welcome to arizona, home to the aspiring nascar driver training center

Here’s a story I forgot to share with you, until on my home yesterday I noticed something that jogged my memory.

It seems that every time I passed any cars on the way home, they were always in pairs. It’s like they were learning the drafting techniques that NASCAR drivers use to save on fuel before pulling some slingshot maneuver to pass the guy in front of them.

Well, two different instances ended up pulling me right in the middle of issues that I wasn’t interested in being in.

The first one, I was on my way out of town to work one morning. At the last stoplight before you leave town, the four lane road merges down to a two lane road about 100-150 feet past the intersection. I always gun it a little in those situations to stay out of people’s hair when I have someone in the next lane over, no matter what lane I am in. This particular time, the guy next to me thought it was a NASCAR race. He wanted in front of me. The interesting thing was, he never even pulled even with me. I finally had to give in. I slammed on my brakes, honked my horn so he knew what I thought of the situation, and then started to go again after he got past me. Just as I let off my horn, he slammed on his brakes. I don’t know if he was getting me to try and rear-end him, or if he was thinking about exercising his road rage and getting out of his vehicle. However, after a few tense seconds, he kept going.

The other happened last time I went in to the Phoenix area for a doctor’s appointment. I had stopped at the last major commerce spot before leaving to head back home because I needed to pick up a couple of things that you can’t get in the illustrious city of Globe. So when I left, there were three of us in the right turn lane to get on the ramp for the freeway. The first was a pickup with a trailer attached. I was second, and then there was a black car behind me. From the moment we got the green light and the truck started moving, I could tell that I wouldn’t have a chance to pass him on the ramp, where the dual lane merge happened in no more than 100 feet. (Side story: If you have never driven in a metro area that has a major rush hour, let me explain this one. The traffic oncoming to the freeway is metered during rush hours, so all ramps to the freeways are multiple lanes that turn only in to one lane as you enter the freeway.) Well, once this black car turned on to the ramp, it was behind me at first. Then I saw it move over, and quickly speed up to come even with me. I finally slammed on my brakes so she wouldn’t run me off the entrance ramp, all while honking my horn to express my dissatisfaction at her dangerous and narcissistic driving methods. This lady just gave me a beauty queen wave until I let loose of my horn. Unlike the last situation that had me slightly fearful, this one just ticked me off.

But, it’s not over with that. Once on the freeway, I moved in to the left hand lane after a vehicle passed by me so I can just get out of her hair. But as that car that was now in front of me in the left hand lane approached even with this lady’s back bumper, she started to float over to the lane line, and then with the slimmest of margins, change lanes in front of this guy.

Good news? There maybe more drivers like that in the state of Arizona. But I have only met two. Everyone else, despite their love of speed, are relatively safe drivers.