Photo: Jay R. Jordan / Houston Chronicle
Please, make it stop.
We’re all guilty of a little bad driving now and then. Especially now that we’re out of practice, it’s easy to slip up once in a while and perform a traffic faux pas.
But these bad driving habits show up day after day, week after week. They’re Houston’s unwritten surly rules of the road, and they need to come to an end.
The three-lane exit
Missed your exit? Bummer. Move on. Take the next one.
We’ve all seen the guy behind the wheel of a BMW dart across the freeway two feet in front of you. Whether he was texting or blabbing about the stock market to his uninterested significant other, he wasn’t paying attention.
He’s also not patient, so he risks his life, his passengers’ lives and the lives of others on the roadway over his absentmindedness.
Nothing is worth shooting across three lanes of traffic, let alone your forgetfulness. In Houston, you’re always an exit away from a U-turn where you can double back and get to your destination safe and sound.
The road-rage chase down
We get it, tough guy.
Safe in your cocoon, probably a pickup of some sorts. High and mighty, you police the streets with intimidation.
Did that Prius cut you off? Not on your watch.
Being on the receiving end of someone’s road rage is never fun. Witnessing someone chase down another driver for an innocent mistake is downright embarrassing for the road-rager.
Just the other afternoon, I spotted the driver of a red pickup chase down a white van whose driver accidentally jutted in front of the pickup. The pickup driver kept going, made a few turns and appeared to be on the prowl, but thankfully couldn’t find the van again.
What would have happened if they spotted each other?!
The bad zipper merger
The starkness of bumper-to-bumper traffic next to 60 mph freeway lanes is exacerbated when drivers try to cut in line.
You have two choices if you want to go northbound on Interstate 45 from Texas Highway 288 near downtown:
You can get in line behind everyone else and wait your turn to zipper merge. Or you can shoot up the next lane over, which is almost always free and clear, and attempt to cut in front of everyone who had been waiting.
The former is time consuming but fair (especially if you complete the zipper merge correctly), while the latter saves time but is super dangerous (and illegal).
Don’t be the latter.
The slow poke
What’s just as bad as speeding 90 mph on the freeway? Driving under the speed limit.
I get that it’s completely legal to drive slower than the speed limit. That’s great and all, but is it right?
The freeway is meant to facilitate high volumes of traffic efficiently, and puttering along at 45 mph isn’t helping anyone, even you.
Car isn’t fast enough? Don’t feel safe at highway speeds? Towing something?
That’s great. Take the feeder roads and spare the rest of us.
What did I miss? Let me know at email@example.com or on Twitter: @JayRJordan.