I hate people who can’t drive. I know you’ve said the very same thing, likely about me, but honestly – I don’t care. I can drive. I’ve had two accidents EVER and both were caused by other people. (Technically one was caused by a spider, but we won’t get into that.)

When driving down the street there seem to be three types of drivers and at one time or another, we’ve all been one of these people. Imagine you’re going down a three lane… err, lane and riding a horse. It’s a nice horse, nothing flashy like those damned Arabians but a sound quarter-horse with good speed in the straightaway. You’re riding along when ahead of you in your lane is someone riding a cow.

Now, cows have the potential to be quite fast. Ever seen those bovines stampede? Me either, but I hear it’s a sight. I’m a city girl and if ever cows stampede here, I’m going to have some serious issues with the city planners. Anyway, so you’re riding along and there’s a cow. It’s plodding along. Not necessarily a slow animal, but why is it in the horse lane? It’s obviously not traveling at the same speeds as the horses.

You look around, thinking to pass the cow behind the next thoroughbred to zip by you, but instead you see another cow traveling just fast enough that you can’t slip past. Or worse, it’s a sheep. Sheep travel in long lines behind a cow that seems to be moving quickly to them. Sheep are stupid that way. They will follow whomever is in the lead, but they don’t have the discernment to follow behind a horse that will get them where they are going in a timely manner.

So you and your excellent steed are stuck in traveling hell. Cows and sheep everywhere you look. This is my experience driving on the interstates in the Baltimore/DC Metro area. In Virginia, there are a lot of people either riding cows or pushing along nags that need to be retired to pasture. In DC, everyone is lost. It’s not that big of a city, but seriously – you could wander in circles for days. Plus, they are all on sheep. I’ll give Maryland credit, they mostly ride horses there – from nags to racers, but most of them have bad seats and no riding etiquette.

Horses, cows and sheep – God help you if one of them turns up lame.

This article was originally written in Jan 2007, but I feel the need to add my personal review of the drivers in the DC area:

DC Drivers: Drive as though no one else is on the road.  “I’m in the left lane and need to turn right, so I’ll turn right.”  These people always seem lost because they are never where they need to be for the direction they suddenly need to go.

MD Drivers: Drive as though it is NASCAR.  Wherever they are going, it’s in a hurry.  Pass on the left, right, between lanes – whatever, just get out of the way.   Speeding?  How can you tell, no one is moving under 75 mph, unless they are from out of state.  Don’t be lost in MD, they hate that.

VA Drivers: Drive as though they are terrified of the MD and DC drivers.  Which is probably the case.  Not only are they probably driving the speed limit, but possibly 5 mph below it… just in case.  They aren’t lost, usually, they are just … cautious to the point of dangerousness.

NY / NJ drivers:  Drive …well, that’s a generous term… they maneuver the vehicle they are in rather erratically.  You can never presume what they will do next.  A mixture of a DC and MD driver if they are under the age of 50, but if they are older – prepare to be frustrated… and late.

PA drivers:  Actually fairly mediocre drivers that seem to know where they are going.  Too bad they don’t live here.

TX drivers:  There are a lot of these around here – they drive terribly.  I don’t know why.  They speed up to get in front of you then slow down to sight-see and have no idea where they are going.  Avoid these vehicles.

FL drivers:  I’ve driven in FL.  They speed like maniacs down there.  It’s kind of scary.  Here, however, not so much.  I guess they are too scared of the DC / MD / VA drivers.  Go figure.

Those are the most common plates in the area.  Occasionally you get an NC or OH plate, but generally the out of state plates are due to the large DoD influence and transient society of the DC Metro area.  I understand NYC and LA have worse traffic than we do – I can’t even imagine.