What’s The Matter With Atlanta Drivers? – Part 2

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Cultural Observations, Random Observations
Tags: , , ,

This is the second of five parts of an article I wrote in 2007 about the foibles and follies of Atlanta drivers. Despite the passage of enough time for each of them to have had the article read to them personally by me, they continue to baffle and bewilder casual observer and frightened fellow-drivers alike.

More about cellphones. We all see drivers cruising along, cellphone pressed to their ear, and we’re certain they’re pretty much oblivious to what’s going on around them. So why is it that we can carry on a conversation with someone next to us in the car, but it becomes a bad thing when we talk to someone who’s not there? That’s the reason – they’re not there. When you’re talking to someone in the same car, you’re both watching the road, and if things get interesting, the conversation dies away until the road situation’s been dealt with.

When you’re driving and talking on the phone with someone, though, they don’t see the road. Hell, they may not even know you’re in a car! I remember once talking to my boss about salaries, a pretty detailed conversation, and all of a sudden I realized, from something he said, that he was driving – in an airport parking lot! (I told him to call me back when he got to his destination and hung up.)

So what happens – often – is that the conversation takes priority and the driver is only marginally involved in the act of driving, much more so than when talking to someone in the car with you. The miracle here – again – is that there aren’t a lot more fatalities.

Atlanta drivers engage in all sorts of other strange behavior behind the wheel as well. We’ve all seen someone eating a burger so large there’s no way he can keep his eyes on the road (“It takes two hands . . .”), but how many have seen someone reading a newspaper or book? Or the contortionist who’s watching the television installed for the rear-seat set? Or people with laptop computers in their laps, websurfing while they drive? And women are famous for putting on their makeup while driving to work, using the rearview mirror for guidance.

NOTE: Since I published this article, another annoying behavior surfaced, one which is highly dangerous: texting while driving. I’ve seen this extremely foolish behavior on Atlanta’s roads and highways, and it’s scary as hell. In fact, I’m tempted to blow my horn at such drivers, but I’m worried I’ll startle them and cause an accident.

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