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Schnipke: Keeping my sanity on Toledo’s roads

February 15, 2017

As my favorite bachelor contestant, Corinne, said this season, “I’m a nice person. I’m not just saying that.” Every day I try to be the very best version of myself that I can. It doesn’t do well for me to get caught up in petty gossip or to be uninvolved with the world around me.

 

 

I hold the door for others, I pay it forward at Starbucks, I smile at those I pass and I point out parking spots to my fellow commuters. However, much like Corrine, sometimes my good intentions end up resulting in me being a terrible person.

 

The worst of the traits I possess is being an angry driver.

 

When I first got my driver’s license at the ripe age of 16, I was so excited. I was finally able to have the part-time job I so very much desired. I could drive to McDonald’s with my friends.

 

And until the rest of my friends got their own licenses, I was the designated driver on party nights.

 

I was, and still am, such a ‘mom’ driver. Seat belts go on as soon as your butt touches the seat. The passenger reads my texts for me and controls the radio. Hands, feet and body appendages stay in the car at all times. No shenanigans go down while I’m driving.

 

55 mph is the typical speed limit back home. I never crossed it, except for that one time when I wanted to see how fast my car could actually go (it topped out at 120, if you were curious). But other than that, I was such a goody-two-shoes while driving.

 

But, since moving to Toledo, my driving style has completely changed. I’m a confrontational driver. My mom doesn’t even like being on speakerphone with me while I’m driving.

 

I curse, I swerve, I slam on my brakes. I follow the speed limit strictly. But that doesn’t stop other people from being awful drivers.

 

I never noticed it when I first started driving, but other drivers can be really horrible. Normal drivers start to slow down when the light turns yellow; Toledo drivers tend to slam on the gas and book it through the light.

 

The number of times I came so close to hitting someone’s bumper is far higher than I care to count. Many drivers pull out from a driveway and cross three lanes of traffic with no cares in the world. They slow down for no particular reason and then speed back up again.

 

Meanwhile, I’m just minding my own business, trying to stay alive on my daily commute to campus.

 

In my hometown, I could count on one hand how many times I actually used my horn besides honking to say ‘hi’ to the neighbors. Now, I probably lay on the horn three times per day.

 

Those cars that swerve in and out of traffic, only to slow down and turn right in front of me. Honk. Someone drives partially in my lane on the skinny part of Secor. Honk. The light turns green and the person in front of me is texting. Honk.

 

My biggest pet peeve is the lack of turn signals. People slow down or even stop in the middle of the road and I’m stuck wondering why I’m waiting behind you when I could be moving.

 

No turn signals when you’re changing lanes. No turn signals when you’re turning right at the stop sign. Bad driving habits. Use your turn signals: They are there for a reason.

 

I don’t like being the type of driver that I am, but I believe that it is unavoidable in the city I live in. If I didn’t evolve to become an aggressive driver, my car would have long ago gone to the junkyard in the sky.

 

Driving gets me where I want to go, but, sometimes, I think walking might be safer. I’d rather die instantly.

 

Emily Schnipke is the IC’s managing editor. She is a third-year communication student with a minor in English.

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