaw-droppingly stupid driving that I have ever seen before or since. It was insane. Like the woman who took the wrong entrance ramp to the freeway and, with traffic behind her, put her car in reverse and tried to back up the ramp again! Or the man who stopped in the center of a busy highway to check out a tag sale (hey, never mind actually pulling in. And just take your time. We'll just all pile up here and wait till you're done). And don't even get me started on people turning left out of the right-hand turn lane, or vice versa. I remember laughing out loud alot. I remember asking my husband more than once, "what was that? Did I just see what I think I saw?!"

So, this study does NOT surprise me.

Here in Texas they are not perfect. Neither were they in Georgia or in Tennessee. I have no knowledge of Rhode Island drivers (who the study names as worst), as I probably spent all of an hour there, if that. But Connecticut? In my experience, Connecticut takes the cake.

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