Cole Williams

There’s an old saying in my hometown of Gonzales: “Half of the people in this town don’t use their turn signals. The other half don’t turn.”

Unfortunately, this sort of disregard for the rules of the road extends beyond Gonzales to the entire Greater Baton Rouge Area.

A former editor of ours was from Washington State and was constantly amazed at the ineptitude and rudeness of the motorists in Louisiana. And I thought it was just me.

I make the round trip from Gonzales to Port Allen four times a week. I get cut off on I-10 with such regularity that, unless I’m forced to brake so hard that everything on the passenger seat flies up under the dashboard, I barely notice.

When I reach my destination I always know if someone really irritated me because cruise control is activated. The button for cruise control is located right where I slam my palm down to blow the horn at the offender. Take that, infidel!

The only other time I blow my horn in vexation is when I’m waiting at a traffic light and some chucklehead in front of me is so mesmerized by their smart phone that they fail to notice that the light has changed. Sometimes these iPhonemonkeys realize the light has changed just in time to scoot through the yellow light, leaving the motorists behind them trapped with steam coming out of their ears. Here’s another driving- related aggravation.

If you are tooling down the highway in the left lane and people are passing you on the right, you should be summarily executed. Well, that’s a little harsh. Forty lashes in the town square would probably do.

Also, did y’all know that the purpose of an on-ramp is to give motorists enough concrete to accelerate to the same speed as the ongoing traffic so as to facilitate merging? Some people don’t.

Again, a trip to the town square could prove instructive. Of course I don’t really advocate torturing stupid or rude drivers, although it is sometimes fun to fantasize about it. Unless you’re a shut-in, you will run into discourteous people fairly routinely. The highways are the big equalizer, though. Whether you drive a little Honda coupe like me or an 18-wheeler, we all share the same roads.

Consequently the chances of encountering a horse’s ass on the asphalt are greater than most other places. A woman being interviewed on the radio once said something that stuck with me. This was in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina when trying to get anywhere was a traffic nightmare.

“Just get in your car,” she said, “close your eyes and say the Serenity Prayer.”

We didn’t learn the Serenity Prayer at St. Theresa of Avila School, but I got her point: just relax and try not to become a road rage moron.

Yes, just chill out and try to be a decent human being while careening down a roadway full of strangers in large metal boxes. It’s easy. I’ll be nice and so will you, right? I hope so.

I’d hate to have to go all cruise control on you.

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