An open letter to fellow motorists

Dear fellow Cleveland motorists,
I’m a pretty easygoing guy, but lately your collective driving habits have tempted me to mount a bazooka on my hood. To avoid further unpleasantness, I offer the following driving tips:

  1. The long pedal on the right is the accelerator. The wide pedal on the left is the brake. Learn the difference.
  2. That double yellow line on your left isn’t decorative. It means stay the hell out of my lane.
  3. When coming to a stop on a dry road, don’t brake – release – brake – release – SLAMBRAKE. Start braking early and smoothly, and I won’t feel the need to put my front bumper through your headrest.
  4. When braking in wet/snowy/icy conditions, apply your preferred dry braking technique from the previous rule, minus the slam at the end. You’re in Cleveland, where 99% of primates understand driving in inclement weather. If you can’t help doing a 180, don’t blame us for laughing.
  5. To turn right, you don’t need to drift leftward first. Your car is capable of turning ninety degrees directly onto a cross street or into a driveway if driven by a minimally sentient being.
  6. The yellow light does not mean “Hurry, next three cars! Floor it and squirt through the intersection!”
  7. The green light doesn’t mean “sit there gaping.” Study Rule Number 1 and apply it.
  8. If you’re over 65 and peering out between the top of your dashboard and the top of your steering wheel, get a damn booster chair or take the bus.
  9. That persistent clicking you hear isn’t your watch. It’s your left turn signal, blinking moronically as you cruise the Shoreway. I’m the guy behind you, anxiously hoping you won’t execute a sudden merge into my passenger seat as I try to pass you … which will inevitably be followed by your outraged explanation to the nice State Trooper: “But I had my turn signal on, officer!”
  10. The posted speed limit is a good guideline when choosing a minimum speed. If you can’t bear to get closer than 10 mph below it, take the bus and save my blood pressure.
  11. If I’m driving on the city street you’re waiting to merge into from that parking lot off to the side, wait ’til I’m at least even with you before you stake a claim to my lane. Otherwise I’m going to remember my sailor vocabulary, and some emphatic finger gestures too.
  12. If you’re under 18, think you’re a good driver, and have the keys to anything with more than four cylinders, I have four words for you: Stay. Away. From. Me.
  13. If you’re going to drive like a suicide bomber dodging machine gun nests, at least have the courtesy to pass this infidel on the left, okay?
  14. I have no bumper stickers, my license plate is readable from 100 feet away, and there’s nothing else of interest on the back of my van. Now back off before I brakecheck you.
  15. Use your high beams only when you’re all alone on the road. When I’m coming toward you (or when you’re catching up to me), I take it personally when you cauterize every rod and cone in my eyes. If at all possible I’m going to take you with me as I careen off the road into an oak tree.
  16. When a cop has a speeder pulled over on the other side of I-71, you don’t need to slow down. He can’t jump the concrete barrier and chase you down, even if he’s one of Linndale‘s Finest. Drive on, dummy.
  17. Same goes for accidents on the other side. The authorities are busy over there, so look at it as an opportunity to make up some time on your trip. Gawk at it on the evening news, not here in front of me.
  18. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams suck, especially when we’re all trying to get home on the highway. It’s good form to let alternate cars merge into the flow, which is known as “taking turns.” When you decide that your destination is more important than mine by one car length’s worth, I’m going to step out of my car and smack you upside the head until you can’t think past the kindergarten level … at which point you’ll remember about “taking turns.”
  19. During those bumper-to-bumper snarls, passing the rest of us lemmings on the shoulder will guarantee 83 calls to the cops with your license plate playing a starring role.

Kindly print out a copy of this little missive and either tape it to your dashboard or have it tattooed backwards on your forehead for future reference. Because the next time you cut me off, the last thing you’ll see in your rearview mirror is a speck trailing smoke and approaching awfully fast.
Best wishes,
The Puddle Pirate

4 comments

  1. jaws

    ROTFL! Ah, Cleveland driving…I hate those idiot drivers out on the roads. And the infamous Linndale cops…
    But I must say, driving in Cleveland is a pleasure compared to driving in/around Boston (they’re just crazy) and on Long Island (speed limits–what are those?)

  2. Bill

    Good rules. I wonder about #3, however. Annoying behavior, but if you are really in danger of “putting your front bumper through his headrest”, it sounds like you aren’t following #14 yourself. You should be aware of more than just the car immediately ahead of you, and slowing down early and steadily yourself.

  3. Puddle Pirate

    Bill, this entire open letter is dripping with sarcasm. If you’ll read it that way, you’ll see my meaning in #3. I always leave a lot of room when I follow. When they’re tapdancing on the brakes, my front bumper will go through their headrest intentionally. That was what I was trying to convey: “learn to brake properly or I’ll ram you.”
    But thanks for the driving lesson … now turn off your turn signal.

  4. P. Borowski

    Personally, I would recommend a 30 caliber chain fed machine gun mouted to the front or top of the car. That way there’s no annoying flashback in your face. (Sears the eyebrows!)
    But compared to RI drivers, your people in Cleveland sound absolutely delightful!! In RI, for some of these dumb SOB’s, getting a drivers license is equated with a license to kill. The issue with other drivers that offends me the most are the tail-gaiters.
    I’m working on a design for a gas fired rail gun for 1/2″ diameter ball bearings to be mounted in the trunk of my car to take out the radiator(s) of the next nitwit that feels like he wants to be in my backseat.