Among the many reasons for my hatred of flying is that I am usually seated behind someone who fails to heed the notice to return his or her seat-back to the upright position. This is a mild annoyance, compared with the severe annoyances and outright dangers that go with driving in Austin. Austiners (a moniker that I prefer to the pretentiousness of “Austinites”) exhibit a variety of egregious driving habits, the number of which exceeds the number of Willie (The Actor) Sutton‘s convictions for bank robbery.
Without further ado, I give you driving in Austin:
First on the list, because I see it so often in my neck of Austin, is (1) driving in the middle of unstriped, residential streets, even as another vehicle approaches. This practice might be excused as a precautionary because (2) Austiners often exit parked cars by opening doors and stepping out, heedless of traffic. But middle-of-the-road driving occurs spontaneously and is of a piece with the following self-centered habits.
(3) Waiting until the last split-second to turn onto a street. This practice — which prevails along Florida’s Gulf Coast because of the age of the population there — is indulged in by drivers of all ages in Austin. It is closely related to (4) the habit of ignoring stop signs, not just by failing to stop at them but also (and quite typically) failing to look before not stopping. Ditto — and more dangerously — (5) red lights.
Not quite as dangerous, but mightily annoying, is the Austin habit of (6) turning abruptly without giving a signal. And when the turn is to the right, it often is accompanied by (7) a loop to the left, which thoroughly confuses the driver of the following vehicle and can cause him to veer into danger.
Loopy driving reaches new heights when an Austiner (8) changes lanes or crosses lanes of traffic without looking. A signal, rarely given, occurs after the driver has made his or her move, and it means “I’m changing/crossing lanes because it’s my God-given right to do so whenever I feel like it, and it’s up to other drivers to avoid hitting my vehicle.”
The imperial prerogative — I drive where I please — also manifests itself in the form of (9) crossing the center line while taking a curve. That this is done by drivers of all types of vehicle, from itsy-bitsy cars to hulking SUVs, indicates that the problem is sloppy driving habits, not unresponsive steering mechanisms. Other, closely related practices are (10) taking a corner by cutting across the oncoming lane of traffic and (11) zipping through a parking lot as if no child, other pedestrian, or vehicle might suddenly appear in the driving lane.
At the other end of the spectrum, but just as indicative of thoughtlessness is the practice of (12) yielding the right of way when it’s yours. This perverse courtesy only confuses the driver who doesn’t have the right of way and causes traffic to back up (needlessly) behind the yielding driver.
Then there is (13) the seeming inability of most Austiners to park approximately in the middle of a head-in parking space and parallel to the stripes that delineate it. The ranks of the parking-challenged seem to be filled with yuppie women in small BMWs, Infinitis, and Lexi; older women in almost any kind of vehicle; and (worst of all) drivers of SUVs –(14) of which “green” Austin has far more than its share on its antiquated street grid. It should go without saying that most of Austin’s SUV drivers are (15) obnoxious, tail-gating jerks when they are on the road.
Contributing to the preceding practices — and compounding the dangers of the many dangerous ones — is (16) the evidently inalienable right of an Austiner to talk on a cell phone while driving, everywhere and (it seems) always. Yuppie women in SUVs are the worst offenders, and the most dangerous of the lot because of their self-absorption and the number of tons they wield with consummate lack of skill. Austin, it should also go without saying, has more than its share of yuppie women.
None of the above is unique to Austin. But inconsiderate and dangerous driving habits seem much more prevalent in Austin than in other places where I have driven — even including the D.C. area, where I spent 37 years.
My theory is that the prevalence of bad-driving behavior in Austin — where “liberalism” is hard-left and dominant — reflects the essentially anti-social character of “liberalism.” Despite the lip-service that “liberals” give to such things as compassion, community, and society, they worship the state and use its power to do their will — without thought or care for the lives and livelihoods thus twisted and damaged.
Related posts (about “liberalism” and its consequences):
Rich Voter, Poor Voter, and Academic Liberalism
Government’s Role in Social Decline
Democrats: The Anti-People People
Rich Voter, Poor Voter: Revisited
The People’s Romance
Economic Growth since WWII
The Price of Government
Does the Minimum Wage Increase Unemployment?
The Commandeered Economy
The Perils of Nannyism: The Case of Obamacare
The Price of Government Redux
More about the Perils of Obamacare
Health-Care Reform: The Short of It
As Goes Greece
The State of the Union: 2010
The Shape of Things to Come
The Real Burden of Government
Toward a Risk-Free Economy
The Rahn Curve at Work
A Moral Dilemma
The Illusion of Prosperity and Stability
Society and the State
I Want My Country Back
The “Forthcoming Financial Collapse”
Estimating the Rahn Curve: Or, How Government Inhibits Economic Growth
The Deficit Commission’s Deficit of Understanding
Undermining the Free Society
The Bowles-Simpson Report
The Bowles-Simpson Band-Aid
“Intellectuals and Society”: A Review
Build It and They Will Pay
Government vs. Community
The Stagnation Thesis
The Left’s Agenda
The Public-School Swindle
The Evil That Is Done with Good Intentions
America’s Financial Crisis Is Now
Transnationalism and National Defense
Intellectuals and Capitalism
The Left and Its Delusions
The Destruction of Society in the Name of “Society”
Saving the Innocent
The Ideal as a False and Dangerous Standard
Abortion and Logic
The “Jobs Speech” That Obama Should Have Given
Elizabeth Warren Is All Wet
Why Stop at the Death Penalty?
The State of Morality
Utilitarianism and Psychopathy
Regulation as Wishful Thinking
The Myth That Same-Sex “Marriage” Causes No Harm
Externalities and Statism
Obamacare: Neither Necessary nor Proper
“Occupy Wall Street” and Religion
Taxes: Theft or Duty?
Religion on the Left
Privacy Is Not Sacred