3hree Things: On A Few Of OC's Worst Motorists

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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I'd consider myself a decent-to-somewhat good driver. I'm not a speed junkie (the measurement of rate of motion, not methamphetamines), nor am I overly defensive on the road. And I'm not prone to road rage, but I've had a few unfortunate experiences with vehicular buttholery on Orange County freeways and residential streets as of late that have pushed my patience to the limit. Rather than beating the shit out of my steering wheel or punching a hole in my sunroof, I figured I'd use this week's column to vent a little bit about some truly horrible and/or idiotic drivers I've encountered in Orange County over the past week or so.

Buckle up... 

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​1) This Minivan Waits For No One
I was about to make an unprotected left turn onto a residential street, when I noticed a large (in number, not size) family crossing it. But because The Only Person On Earth had pulled his minivan so far past the stop sign that he'd blocked the entire crosswalk, the family (two adults pushing strollers, one elderly lady, and two or three toddlers) were forced to cross the street behind his minivan like ducks walking in a row.

Blinded by a serious case of tunnel vision and self-entitlement, The Only Person on earth starts screaming at me from behind the wheel, and flailing his arms about, and pounding on his steering wheel. Since I am in no rush to add vehicular manslaughter to my record, I wasn't about to mow down half a family so Mister Minivan could get to Home Depot twenty seconds sooner than he probably did.

As I waited patiently for the entire family to cross, I continued to get bombarded with honks, middle fingers and "What the fucks" from Soccer Dad. I can handle a bit of undue chiding, but this was getting ridiculous, so I resisted the urge to revert to my 20something mentality and actually get out of my car, and instead I calmly rolled down my window so we could make the "conversation" a two-way exchange.

"Look behind you.", I said. (He didn't.)

"What the fuck is wrong with you?", he replied.

"Uh...there's a family crossing the street. Do you want me to run them over?"

"Yeah. Why not?"

(Sigh.)

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2) Contrary To Popular Practice, The 405 Is Not The Autobahn

I was driving home from San Clemente on Friday, northbound on the 405, and the flow of traffic was moving along at about 70 mph. I checked my rearview and driver-side mirrors, noticed that the lane to my left was clear, save an Audi that was a little over a hundred feet behind me.

I threw on my left blinker and quickly changed lanes, only to notice the Audi get a lot bigger in my rearview and its pencil-thin-bearded, bug-eyed glasses-wearing goon of a driver throw his arms up in disgust.

Apparently, I'd interrupted his attempt at a new land speed record. He rode my bumper, seething, and cursing me for about a quarter-mile until he decided to almost clip the left side of my rear bumper, pull up alongside of me, shoot me with a finger pistol, and spit an F-bomb at me. Then he sped off at 100 mph.

When you drive that fast, the entire world is cutting you off.

Sorry I made you late for your cougar tail-chasing at Javier's happy hour, goon. Take a knee before you kill someone.

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3) Throw A Tent Over This Motorcycle Circus

I had the opportunity to witness sheer idiocy in motion on the 55 a few days ago. A motorcycle gang, not of the Hell's Angels, Mongols, or "weekend warrior Harley-Davidson crew" variety, but of the Kawasaki Ninja ilk, decided to use the freeway as a playground, much to the dismay of me and a few hundred other commuters that were just trying to get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time.

They were rolling about four or five bikes deep and decided to camp out in each southbound lane, slowing to about 30 mph so that they could each take turns speeding ahead to do wheelies and handstands and whatever other deathwishes-disguised-as-bike-tricks that stunt bikers do. To add insult to injury, they weren't doing it in full leathers, but instead had decided to do perform their two-wheeled public masturbation in cargo shorts and muscle tees. It must have been casual Friday for the So Cal chapter of Motobros.

It takes an unfathomable level of testicular fortitude slathered in stupidity to think that doing bike tricks on a busy freeway is doing anything other than building a traffic jam of a couple hundred thousand tons of road rage behind you that would gladly watch you eat it and have the warm asphalt shred you into human hamburger, but these guys pulled it off for a good five mile stretch before they pulled off at the Del Mar exit in Costa Mesa.

As always, whether you're from OC or not, you're encouraged to share your stories in the comments. Who are your least favorite motorists, or biggest driving pet peeves?

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11 comments
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Teodorico Jim Relato III
Teodorico Jim Relato III

biggest peeve is people who are either on the far right or far left lane, then choose the absolute last second to merge to the other side because they didn't have the foresight to prepare beforehand

Guest
Guest

In my experience, shitty drivers really like it when you smile and wave while they're screaming at you.

Matt
Matt

Little Saigon in Westminster and Garden Grove....Nuff Said. Ohhh and people who go 55 on the  freeway and go in the far left lane....at least go the speed limit!!

Caseyselanders
Caseyselanders

Good post as usual, Riley, i drive for UPS and regularly see awful awful attempts at driving, having me wonder how some of these people have a license.  I recently saw a 40 something mid-life crisis having dude in a sports car hit a young man on a pedel bike, and after the young male gets up angerly the 40 somthing starts fist fighting with the 19 year old. crazy world we live in....

Ashley Victoria Vinck
Ashley Victoria Vinck

My biggest driving pet peeve is when people forget to use the turn signal.

Drugfree_xx
Drugfree_xx

I totally agree! It's completely asinine. Why both having them if people aren't going to use them? I think my second biggest is when people ride my bumper when I'm doing the speed limit (while there is an open lane to pass me to their immediate left or right).   

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udflyer86
udflyer86

Very pertinent column today.  While on my way home from work I was passed by a lady doing 75-80, talking on her cell phone, eating a cheeseburger.  All with a flat tire.  I was too amazed to be upset however.

guest
guest

Wonderfully done, as always, Riley.

NK
NK

OC driving sounds downright tolerable next to LA traffic.  Give me a motorcycle circus once a week, the occasional belligerent soccer dad and the possibility of having someone speed off angrily at 100 mph any day over the constant 20mph/0mph that is driving anywhere in LA, the 15 car unprotected left turns that allow two cars to pass at a time, the potholes, etc.

Guest
Guest

I love this article. Riley, you had me stifling my laughter at work. Born in LA, I moved to San Jose years ago, then resided down south again in Hollywood, OC and (ashamedly) Compton before moving back up north. Of all the things I miss in SoCal, the traffic and motorists are NOT one of them.

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