This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 which is held each year during the Memorial weekend (this year it’s May 30). Not originating from the mid-west, even though I have heard about the Indy 500, I was unaware of the long history of race car driving in Indianapolis. For example, did you know that the first race on the Indy 500 motor speedway course was actually with motorcycles? In recent news, Donald Trump was slated to drive the Indy 500 pace car, but stepped down from that honor. Arguably, the Indy 500 is the most famous of all the car races. I can’t help but wonder if the Indy 500 hype is the reason why a lot of people here feel like they can drive like racecar drivers?
The one thing that irritates me here is the craziness on the roads. It’s sheer madness sometimes! I thought that it was kind of bad in Vancouver (there are bad drivers everywhere). Today, I was driving on one of the Interstate highways and some guy in a tan Toyota Avalon decided to tailgate behind me. I was concerned because we were driving a little over 55 mph (that’s 90km/h) and he was so close, I could see the expression in his face (he looked like a road-rager). He then thought I was going too slow and passed me, then cut back in front of me only the tail-gate behind the next guy ahead. He was extremely close (there wasn’t even a car-width between them). It was so ridiculous. If the first guy even tapped his brakes, or if the guy in the Avalon looked away for a second, there could have been a serious accident. It was so pointless as I ended up passing him anyway while driving the speed limit. It’s not unusual to be passed by someone who just wants to get ahead of the same lane. But really, what’s the point!?! (There isn’t a major difference other than that guy burned $5 in gas just to get 10 seconds ahead)
The way some people drive around curves is somewhat irritating (being from British Columbia where windy roads are pretty typical because they are built around mountains, it’s no big deal driving around them). Slowing down to take a turn is understandable and that’s not the part that irritates me. It’s more the fact that a lot of people here drive extremely slow around gentle bends and then gun it to make up for lost time. It’s crazy! I prefer to drive at a relatively consistent speed. It reminds me of the time when I was driving on the Trans-Canada near Kamloops and I encountered a car with Saskatchewan plates driving less than 30 km/h (that’s less than 20 mph) around curves where the speed limit was posted as 80 or 90 km/h (50 and 55 mph). (For those of you unfamiliar with Saskatchewan, it’s a very flat province and the roads are long straight stretches). Since we were travelling on single lane highway, I anticipated passing him at the next passing lane. However, as soon as we got to a passing lane ,which are generally along straight stretches, he gunned the engine to more than 130 km/h (80 mph) and took off. I caught up to him 5 minutes later as soon as he got to the curves. This went on for about an hour. It was so frustrating. If only he had let me pass, I wouldn’t be writing about him all these years later (I guarantee, If he had let me pass, he wouldn’t have caught up to me because he was so inexperienced around the curves). It was inconsiderate.
The other thing that I notice here, is people like to jockey for position on the roads, so much so, that they would rather get ahead of you and risk getting into an accident. When I drive onto the freeway from an entry ramp, I notice that people are often reluctant to let you in. People will actually speed up just to keep you from getting ahead of them and getting onto the lane that they are in (they were there first therefore, they own that lane!). Sometimes the freeway is 5 or 6 lanes long. People would rather stay in the far right lane which is often the merging lane, and refuse to let you in. It happened to B.B. this week. He was forced to stay in the lane and take it all the way to the next exit. He had to get off the exit, drive through a neighbourhood and loop back onto the freeway (it’s really weird, the entry lanes onto the freeway often end up being exit lanes into different neighbourhoods a few miles down the road).
- Indy 500 fans to Donald Trump: You’re fired (offthebench.nbcsports.com)