I know the topic has been exhausted in the past, but I feel like I just have to interject my two cents into the age-old debate about driving in South Florida.
I have been thinking about writing something on the subject for a while, and then when I was recently stopped at a traffic light, this car directly in front of me decides to roll right on through the red light. That sealed my deal.
It’s every person for themselves on these mean streets. You feel like cutting someone off? Feel free! They flip and noticeably cuss you out for it? So what – that’s their problem! You decide to just stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason? Why not? People will no doubt immediately blare their horns and flick you off, but who cares! It’s all in good fun, right? It’s not like the cops are going to stop you for it. Run a red light, disregard pedestrians (remember, they’re worth 500 points if you hit one), tailgate, park illegally or do your makeup in the mirror while holding a conversation on the phone for all I care.
It’s not like I’m staying here forever. Soon, I’ll be back to the way of driving I used to know, where people actually let someone in if they’re waiting. God forbid, right? I know for a fact I wouldn’t get away with doing half the stuff I do on the roads here if I were back at home. So while I still can, I’m going to have my fun being one of the “rudest drivers in the nation,” as Miami was recently voted. We should all be proud!
The overwhelming mentality of drivers in South Florida seems to be one of “nobody’s going to stop me, so I’ll do whatever I want,” and sadly, it seems to be rubbing off on me. With an environment like Miami where you have such an exotic mix of people from different states, countries, cultures and ethnicities, in which people are used to driving their own way, it makes for one chaotic driving environment.
Let’s make a list. You got your pokers (grandmas and grandpas idling along, oblivious to the world and the highway for that matter) going about 20 under the limit, your wannabe thugs in their souped-up rides going about 20 over the limit, luxury and sports cars galore (did it ever occur to you that it’s like a rule that if you own a nice car over $40,000, it automatically qualifies you to speed?), unsafe highway conditions, broken down clunkers and accidents popping up left and right, and just about every other hazardous condition known to man (well, except maybe for blizzards), all conflicting on any given day. Is there any wonder why there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic from 7 in the morning to 7 at night? Road rage is an understatement in this place. Yet, it only seems to get worse. You’d think the problem would deter more people away from here, but apparently not.
All of this also arises from the obvious fact that there are simply too many people and cars for too small of an area. Everyone and their mother, and their uncle and aunt as well, want to cram up in here. So until something is either done by the state or the county or there is some divine intervention to construct a public transportation system that actually works, here is a suggestion to help make this place a little easier to get around in. Everyone go back to a unison driving school, where people actually are expected to learn to drive the same way and adhere to traffic rules. All of them, not just half of them.
Here, I’ll start by giving you a little pop quiz that I bet half of you who are reading this, won’t know. What is that little lever sticking out of the left side of your steering wheel called? Give up? Well, duh, that’s so obvious. It’s a. . . oh, crap, I’ve even forgotten.
Derek Bramble is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and theater.