Minnesota nice turns into Minnesota idiots

Published 11:10 am Monday, June 21, 2010

There are many idiot drivers on the road. I don’t like to call people names. I don’t usually try to insult people. I like Minnesota nice, but it is sometimes impossible to be Minnesota nice when your life is put in jeopardy by antics on the road.

When I use the word idiot driver, I am not talking about those people that occasionally make a mistake while they are driving, all of us do that. I am not talking about those people that unknowingly cause a problem and would be horrified if they knew they did. I am talking about those people that blatantly ignore the rules and drive like the road belongs to them only, with no thought to the rest of the people that are on the highway.

I am ranting like this after a few days in the Twin Cities and a trip to Iowa. And, no, I can’t blame it on the Iowans because the problem makers did not have Iowa license plates.

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It was a very rainy weekend in Iowa. We weren’t 10 miles out of Ankeny when we encountered a long line of cars stopped on the freeway in both lanes. There were troopers a mile before the slowdown to warn us of the upcoming glitch. We could see that further down the road were more emergency vehicles. We were resigned to the fact that we would have to be patient until we crawled to the next exit so we could exit the freeway and take a back road. However, not everyone knew what patience was.

Soon I looked in my side mirror. There was a semi that was quite a distance behind us that decided to pull out and drive on the shoulder of the road past all of the cars. All it took was one independent soul to start everyone out. Soon the line on the shoulder was as far back as the lines on the freeway. Soon people from the other lanes were trying to get onto the shoulder so as we crept forward we had to be on the watch for the lane changers who didn’t seem to care that there were cars sitting where they wanted to go. These cars muscled their way in and almost caused more accidents.

The fun didn’t end there with this particular scenario. The lead semi that caused such a traffic jam made it to the exit and exited the freeway only to go across the road and back into the entrance of the freeway muscling his way into the traffic and ahead of all the cars, whose drivers had patiently waited in the traffic jam. Whether this trucker continued using the shoulder of the road I cannot tell you. I would hope that if he did, a diligent highway patrolman would have informed him of the error of his ways.

We did make it to a rural road. As you know, there are Sunday drivers on our rural roads. I don’t have any problem with Sunday drivers, but a few motorists did. These drivers chose to not only pass on a yellow line but to pass three cars at once and because they almost collided head on with another car. They cut in and almost caused a collision with the drivers that were driving sensibly.

We made it back to the freeway later on in our journey where we met other drivers that I consider to be in the category that I started the article with. You know what I mean, the idiot category.

I have learned that you can’t go any faster than the first car in your lane when you are passing a semi. It doesn’t help to try and nudge the driver in front of you along by trying to climb onto their bumper. I wanted to scream, “Where do you expect me to go?” Actually I was screaming that. I think I am going to buy a flashing sign to put in my back window that says, “Back off! This means you.” Of course, that would probably incite a little road rage.

I also thought about borrowing a technique from the movies. I would invent a device where with one push of a button long poles would pop out of my taillight. The car that is on my bumper would have to keep its distance or I would poke their lights out.

There was also the scenario at road construction. Heaven forbid that you would be polite enough to let another car in ahead of you. You might actually loose valuable seconds if you let a car merge so you can get down to one lane.

I know I sound like a little kid wanting to get even. That seems to be a reaction to all this silliness on the roads. We turn into an idiot. Because we are so affected by what another driver does it makes us do things we normally would not dream of doing, probably like this column. I threw Minnesota nice out the window and called these drivers idiots.

I have one more thing to say and that is this. For those of you that drive too fast, think you are the only car on the road, text, read and fiddle while you are driving and ignore rules that are in place to keep someone safe I have to say to you: I don’t care what happens to you. You made your choice. However, I do care about the lady in the car next to you. I care about the baby in the car seat in front of you. I care about the man whose family is going to have to struggle without him. I care about the little boy walking across the street that may never be able to walk again. I care about your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your family and your friends who are all going to be affected because of the choices you make while driving. I guess that means I was wrong; I do care about what happens to you because of those that are in your path. If you are offended because I called you an idiot, prove me wrong.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send e-mail to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net .Her blog is paringdown.wordpress.com. Listen to KBEW AM radio 1:30 p.m. Sundays for “Something About Nothing.”