Pet Peeves – On the Road

By Ruth Topper

Photo Credit: Stock Photos

Turn Signals, Anyone? Photo Credit: Stock Photos

So… what comes to mind when I mention the word “pet peeve” to you?   Do you have something that really bothers you?  I’m sure, like me, that you do have at least one or two pet peeves!  My 1983 Merriam Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines “pet peeve” as “a frequent subject of complaint.”  When I checked on-line, Random House has added “personal bugbear” to the definition.  I found that an interesting and fun word choice!  I always just think of a pet peeve as something annoying or bothersome.  We have several “topics of frequent complaint or bugbears” in our household.  One of these topics relates to our pet peeves when it comes to being “on the road” behind the wheel.

  • Use of blinkers (or should I say “lack of use”).  To the best of my knowledge every car comes equipped with a blinker (or turn signal).  In Pennsylvania we have a yearly state inspection and I’m sure having an operational “blinker” is part of the lighting and electrical system and/or horns & warning devices that gets inspected every year.  My pet peeve is that people don’t seem to know how to operate their turn signal!  We live in a gated community.  When we exit our development there is a 3 way stop.  We need to make a left to exit.  It never fails that someone is coming into the “lake” stops at the stop sign & then we wait thinking they are going straight when the next thing we know they make a right!  Granted we only “lose” a few seconds off our travel time – but it is so annoying! And yes, if you are wondering – I have yelled at these people from inside my car on numerous occasions!   And, for the record, I always approach the guard house to enter my community with my right turn signal on!

    This is "me" exiting my community.  It makes my day when someone entering by the guard house uses their "blinker" when turning right!

    This is “me” exiting my community. It makes my day when someone entering by the guard house uses their “blinker” when turning right!

  • Passing vehicles on the highway.  How come it never fails that when you decide to pass another car on the highway they choose that time, when you are right beside them, to realize that they are going slower than the rest of the traffic. They then proceed to hit the gas & speed up – so now you are going 80 trying to pass them!  Then once you finally get around them they slow back down.
  • Merging onto the highway.  A “killer” for my husband is when he is following several cars on an entrance ramp to a highway and one of the cars ahead of him on the ramp comes to a complete stop rather than attempting to speed up to get in front of the vehicle(s) already on the highway or slowing down to try & merge between two of them.  (Yes, he will yell when this happens!)
  • Green “right of way” arrows at traffic signals.  In the past few months I have had the following situation happen to me more than once.  I am sitting at a traffic light waiting to go straight across the intersection.  My light is still red – but the opposing traffic gets the green light and those vehicles making a left have the “left turn green arrow” so have the right of way through the intersection.   My light changes from red to green, so the left turn green arrow is gone – but I can’t proceed into the intersection because a whole line of cars continue to make the left in front of me – even though I now have the right of way.   Yes, I yell again!
  • Parking lots.  Parking lots are treacherous in my opinion and therefore a source of pet peeves!  Your head needs to be on a swivel looking all around when you drive through a parking lot and/or are backing out of a space.  There are two things that are especially annoying, in my opinion, in parking lots.  The first is when someone takes up more than one parking spot.  This is especially bothersome in a parking lot that has limited space.  The other is when you have a “tight” parking lot and there are two or more oversized SUV’s, pickup trucks or vans parked back to back and there is barely enough room to drive down the “center” aisle of the lot without taking off your side mirrors!  (My church parking lot is a prime example of both of these “peeves”)!
The church parking lot isn't very full today - but you can probably see how narrow the "aisle" can become when oversized vehicles are parked on both sides!

The church parking lot isn’t very full today – but you can probably see how narrow the “aisle” can become when oversized vehicles are parked on both sides!

You might think that I am a very high strung driver – but really I’m not.  Normally I am pretty much a mild-mannered, mind my own business kind of person while I am “on the road,” but there are times you just need to complain a little.  We all have made and do make driving “mistakes.” Fortunately none of mine, to date, have been too detrimental.  I’m sure you have a few personal pet peeves when you are driving about town.  What are they?  I would love to know if we share a few.  You will probably come up with another pet peeve that I will totally agree with too!

4 thoughts on “Pet Peeves – On the Road

  1. We have all driven a little too quickly at times, yet persistent and pushy speeders really get my goat … where is it, exactly, that you are all going? And, are you aware of the statistics that prove you will only get there just over 1 minute ahead of me? 🙂

  2. Ruth, I wholeheartedly agree with all of your pet peeves! I have a few to add to the list:

    -Drivers who illegally pass you on the right.
    -Drivers who don’t have their lights on when it’s raining–it’s hard to see their vehicles! (This is also illegal in PA and most states when your windshield wipers are in operation.)
    -Drivers who are obviously holding a cell phone while driving–this is illegal in most states now–switch to a hands-free format if you must talk!
    -Drivers who are EATING while driving! I see this all the time–drivers with entire ice cream cones, hamburgers, you name it, in their hands while driving.
    But the big one for me is…
    -Drivers with DOGS in their laps while driving! I think this is just as hazardous as cell phone usage. Can you really not put the dog in the backseat, in the back of the SUV, or at the very least, on the front seat next to you? This is ludicrous to me!

  3. I used to commute from the Poconos to north Jersey for work. The things I saw on those commutes never ceased to amaze me: people shaving or applying make up (go ahead! Hit a pothole with that eye pencil in your hand!), people reading novels or newspapers, people flossing their teeth, people beating their kids in the backseat – all while driving. I just don’t understand.

  4. Ruth, I love your post! Blinkers and parking lots are at the top of my list too. And you’re right about the people you are trying to pass speeding up. Add seeing small children not belted into a seat–actually, that’s an entirely different list! It’s too bad drivers don’t view their vehicle as a potential weapon that must be handled with care and responsibility.

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