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Regular port-swiller CrisN dropped this Bloomberg article into the old Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack:

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) — When it comes to driving,
Washington, D.C., motorists are again leading the nation.

     They were declared the least knowledgeable in the U.S.
about rules of the road in May. And now, a study shows they’re
the most accident-prone drivers in any U.S. city — for the
fourth straight year.

     Drivers in the U.S. capital get in a collision every 4.8
years, more than twice the rate of the average American driver,
Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. auto insurer,
said today in a statement. Fort Collins, Colorado, drivers had
the lowest frequency of accidents for the second straight year,
going an average of 14 years between collisions. New York, the
most populous U.S. city, ranked 171st, with drivers crashing
about every seven years.

     “They’re the worst drivers you can see in Washington,”
said Ernest Thomas, owner of Thomas Service Center, an auto
repair shop in the capital in a phone interview. “They just cut
and dodge, and they’re in the biggest hurry you’ve ever seen.
The speed limit doesn’t mean anything to them.”

 Indeed.  The article does not say exactly what is meant by “Washington, D.C. motorists,”  but therein lies, I think, a big part of the story.

You see, there are, in fact,  three very different sorts of drivers in Your Nation’s Capital, each with very distinctive personalities and characteristics.

[Blanket generalization function/on.]

Those of us haling from the Great Commonwealth of Virginny tend to be fast and aggressive.  Not for nothing did South of the Border put up a billboard on I-95 south years ago that read, “No, Virginia, 95 is NOT the speed limit!”  But that said, you know where you are with Virginians.  Our aggressiveness is predictable, our boldness rational.  Everybody knows just what everybody else is doing.

Not so the Murrlanders.  As I have argued for years and years (and as CrisN notes in his message), every single last one of them is bat-shite crazy.  Every.  Single.  One.  Not necessarily the fast and aggressive kind of crazy (although some are certainly that), just hopelessly, psychotically unpredictable.  You never, ever know what one of them is going to do next, whether on the highway, a by-road, a parking lot or even your own driveway, should they come a’calling.

Dee Cee residents themselves practice a third driving style, a kind of self-perpetuating amateurism.   Most of them don’t like to drive very much – it ruins the hip, urban Manhattanite-wannabe image and makes them look like knuckle-dragging Red State suburbanites.   To the extent that they do need to get into their Prius from time to time, they tend only to know certain neighborhoods and routes (e.g., to the closest Whole Foods or Home Despot).  Now granted, they tend to know those particular routes very well and are experts at, for example, getting themselves in and out of Adams-Morgan.  The trouble is when they go further afield, especially when it involves getting on the highway, the speeds of which they aren’t used to and don’t like.  If you see a car doing 50 mph in the left lane on the Beltway, it’s a good bet the thing will have Dee Cee plates.  (Also, probably, one of those $*#&$*( “Coexist” bumper stickers with all the religious symbols, but that’s a rant for another time.)

So here is why the accident rate is so high:  These three different driving styles, all brought together on the same system of roads, constitute an automotive  Perfect Storm.  With the Bold, the Nutsy and the Pokey all jockeying around each other, it’s no wonder the place resembles a giant bumper-car ride.  At least in my experience, this phenomenon exists nowhere else in the States, at least to such a marked extent.

[Blanket generalization function/off.]

Greetings, my fellow port-swillers!  I hope you had a pleasant Labor Day weekend.

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t usually gripe here, but please allow me to indulge myself for once.   Why?  Because it’s the Tuesday after a holiday Monday, which means combining all the worst elements of both days together.  Also, it’s the first day of the school year in the great Commonwealth of Virginny, meaning the morning commute is one damned bus-generated crawl after another.  In addition, the guv’mint is back from hols, meaning the Dee Cee metro is once again packed.  Plus, it’s soggy and sodden out, courtesy of the remains of T.S. Lee.

And to cap it all off, ol’ Robbo is about to burst a blood vessel over Children Who Don’t Listen.

Given all this, I hereby rechristen this day as Moosday.


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September 2011