You see that Porsche? That’s my car. Her and I are partners in crime around Austin. Braving the heat, bad roads, and even worse drivers. Austin is a haven of good food, great sights, and great music. And for the most part, very good people. That is, until they step behind the controls of a Motor Vehicle. Moving from The Woodlands, to Austin, has taught me many things about Texans and their driving habits.
Let me explain.
The first thing you will notice about driving in Austin will either be the poor quality of the city streets, or the amount of traffic they contain. The second thing you will notice will be the quality of the drivers. Texan drivers can be be put into three categories. Fast and Aggressive, Slow and Stupid, or Average and Kind.
Fast and Aggressive drivers you will find in cities like Houston, Dallas, and the bigger suburbs, like The Woodlands. The speeds are high, the moves are daring, but generally everyone gets there okay and on time. The Average and Kind drivers? Those are gonna be the kind, gentle folk who live in farming communities, or older quiet towns, like Fredericksburg. Honest folk who just want to get to point B from point A, and by golly, they are going to enjoy the scenery of this great nation while they do it. They are by far my favorite drivers to deal with, because if you are category one, they will get right the fuck out of your way, or wave you by if they are going under the limit, or lost. Amazing people, angels driving mid range American cars from the early 2000’s.
“But Patrick, you aren’t going to say your own city is slow and stupid, are you?” Yes I am. And while I might have sugar coated the rest of Texas a little bit, it is here that I show the dark side of drivers in the Friendship state. I will start this off with a caveat though; Blake Z. Rong, who recently moved here called Austin drivers “Polite” and told me they “Never Honked” which either means that he just lives on a better side of town than I do, or means LA is the single worst place on Earth to drive a motor vehicle. That, and he kindly reminded me that he was from Massachusetts, the state that weaponized bad driving.
But, back to Austin. Austin drivers, and drivers in San Antonio, who are guilty by association, are Slow, and stupid. What do I mean by that? Constantly under the speed limit, no merging discipline, often forgetting to use their turn signals, or in some cases forgetting to turn their lights on at night. Combine all that with idiots constantly driving distracted, and incidents of road rage, and I have to say Austin is one of the worst places to drive in the US. Distracted driving is an art form around here, and just last night I saw someone enter the brave new world of looking at both their Apple watch, and their iPhone. At the same fucking time.
Now where does my Porsche fall into all this? Well, first off, It gets both a lot of positive attention, which I enjoy, and it’s easy to park, which is always nice, but it does have the weird superpower, of no one seeing it. The amount of times I have used my horn to let someone in a big SUV that they are about to crush me to death, has to number in the dozens. That, and let me just say, the AC being dead has left me using the windows, which thanks to Austin’s constant catchup construction has left me getting sand and rocks in my eyes and face. That, and the amount of idiots that think it’s funny to roll coal on someone has skyrocketed in the past couple months.
Austin is in the middle of some painful growth right now, and with all the influx of drivers from other states, combined with the lack of any useful public transit is killing any enthusiasm I usually have for running errands. I know more and more people here in Austin that are afraid to drive their nice cars, or to drive at all in the city. I for one, will never ride a two wheeled anything within the city after getting run off the road by a distracted driver.
While the city is dragging it’s feet, what can you and I do to make Texas, and it’s Capitol a better place to drive? Put down your phone, use your blinkers, and just make sure you know what you are doing. That and, for gods sake, don’t drink and drive.