Living in DC has it's perks. Great Nightlife, lots to do (if you aren't lazy) and pretty well situated on the Eastern Seaboard so New York and Boston aren't far off. But for all the great things, there is one thing that I will never miss on that day I return to my Midwestern roots: Traffic.
I-395= My personal hell after work
Now, I always believed that the worst drivers in the country resided in Michigan, but I really didn't have much to compare that thought to......until I moved here.
There are three types of drivers that reside in DC: The natives, the foreigners and the transplants. Each is identified by specific characteristics and driving habits.
The Natives are the break riders. They are used to traffic, grew up in it and therefore their immediate reflex is to stomp the brakes at any and all times. The next car on the highway can be half a mile in front of them, but said car hits the brakes, guess what, of course the native will hit theirs as well. Native drivers also tend to drive one of the following 3 cars: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. They do not believe in turn signals, looking before merging into traffic and are incapable of getting up to speed before exiting the on ramp to the highway.
The foreigners are terrified to drive. They will drive 25 miles an hour, even on the highway and they also seem to be unable to comprehend basic traffic laws. Cab drivers fall into this category as well, only they aren't afraid of driving, they will probably kill you in the crosswalk just to beat a light or make a turn. No foreign driver makes a person driving in DC shudder more than a diplomat plate.
Granted Diplomats do good work, but they are completely incapable of driving in this country. I assume they are used tt driving on the other side of the road, but anytime one sees this plate loose on the highway, we all know to back up and give them space on all four sides. Unpredictability can be fun but not in a car.
Then you have the transplants. We grew up in the country far from the city, corn fed and farm raised, driving riding mowers at age 5 and getting our first tractor at age 12. We take no prisoners on the highway. Transplants are quite agressive, but this anger is fed by the constant stupidity we have to deal with from the natives and foreigners. The problem basically is we know how to drive a car and know what the mirrors attached on all sides are for and we realize a car can go above 30 with no problems.
Even with the 3 categories, there is just some commonality among all of them. Something about getting on a highway into or out of DC makes people turn stupid. Being cut off in traffic is constant and may God help you, should you find yourself stuck on the highway when the sky turns gray, or these water droplet things start falling from the sky. NO ONE knows how to drive when it rains.
Or snows...they close schools on 1 inch of snow. Even the cops are not used to it. I remember the first winter I was here, I was driving at about 55 down 395 in snow flurries and I was pulled over. NOT for speeding, but for driving too fast for conditions. I would like to point my out my Michigan license plate was still attached to my vehicle at this time and I laughed in this man's face with a simple "what conditions officer?"