Diatribe: Narcissistic drivers are a peril to all
BY AL VINIKOUR For Sun-Times Media December 31, 2012 1:58PM
This may come as a shock to many of you, but there are a lot of things that make me angry. Those who have followed my columns for the last several years have read only a small sampling of events that drive me up a wall — everything from failure of drivers to use turn signals to poking along in a freeway’s left lane and leaving a trail of cars.
However, there’s one particular type of person who doesn’t get enough negative exposure. I’m referring, of course, to people who fly through an intersection after the stoplight has turned solidly red.
You’ve all seen them flying their missions. You’ve been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for your light to turn green, soaking up the swinging sounds of a Glen Miller recording on your eight-track tape, when you start to pull forward to proceed on your journey. But what’s that crossing before your eyes? It’s a rusted-out 1989 Mercury Sable, the driver totally oblivious to the fact that his or her light turned red 10 or more seconds previously.
It’s no doubt some punk with a cellphone plastered against his or her ear while listening to the latest mumbo jumbo from Funkmaster Roscoe or one of those other rap wizards at a decibel level above 120.
Chances are this miscreant will make it through because others are driving defensively and will take measures to avoid a collision. However, there’s always the possibility that a driver will be taking advantage of his or her right to proceed and BAM! — this poor person’s vehicle is caught in the crosshairs of the music critic/mass communicator who is bored by changes of colors like green, yellow and red.
In an ideal world the only one who would be injured is the person who drove through the red light. However, as we all know, life is far from perfect — so more times than not, the offender will get away without a scratch while the innocent parties he or she hit will not only have their vehicles possibly destroyed but face massive bodily harm and/or lights out.
It’s even more pathetic when innocent children and/or infants are seriously or fatally harmed because of the lowlife who caused the crash.
If it were any member of my family — especially my twin grand boys — who were harmed by someone like I’ve described, I would call in every marker I have as a six-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (I may be exaggerating here a bit but you get my drift) and receive a dispensation to yank the offender from his or her vehicle and beat them across the back of the head with a sledge hammer at the same intersection where the accident occurred.
By causing the harm he or she did, the miscreant has lost his or her passport to live in our society.
I see no difference in injuries caused by a drunk driver — one of the worst viruses to prowl our roads — than that of a distracted driver whose narcissism causes great bodily harm or worse to others. And if you think I’m being dramatic only for the sake of writing this column, think again: Put yourself in the shoes of others who have lost loved ones or whose loved ones were harmed because of the misdeeds of a soulless goof like I’ve described.
I’m sure I’m not alone in my thoughts, so my advice to any driver — especially some immature punk — is this: Be observant and keep your eyes on the road; the life you save will probably be your own.
Al Vinikour is a Midwest-based freelance auto writer. Proving a mind is a “terrible thing to use” he sometimes sits in traffic and ponders about things — generally auto-related — that make him mad. Believing the “pen is mightier than the sword” (and generally results in a whole lot less jail time), he vents his anger through a word processor and produces the Driver’s Side Diatribe column. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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