2019-02-06 / Editorials

The worst drivers

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

When I was a kid, I loved watching “The Jetsons,” a cartoon about a family set in the space-age future.

George and Jane Jetson had a futuristic house where you pushed a button to make dinner, you stood on a moving sidewalk while robots showered you, dried you off and dressed you and you walked the dog, Astro, by standing on a treadmill outside the house.

I particularly like George’s flying car. I don’t know in what year “The Jetsons” was set, but my 5-year-old brain figured by the year 2019 we would certainly have flying cars and I could zip around wherever I wanted to go without ever sitting in traffic again in my life.

Alas, as 2019 begins, we don’t yet have flying cars and I spend an inordinate amount of time on the roads with people who do not know how to drive. I have long thought Georgia drivers were bad — just look at how many people want to go 50 mph in the fast lane of the interstate — but I’ve never really had any data to back me up. Until now.

Turns out I’m right about Georgia drivers. Mostly. Drivers in Georgia rank as the 15th worst in the United States, according to QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison marketplace.

Drivers in Maine and South Carolina are the first and second worst drivers, respectively. Michigan and Mississippi have the best drivers.

To determine the rankings, QuoteWizard analyzed more than two million data points from the Federal Highway Administration and then grouped them into five categories: accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations and fatalities.

That’s fine, of course. But to really determine who has the worst drivers, shouldn’t they have considered other factors, like the aforementioned slow-pokes who won’t get out of the fast lane.

We have a law against it, but that hasn’t made a dent in the number of people who park themselves — no pun intended — in the fast lane and refuse to move over. I usually do better by driving in the slow lane and passing all the folks in the fast lane.

Georgia must lead the nation in the number of people who do not know how to use the center turn lane. It is supposed to be used exclusively by people who want to turn left on a busy street so that traffic doesn’t back up behind them. Drivers aren’t supposed to turn onto the road into the center turn lane and use it to merge into traffic, even though I’m nearly in accidents three times a week with drivers who don’t know that.

I see a lot of people who don’t get out of the way of emergency vehicles, and this makes me as mad as the slow pokes. I don’t want anyone’s house to catch on fire. But if one has to, I always hope it’s the house of the dude who won’t get out of the way of the fire truck.

And don’t get me started on people who park in the fire lanes at the grocery store. Last week, I was at Kroger. Only one car at a time could pass in front of the store because of all the people who ignored the fire lane signs.

It all makes me wonder that if Georgia has the 15th worst drivers, how bad must the drivers be in the 14 states ahead of us?

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN.com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com . Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/blog/mitch.

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