Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, I got a new car in early May. I named her Heather, and she's a 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. With COVID-19 running rampant through our country and everyone stuck in quarantine, I knew that I needed to get out of the house. My favorite thing to do, regardless of if I feel the need to get out or not, is to drive. As long as I have time on my hands and gas in my tank, the world is my oyster. When I got my car, it had 88,500 miles on the odometer. Since then, I have reached 101,772 miles. I got the car on May 7th, and 148 days have passed. This means I have driven an average of almost 90 miles a day for the past 5 months. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average driver travels 29 miles a day. So, considering I drive more than twice that, I self-proclaim the title of resident expert driver in my immediate circles.
Since I see a lot of the road, I have to be hypervigilant of my surroundings. Through this, I notice a lot that other drivers might miss or brush aside. Here are a few of those things.
1. Bumper stickers
A few things that I have noticed about bumper stickers really get me thinking. I feel like I am an expert in these too- I had 150 (yes, 150) on my last car. People who have bumper stickers either only have one or two or try to completely cover the back ends of their cars. There isn't usually an in-between. And most of the time, yes, it is true that the more bumper stickers someone has the worse their driving gets.
2. Difference in pickup trucks
There are usually two kinds of pickup trucks on the road. The first kind is pristine. They look brand new, shiny, clean, and expensive. Sometimes they have a lift kit and new tires and rims that make the truck look off-road ready, but they rarely have a speck of mud on them. The second kind of truck is the opposite. Older, dirty, rusted, weathered- these trucks have seen many miles and done a lot of hard work in their time. And I am by no means bashing these trucks, I think that these attributes give the vehicles a lot of character. The definition of rugged.
3. The prevalence of road signs
On city streets, you expect there to be road signs. Speed limits, lane signs, and stop signs are all examples of these; but when you really look, there are a lot more than you would expect. Road work signs, signs informing of parking mandates, signs informing of fire hydrant testing, even signs to let you know that there is another sign ahead, and that's just scratching the surface.
4. Car colors are basic AF
What I have learned through the colors that I've seen on the road is that Americans are very conformist. There are mainly neutral colors on the road- a lot of whites, grays, and blacks. I occasionally see a blue or red, and a lot less often there are greens, yellows, and oranges. Not much of a rainbow on the road, it's more like a 1950s television program.
5. A Lot of People REALLY Suck at DrivingGiphy
When driving down the interstate, I see that there are many safe drivers. Following speed limits, using turn signals for lane changes, etc. These people are saints on the road. I love them. The people on the other hand? Not so much. Hogging the left lane while going five miles an hour under the speed limit, passing on the right, not signaling when changing lanes or making a turn, texting while driving, the list goes on. The amount of accidents that I've narrowly avoided when dealing with these kinds of drivers blows my mind.
6. Jeeps are stock or modified
Jeeps are either completely stock, or they are decked out with lift kits, huge mud tires with small rims, roof racks, brush guards and aftermarket bumpers, winches in front, and the like. Despite whether they are stock or modified, they are always clean. These cars are meant for off-roading- shouldn't they get a little dirty every once in a while?
7. Honda Civic drivers are certain demographics
Ninety-five percent of the time, these are owned by either a middle-aged woman or a teenager and are completely stock. The other 5% of the time, they are modified to the point where you can barely even recognize that it was once a normal compact sedan. Lowered suspensions, spoilers, race tires, and flashy rims, blacked-out badging, aftermarket exhaust that makes a normally quiet car sound like a lawn mower, tinted windows, and the list goes on. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
These are just a few things I have noticed while on my adventures. I implore you to pay attention to the road while driving; but if you feel so inclined, take a look around. You may be surprised by what you see.