Dear Tell All: Do Madison drivers suck?
Dear Roadie: Actually, they don't. That is, if you take away the folks who drive 45 mph in the left lane on the Beltline. And the less-than-helpful people in the Beltline's right lane who will not allow anyone to merge. You also need to subtract the clueless who scream down John Nolen's center lane only to try to cut in front of a mile of backed-up left-lane traffic in order to go east as John Nolen comes to an end. Remove the morons who don't pay attention to bike or pedestrian traffic. And then take away the imbeciles who eat, drink, text message, gab on their cell phones, apply makeup or practice their latest salsa steps while driving in any part of the city. Minus all of them, you couldn't really say that Madison drivers suck.
At least not any worse than drivers in other cities.
Other metropolitan areas have distinctly inferior highway engineering to contend with. Things like disappearing left lanes, 30-foot on-ramps, traffic lights with no left turn signal where needed, and railroad tracks that cross well-used roads at the peak of rush hour.
Oh, wait. We have those too!
So given the drivers, and the driving conditions, a more relevant question is: Do we have road rage in Madison?
And the answer, of course, is yes.
We do not, however, have run-of-the-mill road rage. Rather than getting in fights with other drivers, we internalize it. How many times have you driven from Park Street to Highway 51 and witnessed wild gesticulation, mouths open, voices ululating, faces red and forehead veins throbbing? These are not heart attacks, but people acting out their road rage inside their cars. While doing so, they weave across lanes, slow down, speed up and generally drive like dolts. Which causes the people behind them to blow their fuses, vent their spleens, shake, quiver, seethe and shout. Which makes for more idiots out there who are most likely in my way when I am trying to get someplace.
So to answer your first question: Yeah, Madison drivers do suck. At least when I'm on the road.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.