Wednesday, December 4, 2013

an open letter to Sioux Falls drivers.

Dear Sioux Falls drivers,

Now that the weather has taken a turn for the slippery and snowy, we really need to talk.

Before moving to Sioux Falls, I wasn’t an angry driver. I never got road rage. Sure, I got frustrated when rush hour traffic slowed down to a crawl, but who doesn’t? While driving, I had never experienced all-consuming, soul-crushing fury… until I moved to Sioux Falls.

As a teenager, I drove to Sioux Falls from time to time, but I never really noticed the bad drivers. I was in Sioux Falls for such a short stretch each time that it never registered with me. But let me tell you: when you live here and have to drive around here every day, you notice.

Sioux Falls drivers, the first thing I must ask is this: what is with your aversion to turn signals? I cannot go a single day without seeing at least half a dozen cars turn without signaling. Mind you, this is not a simple “that guy didn’t put on his turn signal when he was turning right and it’s just a minor annoyance” kind of thing (even though I see that all the time. ALL THE TIME). This is more of a “WTF WHY IS THIS DRIVER DRIFTING INTO MY LANE I’M GOING TO DIE” kind of thing. When you Sioux Falls drivers want to change lanes, you tend not to put on your turn signal to show the drivers around you what you’re doing; oh no. You either a.) just start drifting to the other lane and assume that people will move out of the way, or you b.) stop in the middle of the road and sit there until you can get in, leaving other drivers to wonder just what is going on.

And that’s another thing: drifting. Sioux Falls drivers, why do you think it’s ok just to drift in between lanes and through parking lots like you do? Your mirrors are there for a reason, my friends. I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost been run into because somebody was too lazy to check their mirrors to see that there was, in fact, A CAR RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE DRIFTING. My horn gets a lot of good use around here, let me tell you.

Maybe the concept of multiple lanes is what gets to you. You not only drift, but you seem to be totally clueless about merging etiquette. Haven’t you ever heard of zippering? When a lane is ending and must merge with another lane (like an on-ramp to the interstate), you zipper in: every other car, like the teeth of a zipper. It’s not complicated, but it’s not something I have ever seen while driving in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls drivers, you also seem not to know how to park your cars like normal people. Exhibit A:
Actual photo from a WalMart parking lot.
I see this over and over and OVER. You also really like to be THAT GUY and block up an entire row of a parking lot because you THOUGHT you saw that lady with the parking spot close to the door get in her car, and you’ll be damned if you lose that parking place to someone else. Never mind that in the time you waited and backed up traffic, you could’ve been parked about five spaces back and been in the store already.

Yes, Sioux Falls drivers, you take your sweet time. Speed limits on roads make little difference to you: if the sign says 35, you’re going to go 27. If you’re in the left turn lane and see a green arrow, you may cruise pokily through the intersection, leaving no time for the drivers behind you to get through… or you may ignore the arrow altogether because you’re not sure what it is.

Look, I realize that if you are South Dakota natives, you probably didn’t have the best driver’s education. I know: mine was terrible, but that’s a story for another time. But it doesn’t take driver’s ed to know that you’re not supposed to be totally oblivious to the drivers around you. And don’t even get me started on bike riders. (Ok, since you asked: don’t ride your bike on Sioux Falls streets, because you WILL get run over.)

Sioux Falls drivers, it’s not just me who feels this way. I’ve talked to all sorts of visitors to Sioux Falls, as well as fellow transplants. We all agree that you have a long way to go. We are all tired of driving around Sioux Falls, having to be hyper-alert because you’re not paying any attention. Plus, I’m sick of screaming expletives at the top of my lungs. Honestly, I’ve lived in three major metropolitan areas: Denver, New Orleans, and Minneapolis. Driving in those places was nowhere near as difficult as driving in Sioux Falls. Drivers in these cities actually check their mirrors, and – miracle of miracles – use their turn signals. I never had any issues with the zipper merge in these cities, nor did I get burning road rage when I drove in them. Honestly, Sioux Falls, if these huge cities can make driving easy, what’s your excuse?

Get it together.



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