I drove home tonight and had the worst commute I have had in a long, long time. The irony was that the traffic itself wasn't any worse, volume-wise, than any normal day. I left work at around 6:00pm and things were pretty good for a while.
I tend to get into the lane I need to be in and stay there unless there is some huge problem. Tonight there was an accident near a merge. I waited pretty patiently in my lane, but as I got closer to the accident, there were police, tow trucks, an ODOT truck, the car involved, people milling. It was raining and I couldn't tell from where I was if the cars were in the lane. I decided to move to the left lane and take my chances, knowing that there is an alternative route if I can't get back over to the right in time for my exit. I prefer to give the police as much room to work as possible.
After I moved over and traffic eased up, I waited until there was a big, open space (several car lengths between cars) and signaled right and moved over. The driver in the car behind me was OUTRAGED and immediately started trying to get around me - not to pass me, apparently, but to be sure they got back into the lane directly in front of me. I'm fine with that - if you are a freaky, control-freak driver, I would rather you get in front of me. I won't go into the whole detailed story of this car, but let's just say that it took them awhile to forget how I had wronged them so that they could proceed to cross 4 lanes of freeway traffic to get off at their exit because they had been so busy lane hopping and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The even scarier driving trend I have seen manifested itself for the third time this week during my nightmare commute. It is my interpretation that folks do not actually know what the turn signal knob does or is for. I think they get bored in the car and they think that the turn signal stick on the wheel is some built-in kinesthetic toy for them to entertain themselves with until traffic starts moving again. For the third time this week, a car in front of me turned on their turn signal to go right. Then they changed it to move to the left. Then the right. Then the left. Then nothing before finally turning the turn signal on one way and moving the opposite way. Do people really not know that turn signals are not for communicating with the mother ship - they are supposed to share your plans of movement with other drivers.
Honestly, I could have kissed the ground when I got home. I just started to feel really vulnerable and nervous. I'm guessing I'm just tired from the week and that it will be fine again next week. Mass transit is starting to look more attractive...