Thursday, September 1, 2016

Maryland: The Clueless Driver State

We hadn't driven in Baltimore for more than a few minutes before we noticed that there was something seriously weird about the drivers. They weren't aggressive or angry. They seemed to float along in their own little bubbles, completely unaware of other drivers, traffic signs, or lane designations.

We were commenting on this when we drove onto a bridge and saw a sign that explained it all:

All right, then.

I wasn't shocked when I read that of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, GMAC ranked Maryland third worst on knowledge of traffic laws. 

Nor was I amazed to discover than of 200 U.S. cities and conurbations, Allstate ranked Maryland third worst on the per capita accident rate.

Now I understand why, when we moved to Baltimore from a Chicago suburb a couple of years ago, our car insurance doubled.

It's not that Maryland drivers are lethal: 37 states have a higher traffic fatality rate, and only 13 states have a lower one. They just don't seem to care about little things, like whether or not there's already a car in the lane they'd like to be in.

Pretty much every time we drive anywhere, we see at least one moving or non-moving violation. Today, for example, I parked in a lot reserved for compact cars. (I drive a Chevy Spark [144.7" x 62.9"], which is 15" shorter than a Honda Civic.)

At the entrance to the lot, a sign said "For compact cars only." Each parking space said COMPACT in yellow paint.

I parked next to the white Lexus LX470 (192.5" x 76.4") and left. When I returned, the red Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (189.8"x 76.5") had taken the white SUV's place.

Well, at least they weren't RVs. I sighed and left the parking lot, slowing down to avoid hitting a compact car that blew through the stop sign.