I’ll be the first to admit that Quebec drivers suck. No, really – there are very few drivers in Quebec that do not suck at driving but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to stick to Montreal drivers, specifically because that’s what I know best.
The reason that we suck at driving is largely due to the fact that when we get into our cars, we’re not thinking about where we’re going or what we’re going to do when we get there. Nope – we are mentally preparing ourselves for what’ll happen on the driver over. This involves brushing up on our defensive driving techniques, getting pre-agitated about the possibility of traffic, and of course, preparing for the road warriors and/or the “drivers” who are oblivious to everything around them. Also, Quebec drivers are pretty egocentric – we think we own the road.
1) The Tortoise & the Hare
If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, the tortoise is the type of driver for you. Or perhaps you’re not in a hurry, but your goal is to get from point A to point B within the same day. The tortoise cruises below the speed limit in either the middle lane or, if you’re very lucky, in the speeding lane. It doesn’t matter if people are lined up behind him waving their fists in frustration (this is common in Montreal – it’s our third language) – the tortoise is all alone on the road and won’t move over. When you finally have an opportunity to pass this person, they are usually hunched over their steering wheel, clenching it in what appears to be fear. Buddy, if you’re scared to drive, then you might want to practice in a parking lot or something because Quebec roads are definitely not for you. The hare on the other hand, is always in a hurry to get to where they’re going, and is completely oblivious to the rules of the world. The hare is similar to the Road Warrior.
2) The Road Warrior
“I am man, I have big truck!” This person typically owns something like a Hummer, or an over-sized pick-up truck (sometimes they’re even jacked up!) or a very large SUV. They drive these vehicles as though they were soldiers on a mission. The R-W likes to bully other drivers by tailgating, even though their victim might already be going above the speed limit. They like to ride right up there behind you so that you feel their presence. My understanding, is that the R-W thinks he/she can scare regular drivers into submission. Well, here’s a newsflash for you – if I’m in the middle lane, or the speeding lane, and I’m already going above the speed limit, and you’re tailgating me – I’m not moving over. Why? Because I’m pigheaded and I’m not going to give you the satisfaction, that’s why. Your big gas-guzzling truck doesn’t scare me, so back off.
3) The Mini-van
Dear God, is there anything worse then someone driving a mini-van (except for the R-W of course)? I swear to God, every single mini-van driver that I’ve encountered, is completely oblivious to the rules of the road or the fact that there are other vehicles around. They change lanes without signaling, oftentimes when there are people right next to them, and drive like they’re the only drivers on the road. You can honk at them to let them know that you’re there, but that goes completely unnoticed – they’re moving over anyway. I particularly like to see these guys when they’ve got kids on board. Way to go dad!
4) The Yo
In my neck of the woods, a ‘yo’ refers to young punks who drive souped-up Honda Civics or other similar vehicles. (besides the car, they are easily recognizable – they must wear their b-ball backwards – it’s the law). Their cars usually have no mufflers (at least, that’s what it sounds like), so everyone hears them coming. They are totally oblivious to the noise they’re making or the fact that they’re acting like morons. Dude, you’re driving a Neon. A Neon that you souped up. You can soup it up all you want – you’re still driving a Neon. These drivers like to gather in packs in mall car parks so that they can admire each others’ cars and rev their engines together. This is when they’re not using the roads as a race track. Good times!
5) The Indecisive Driver
This driver starts out behind you and decides that you’re not going fast enough, so he passes you. He then proceeds to pop back into your lane, in front of you, and drive slower then you so that you in turn, have to pass him. Sometimes, this driver likes to play with you and will keep up this game of passing/ slow driving. Sometimes this is intentional because said driver has nothing better to do, and sometimes, that driver is just an idiot. In cases like this, a Hummer could come in handy because then you could just move them along by lending a ‘helping hand.’
6) The Tourist
It is my belief that tourists should not drive to Montreal. Either that, or they should be required to take a defensive driving class so that they don’t get themselves, or anyone else killed. No tourist, it is not OK to drive in the speeding lane if you’re driving a giant RV with 4 bicycles and your car attached to it. You should be driving in the first lane, or the middle lane. It is also not OK to travel in groups of cars, and expect that you will always follow each other. Newsflash: there are thousands of other drivers that will get in your way. Print out directions before you get in the car so that you don’t panic when you lose sight of your traveling buddies. Also take note that in Montreal, we don’t respect pedestrians, so the correct etiquette would be to try to run them down as they jaywalk – they in turn will flip you the bird and everyone goes about their day. We also don’t come to full stops, and we blow yellow AND red lights. This is how we get to our destination faster. I should also mention that cyclists are hazardous to both drivers AND pedestrians – but that’s a whole other blog entry.
7) The Yapper
Do you really need to be talking on the phone, texting or sending BBMs while you’re driving? I mean, are you so important that this can’t wait 30-minutes? 60-minutes max? You are a danger to other drivers because you don’t pay attention! Get hands-free or just don’t talk on the phone while driving!
8) Beauty Sleep
It always boggles my mind when a woman does her make-up while driving. I don’t even know how this is possible. All I will say is either get up earlier to put on your make-up at home, or put it on when you get to work. You’re just as bad as the yappers.
9) Extra! Extra!
Yes, I know how important it is to read breaking news first, but do you really have to read the paper while you drive? Do you have a death wish?
10) No Warning
It takes 1 second to put on your turn signal to indicate that you are a) turning right, b) turning left, c) switching lanes to the right, d) switching lanes to the left. Is this too complex a task for you? If you’re not sure where you’re going, put your four-ways on. At least that way we’ll know you’re planning to suddenly veer left or right.
11) Road Rage
OK… I don’t even know what to say about these people. If you have anger management issues, please seek help. Harassing unsuspecting drivers is not cool. Trying to bully people by tailgating them… aggressively cutting in and out of lanes… shouting and cursing at strangers who CAN’T GO ANY FASTER THEN THE GUY IN FRONT OF THEM…. blocking the entrance to the highway because someone won’t let you pass because guess what… IT IS NOT your right of way…. Please get a grip. If you can’t get behind a wheel without wanting to kill someone then maybe you should just stay home. You can also get professional help for your problem. Also, driving does not count as cardio.
A few years ago, I was driving to work. If you know anything about Montreal traffic, you know it sucks between the hours of 7-9 a.m. It is bumper to bumper, and there are no shortcuts. In any case, I was driving along the service road (which was also backed up, thank you) and approaching the entrance to the highway. Most drivers are familiar with the double-lines leading up to an entrance – they mean you can’t get in – you’re supposed to get into the entrance lane BEFORE those lines appear. This fellow was driving up next to me, very close to my car – I was well aware that he was trying to cut in front of me, but at this point, he was legally NOT allowed to do this, and since he was acting like a jackass, I wasn’t going to let him through. Now, I would like to point out that if someone is signaling that they are trying to move in, and they’re not bullying me, I’ll let them in. This was not the case with this guy. Anyway, he was so close to me that despite my stubborn determination not to let him through, it was either that or damage my car. This guy bullied past me, and proceeded to park his car diagonally across the entrance so that no one could get on the highway. For REAL people. Then he got out of his car and started walking toward me, fists clenched. He looked crazy. Boy, was he going to mess with the wrong girl. I suppose a normal person would have rolled up their window and called 911, but I rolled down my window and asked him what the F his problem was. He started yelling at me – if I didn’t know how to drive then I should stay home. Are you kidding me? This guy was a Road Warrior/Road Raging A-hole with no respect for the rules of the road, he cut me off illegally, and I’m the one who should stay home? I don’t think so. Let’s just say I let him have it, and ended it by telling him to get his ass back into his car, and out of my face. In retrospect, I probably should have ignored him, because who knows what he could have done to me. This is why drivers need to relax and just be courteous. One day, a guy like him will step out of his car with a gun, or a baseball bat, and do some real damage – all because he can’t control his road rage.
And while commuting has its own issues, it is far better to use public transit, then one’s car. Not only is it more economical, but your stress level goes way down, and dangerous encounters are at a minimum!