BatSh…um, Those Drivers & Serendipity

It’s been a while since I wrote about the crazy drivers I encounter. I’ve been saving notes as I go, but I haven’t been in the mood to share any of those stories…until today. That’s because, in addition to two remarkably stupid drivers that I encountered recently, a third may have saved my life. OK, that might be a bit of hyperbole, but I’m pretty sure he saved me from an accident. Let’s start with the nutjobs who almost cost people their lives/cars/sanity and end with the wingnut who unwittingly helped me.

I-291 / RT-5 Interchange

My evening commute brings me north on Connecticut Route-5 as far as Interstate 291. I-291 offers one of five bridges via which I can cross the Connecticut River. It’s not the “fastest” route but it’s the route that offers the most reliably consistent driving time and the one that lets me keep moving. As indicated in the illustrations, I need to proceed under I-291 and take the on-ramp to the westbound lanes (to the left in the drawings).

Two weeks ago, I was stopped at the red light on the south side of I-291. I was in the second lane from the left, which is the left-most travel lane. The left lane at the intersection turns left onto the eastbound ramp to I-291. The green arrow lit up for that lane, and cars began to turn. The arrow turned yellow very quickly. One more car scooted through, and as the light was turning red, someone who remembers what a red light means, stopped beside me.

A guy coming up behind the guy who stopped, apparently was planning to run through the red light. He honked, swerved to the right – proceeded behind me into the right travel lane – drove into the intersection where he turned left in front of me and onto the ramp.

Mass Pike Madness

On my way home from Boston last week, I was driving in the right lane on the Mass Pike as I passed a rest-area. I saw two cars leaving the rest-area. There was a lot of traffic on the Pike, but there was no one behind me in the right lane. I saw an opportunity to merge into the center lane, to give these folks a chance to enter the highway. My merging opened up a long stretch of highway in the right lane. Despite the relatively obvious reason why I had merged, a guy several cars back in the center lane, merged right and blew by all of us. He forced one of the cars merging from the rest-area back onto the end of the ramp and actually onto the shoulder, as the ramp was ending.

Hartford Helper

On Friday, I was driving north on I-91 toward Hartford, planning to continue north on I-91. I say “planning” because this interchange is one of the worst in the nation, and it isn’t easy to do what you want. As you’re coming north, you have to change lanes a few times in order to stay in the northbound lanes. I was approaching the point where I needed to, as Greta my GPS would say, “be in either of the two right lanes.” I was in the third lane from the right. I had my eyes on a gap forming behind me in the next lane to the right. I had my signal on. I was ready to make my move when a jerk in the far-right lane decided to pass the guy in front of him and take my slot.

“It’s OK,” I thought. Although the signs don’t point it out, the lane I was in leads to an on-ramp to I-91 north about ¾ of mile farther up. As I was proceeding toward that ramp, my car died. Not sputtered. Not chugged. DIED. Everything off. No power steering, no power brakes, no lights, nothing! As I was rapidly losing speed, I did my best to get as far to the right as I could. There are no shoulders in the underpass in which I came to a stop. There’s also nowhere to walk. I was pretty sure I was going to get hit, but since there was very little traffic in this area, I survived without incident. My car eventually started, and I drove it to my mechanic. Had I managed to make that merge, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where I would not have caused a pretty big accident.


Since you’ve seen a bunch of illustrations, I’ll just add a few pictures from my walk with Maddie.

56 thoughts on “BatSh…um, Those Drivers & Serendipity

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  1. I am glad you are safe and didn’t end up in an accident. That had to be scary, to have the car go completely dead. The guy that took your spot gets a hallelujah from me.
    On the other hand, the idiot that drove the rest-area driver onto the shoulder is an impatient idiot. So is the red light guy. At least the took-your-spot guy did you and all of us a huge favor.

    And I’ll give another hallelujah for spring weather and the Maddie cot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. The lane I was trying to get into was so crowded, I think four or five lanes merge into two sets of two, it’s a crazy interchange. I couldn’t even get my flashers to work. I can’t imagine not causing an accident if I suddenly slowed down in that traffic. I’ll take the hallelujahs, can I get an amen?

      Those other two nimrods were just asking for trouble. If I had pulled out when my light turned green, I would have hit the idiot making a left turn from three lanes over – against the light.

      I hope you have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, first off, you deserved that ice cream. Secondly. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt? Was it your transmission? Thirdly, you just described everday Atlanta traffic. I have seen things I did nit believe humanly possible on the roads here. Lastly, That is one cool looking “checkered” flag. 😉Hello Maddie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I think I’m going to try to explain the car’s problem on Saturday. I guess traffic is bad all over. I was thinking I could blame this sudden rash of idiocy on Daylight Saving Time – anything to get rid of that – or perhaps the full moon, or maybe there are just more nutjobs on the road.

      I didn’t see the flag looking like that. The wind was blowing and the shutter lag caused me to get a folded flag instead of a straight one, but I thought it was pretty cool.

      Maddie got to sit outside twice, yesterday, on top of a long walk. She’s a happy pup. she didn’t want to get up this morning. I hope you have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There must be something about Hartford. Years ago we had the exact same issue, cruising along at 70mph…. then nothing. Kaput! Dead on the highway…. wth? Ours never started again though… had to be towed. Crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What’s that saying? God was your copilot! I marvel at how low the intelligence factor must be for some of these drivers. There are so many of them. It’s like a cartoon: mild mannered individual gets behind the wheel of a car are becomes . . . HIGHWAY HOOLIGAN!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that, Pam. Between, “Hartford, the Zone of Darkness” and “HIGHWAY HOOLIGAN!” we’re painting a pretty grim picture of New England highways (but a well-deserved picture). These people act with zero concern for those around them. It’s like they expect everyone to see the and stay out of the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That had to be the scariest thing–to have your car die on a major highway! Yeah, probably the only time I would ever say it, but thank God for jerks! We just say, “Alabama driver” down here and everyone knows what you mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Up here, that might be an insult to Alabama. The term “Masshole” has been in the New England vernacular for many years. I didn’t understand when I first arrived in 1981, but a few weeks later, I started working on a project in Boston and it sunk in.

      When the car died, I was pretty sure I was going to get hit. It’s such a bad interchange under normal conditions. I think my guardian angel was directing traffic.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad you were able to avoid an accident. Damn scary when your car lays down and plays dead in the middle of a highway. We had a Dodge Dart that did that regularly. We got rid of it! Hope your heart rate and BP were back to normal by the time you got home. Me? I would have been frantic looking for a rest area! Lol.

    Yaayyyy, your chair and Maddie’s cot set up outside and ready to go.

    I love the flag folded over itself giving the illusion of being checkered. Neat picture!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. That was pretty scary. I don’t think BP started to settle down until I had the car parked in my mechanic’s lot. I got off the highway as quickly as I could.

      The checkered flag was a happy accident of timing, but I like it. I’m glad you do.

      I think Maddie is in spring/summer/fall mode

      Like

  7. Charlie and I were riding with a friend of Charlie’s when some jerk cut him off and made him have to brake abruptly. I would have been cussing. This guy, ex-Marine, said, in a mild, voice, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was YOUR road.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They are everywhere Dan. At first I thought I was being stalked by the driver behind me. Then I came to the realization they must have been experiencing a urological emergency. They kept very close and tried to teach me sign language. Unfortunately I was under the misconception that the two cars traveling the speed limit in front of me left me no option to alter my own speed. And I was too flustered to find the magic button on the dashboard to make my vehicle disappear. The construction and lane change cones had absolutely no effect on their driving behavior. My vehicle was in the way and needed to move now. Fortunately I was able to turn right at the next traffic light. As the other car sped away the driver of the car was able to signal that it was only a level 1 urological emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the worst, John. When not only is the guy behind you and idiot, but he expects you to be an idiot on his behalf.

      Makes me yearn for the days when I was driving my old Dodge pickup. There’s nothing quite like driving a big heavy vehicle you don’t really care about. Very few accident scenarios were going to end with me being the one crushed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Don’t you just love the designs of the roadways – and how people created their own rules of the road? Your images reflect some of the true challenges of getting around major routes. I think we certainly have more challenges on the road today. Nice images. Nice ice cream shop too. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure if it’s the roads or the people, but driving is getting more challenging, every year, Ron. The ice cream shop opened for the season a couple of weeks ago. This was our first visit.

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    1. Crankshaft sensor malfunction. It it dangerous driving here, John. I guess it’s the same in a lot of places but it’s not fun. When you don’t have ice cream all year round, when they open, it’s a big deal 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There are a couple of interchanges here that if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s very bad news. There’s also a lot of semis in those interchanges making it hard to see before you need to change a lane unless you’ve been there before. Roundabouts cause huge problems. People just don’t know what to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m now breathing deeply to bring down my blood pressure. I’ve seen enough of this sort of thing to feel as if I’m there. :-( The rudesby who wouldn’t allow the rest area people to merge is unfortunately far from alone. Along with him and his ilk, I would lump those who stop where they’re blocking an exit from a store/post office/gas station/driveway/etc. The light’s red, they can only get one car-length ahead, and no one can get out. But if the blocker were trying to get out from one of those aforementioned spots, s/he would be furious.

    Have to admit I get more than a little satisfaction from pulling up to a red light next to or even in front of someone who blew by me or was weaving in and out of traffic, all to no avail. Just start a few minutes earlier, please!!

    Glad you’re OK and thankful nothing worse happened. That had to be a scary moment!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. I had a guy honking at me for not blocking an exit from a gas station. He wanted to cut through the station to avoid the intersection. I felt so bad for the people editing the rest area.

      I know what you mean about catching up with the people who tried to get ahead. It’s just not worth it.

      Like

    1. Yes, it was a bad sensor. I was plenty scared sitting there with nowhere to go. As for the people, I knew that emphasis they put on “defensive driving” in high school, would come in handy some day. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Gosh I’m glad for that serendipity you had. Guardian angels must be so busy during rush hours!
    Not too long ago, I stopped, the car beside me stopped, but the guy in the right lane blew through on red and smashed to bits the car turning left because we stopped. It was a terrible accident for the left turner. The guy who blew the light hopped right out and began apologizing, but I hope left turner sues his pants off. PLENTY of drivers behind me hate that I’ll stop, and worse that I’ll not make blind left turns. I hope they secretly blog about how I save their lives. Sigh.
    Love G is for giraffe — what a sweet little park!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember you liking the G for giraffe in the kids playground. Those animals have been there since Faith was a little girl. They keep updating the playscape side, but they’ve left this alone. I’ll keep making time with it.

      It’s scary that you’re somewhat in danger, because you stop for red lights. I wonder what the guy who caused the accident feels?

      My old boss (years ago) used to get so angry with people who wouldn’t pull into the intersection so they could keep going/turning after the light changed. I pointed out one time that “the sign says Don’t Block the Box” but he just sat there and got angry. He honked, and when they light turned and we had to wait another cycle, he was totally p-o’d. I just can’t get that upset about stuff like that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s hope I ran into all the idiots on the road. I wish you luck getting through Hartford without incident. My car is back on the road. Ice cream is being sold (and consumed) and we’re sitting outside with Maddie – I think spring is here.

      Like

  13. You definitely have someone looking out for you!!! Most of the “stupid” drivers I see on the LA freeways are because they are looking at their phones…does no one have blue tooth???? or verbal navigation??? I don’t get it, but have decided it’s looking at and responding to texts…illegal…with 5 lanes of cars driving fast and then stop and go….really stupid…ugh!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kirt. Yeah, with the level of distracted drivers on the road, I’m sure a car dying in the middle of an interchange would have caused someone to hit someone. I was pretty sure it was going to be me. My GPS is verbal and my phone is connected to the car’s sound system via bluetooth. But, I can’t do anything about the car behind me.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My heart was racing like crazy reading your terrible and positive driving adventures. And then there were your photos; the park and the American flag, contrails, Maddie. All is well.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How have I missed these posts up til now?! Excellent. I mean, not the almost getting run down & such…
    I was in an away game caravan yesterday and I swear my life flashed before my eyes a half dozen times. NO MORE. The GPS & I will bring my kid & meet you at the game. 😑

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve driven in your area a couple of times. Crazy only begins to describe it. Boston is another level of crazy. I don’t know how people deal with it every day. I had to commute to Boston, often in my career, and I was sure that wasn’t going to end well.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I was thinking that the drivers in Toronto couldn’t get much worse … until now. I have never seen stupid driving at this level before. I’m shaking my head.

    Having your car suddenly DIE on a highway like this – horrifying!! Now I have something else to worry about when I’m in traffic 😳

    Like

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