I have never been overly impressed with DC drivers. In fact, I’ve never really been impressed by other drivers, period. I tend to subscribe to the notion that when I’m on the road, I’m awesome and everyone else is, let’s see, how do we put this…less than stellar. (No offense.)
That said, there are two groups who, fairly consistently, do impress me: bus drivers and truck drivers. Actually, let me clarify: bus and truck drivers in the city.
First of all, you have the size thing. Since I’ve had my license, I’ve driven a Ford Focus – not exactly a beast on the road. Sure, I’ve had minimal experience driving other, bigger cars (think: mini-van – woohoo!), but not often enough to really get me comfortable. I like driving something little. It’s just that much easier to merge and change lanes at a moment’s notice.
Also, and this one I definitely notice in the city,there’s the turning factor. Growing up and driving in suburbia, I took it for granted that I’d always have plenty of space to turn, or, pull a u-ey (how the hell do you write that?) if necessary. But whenever I see a big-ass semi rounding a DC corner, I almost have to stop and watch because I just can’t believe it can be done.
When I was abroad, my host dad tried to convince me that driving a bus was actually easier than driving a small car. (He was a bus driver – quelle surprise.) “You can see better,” he said. “You have more control of the road.” I took that to mean, It’s easier to see who you’re hitting when they don’t get out of your way. You know, alternate translations and all. I can see any potential target just fine from my Focus, thank you very much.
I’ve occasionally thought about joining the big-car club (not a bus or truck – don’t get crazy); I’m a big fan of the smaller size SUVs. At the end of the day, though, I’ve always decided that I like whipping around corners and easy merging more than running people over. To each his own.
Plus, parallel parking a Focus is a piece of cake. I’d like to see a bus do that.