New College Year, New Driving Experiences

It’s official. Summer 2012 has ended (not the season, just the school break). Now that it’s back to school, I find myself having all sorts of new good and bad experiences while driving from my house in Queens to Brooklyn College. I’d like to share some of them with you today.

THE GOOD:

  • Driving in general – I’ve always felt that driving is something everyone should learn to do. It’s really not that hard when you get right down to it. The hard part is learning how to be safe on the road and how to prevent accidents/collisions (this is also the most IMPORTANT part). Those two things sound very threatening by themselves, and I believe that’s what turns most people off from learning to drive (or makes them feel that it’s much harder than it really is).If you can brave the infamous road test and master the skill, driving will eventually become just plain fun. Being in control of such a powerful metal machine is a really cool feeling. Just check out a recent Macaulay VLog of mine if you don’t believe me:

  • Peaceful alone time – At least in my case, driving to and from college is something that’s done alone. On an off day, I might feel bad about this lonely feeling, but most of the time, I think it’s really relaxing. Driving to and from school provides me with time to think, pray, eat, talk/sing to myself–whatever I’m in the mood to do at the time. It can be a way to relax, a way to get anger out, a way to plan or a way to just be. Maybe I’m going a little too ‘deep’ with this one, so I’ll just end it there, haha!
  • Party rocking – Most of the time I’m driving, I’m listening to the radio. Whether it’s 92.3, 100.3, 106.7 or my own iPod hookup, music makes driving awesome. Now I’m not one of those annoying jerks who BLASTS every song so that the car and all other vehicles and houses around it are shaking. No, I just play my music at a medium level so that way I can hear the tunes AND the road.

THE BAD:

  1. Speeders – Speeders love to go fast in areas where the shouldn’t be. The Belt Parkway (the highway I travel on everyday to get to school) is a prime example of a place where people go way, WAY too fast. Speeders also love to tailgate and honk repeatedly the nanosecond after a light changes to green. When I encounter a Speeder, I drive very slow. By doing that, they get pissed off and switch lanes to go and tailgate someone else. =)
  2. Reckless Drivers – Reckless Drivers don’t necessarily like to go fast, but they love to break the law. This includes changing lanes and/or turning without signaling, not stopping at Stop signs, braking at the last minute, running red lights and other things of the like. This is the group the causes the most accidents, by far. I’ve encountered many drivers that swerve in and out of lanes and speed through red lights, and almost every time I thank God that I didn’t witness an accident. Unfortunately, many of my friends do a lot of these things, despite my constant shouting and arguing against it. If I was a cop, I’d track down every bad driver I encountered and give them one heck of a ticket.
  1. People Who Have A License But Really Shouldn’t – We’ll say PLBS for short. PLBS are drivers who just don’t know how to drive. If I see a car on the road that has “Student Driver” plastered on all sides, then it’s no problem. But when I see cars that drive too slow (to the point where they can cause accidents), don’t know when to enter a lane from a highway entrance or can’t drive in a straight line, it’s unacceptable. PLBS also rarely signal turns. I can tell you right now that every Livery van driver in Brooklyn falls under this category.
  2. Salespeople and fundraising campaigns – This category is probably the least frequently occurring one on the list. It includes people who sell things on street sides (water, flowers, etc.) and people who are having fundraisers for random causes (little league baseball, children with diseases, cancer victims, etc). Also on the list are homeless people who sit roadside with sings that read, “No home, no job, no money.” I have no problem with people trying to make an honest buck or even people trying to raise money for whatever cause. The problem is when these people get angry. I’m sorry, but you are NOT allowed to be angry if a driver says, very respectfully and calmly, “No thank you, maybe another time.” Just the other day, I passed by a McDonalds that was having a fundraiser for a Brooklyn girl who unfortunately had a tragic accident that left her paralyzed. I didn’t know what this fundraiser was about at the time, nor did I have any money on me, so when one of the women at the fundraiser ran up to my window at a red light and shouted, “WANT TO HELP OUT A PARALYZED GIRL,” I respectfully and calmly said “I’m sorry, but no thank you. Maybe another time.” As soon as she heard me say no, the lady’s face went from happy to angry. She pulled her head right out of my window, said “Ahhhhhh, come on,” and hit my window with her ring hand. I heard a really loud crack and was worried my window was broken, but thankfully it wasn’t. I’m always for fundraising, especially since I did so much of it throughout my four years of Catholic high school, but when one of the people at the fundraiser gets angry because you say “no thanks” and then hits your car, I’m not happy at all.

THE UGLY:

  • BMWs – I saved this one for last and even gave it its own category because boy oh boy does it deserve it. BMWs are great cars. From mechanics and family who’ve owned them, I hear that they drive great and don’t really have many issues (until they start getting old, but I digress). They also cost a lot and go really fast, another thing people like about them. Unfortunately, these traits seem to draw out the worst drivers imaginable. Almost 95% percent of the time I see a BMW on the road, they do something dangerous, reckless and harmful to every driver around them. They’re always the cars that go way too fast. They’re always the cars with the tinted out windows and super-bright headlights. They’re always the cars that turn without signaling, run Stop signs and traffic lights, and swerve in and out of lanes. They’re the worst. Unfortunately, BMW’s clientele have turned me off from every buying or promoting the sale of a BMW, and I’m positive that you’ll feel the same way if you’re a safe driver like me.

Well, that about sums up my driving experiences in and around Queens and Brooklyn. If you’re a safe driver like me (and I’m saying that with humbleness and humility), you hopefully feel the same way about these things.

If you’re new to driving, don’t be afraid of the road! Just be careful and you’ll find yourself driving very professionally and calmly in no time. And if you’ve been driving safely, then keep up the good work!

I’ll see you on the road.

About Daniel

Daniel is a graduate of CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, summa cum laude with a B.A. in Film Production and TV/Radio. He can be reached via his website, www.passingplanes.com. The Utopia of Daniel was his college blog and he has since transitioned to posting on other sites.