I saw a concentrated dose of Dumb Driving tonight after work. Area around Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, a block from my office building, and what's in between me and the Backspace Cafe where I was headed to visit a friend?
I stood at the southeastern edge of the square long enough to boggle at two cases of drivers northbound on SW 6th obliviously pull into SW Taylor and not have room to get onto the other side of Taylor. Taylor has Max light rail on it.
One of the times I saw this, a train was waiting RIGHT THERE. The drive who was partway in the intersection? Didn't notice the train. Was on her cell, which is in fact against the law now in Oregon unless you have a hands-free set. I had a vision in my head of walking to her window, knocking on it, and saying
See that? That's a train. You're in its way. It's about to honk at you. You don't want that.Should I have given the driver warning? I didn't. The train started hoking. The train conductor could have PUSHED THAT CAR out of the way if the conductor were feeling evil, because even Humvees would get pushed out of the way by a train. But no, you caused waiting.
Because you weren't paying attention, driver, you held up fellow commuters, you put yourself in a potentially dangerous position that only becomes un-dangerous if OTHER PEOPLE ARE PAYING MORE ATTENTION THAN YOU,
In other bad driving, someone downtown tonight hit-and-runned reviewer and good guy Shawn Levy:
Got smashed by hit-and-run driver tonight, chased her thru 2 reds & caught her, but she got away. Some aches, no car damage.I saw inattentive driving of other kinds, but found it more forgivable in one case because someone trying to make a turn couldn't and thus got stopped...and another driver who should've been able to see the state of the intersection tried turning around the stopped car that was trying to turn, right into a lane that's only for transit. Buses and trains. Nowhere for that driver to go. And I felt sympathy for the driver stuck between cars ahead of her and one car behind her where it shouldn't be, because she hadn't been aggressively bad but others around her had.
I was so pumped I didn't get plate number. But I TOTALLY ran her ass down and chewed her out in fluent Angry New Yorker.
Getting into the non-driving calm of Backspace helped me get away from the dumb driving. Which kept happening, but it would take far, far more to go wrong for bad traffic to affect me inside a building. We're talking Blues Brothers-level stunt driving needed to cause a problem. But no, I could sit in the cafe, drink a beer, visit a friend, and not worry for a bit about bad driving.
If a driver drives badly and I don't see it, can it still piss me off?