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09 Apr 07 Crazed drivers: Enough to drive you crazy

We have just returned from a wonderful Easter weekend in Toronto. It was quick but we managed to pack in a fair bit, primarily with family. We also got out to a pub to catch the Leafs final game of the season; an exciting win over the Habs.

GOLF LEAFS GOLF.

This isn’t really a post about our Easter weekend though. It’s a rant about how awful and oblivious Toronto drivers are. Or maybe they just don’t care. If you’re not into rants then don’t read this.

David is a real driver. He loves it. But our last two trips to Toronto have left us in a state of disbelief at the chaos and insincerity on the roads of our hometown. Toronto drivers are really bad. We have little authority to paint the roads of Toronto with such broad brush strokes since we now live in New York City and sold our car late last year. But we still know how to drive and are unaware of any major changes in the rules of the road.

In Toronto, the demeanour on the roads has deteriorated into potholes of impropriety. It’s the small things that add up to a growing problem. Far too many people gab on the phone and don’t focus on the road. Or worse yet, send a text message from the driver’s seat. Others travel far too fast or dangerously slow. Some cruise through stop signs. Many inconsiderate fools even use highway on-ramps to leapfrog ahead of a few cars in front of them.

The most frustrating thing is so many bad drivers in Toronto just don’t seem to care. They play deaf when you honk in defense and continue to merge with millimetres to spare. They flip the middle finger with absolute ease and yell meaningless insults that only raise one’s personal blood pressure. There is no fear of consequence and little sense of responsibility behind the wheel.

Road rage is infectious and unhealthy. It’s everywhere in Toronto. It’s crazy.

People seem to lose their civility behind the wheel. If it’s intentional it’s rude. When it’s unintentional or threateningly dangerous, we call these people “obliviots” (a term coined by Ted Kaiser, a former colleague of Karyn’s, who combined “oblivious” and “idiot” to come up with this great term).

Defensive driving is an unfortunate necessity in Toronto. But when it really comes down to it, I don’t think it’s a change in driving capability. It’s a social problem. We even see this online where people who blog or comment on blogs feel somehow protected from the larger social impact of their interactions. We’re at a weird point in the development of humanity and I suspect there is a major backlash brewing. It’s time to shape up and show some respect. Take it easy. Enjoy life.

Enough of the rant… now back to the family.



Reader's Comments

  1. |

    I find the worst problem in Toronto lately is people making right turns on their red light without even looking. I’ve had to slam on the brakes on numerous occasions because of these fools. Grrr.

  2. |

    When we go out in the car we never return without saying “That was another adventure”. You’re right! Driving in Toronto is taking your life in your hands every time you go out.

    We really enjoyed seeing you all at Easter. Can’t wait for you to come home to stay. Love to all, Gramma & Grampa

  3. |

    Hi,

    Yes, I humbly admit, I coined that rather intolerant phrase. But, urban life can be so filled with friction, you’ve got to vent somehow, right? Anyway, looks like I’m not alone in my frustrations… Here’s an addicts offer of an online solution since, as you point out, it’s a social problem with online analogs in blogs. (Actually, how’s this for a side theory – Toronto drivers are impatient because they want concrete highways to be like the great information highway where everything is just a click away.) But, back to my original thought, for a peaceful alternative to backlash, just get on Facebook. It’s the great internet love-in of 2007! Sorry, I did say it was the ramblings of an addict.

    Take care guys! All the best from one of the last civilized drivers in Toronto!



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