Monday, October 12, 2009

UCSS

We've talked lately about pet peeves....those things that other people do that drives us crazy. One of the top contenders involved other people in vehicles doing randomly stupid things, such as cutting us off, or driving erratically.

Okay, they're idiots. We're all in agreement there.

But. What about that rare, once-in-a-blue-moon time when we're the ones at fault?

(Oh, c'mon...you know what I'm talking about....it has to have happened to you once!) Every once in a while, we're the ones who use poor judgement on the road...and instantly regret it.

I feel it's time we address this atypical occurrence and the first step is admitting that yes, it does sometimes happen.

Say it with me now: "Hi. I rarely, if ever, use bad judgement when I'm driving. It's almost always the other guy."

(Huh. That was not very heartfelt....but I guess it'll do. For now.)

"Hi, liar."

I would like someone to invent a Universal Car Signal (UCSS, for short) for “Sorry”. This can be for “Sorry I inadvertently cut you off; I was busy tweeting about the excellent burrito I just had for lunch” to “Sorry I beeped at you whilst inadvertently leaning on the horn as I penned a post-it to myself to remember that I need to blog about creating a UCSS"….to “Sorry I veered into oncoming traffic, causing your life to pass before your eyes but I was trying to pop a Sudafed pill out of those little blister packs and it fell on my lap and I couldn't find it for a second there.”

You get the idea. The person needing to convey the UCSS can’t very well wave, or it’ll look like they’re saying “Hi! Is that you, Stephenie? How are ya?? How’s the cream working out for that little problem you were having?” So, we know that won’t work. (We also know on good authority that the cream is not working...)

You can’t do this:



…because no-one could see this gesture from inside your vehicle and even if they could, they’d think you’d be saying, “WHAT? What’s your freakin’ problem?” Which will probably get you rear-ended just out of spite.

You could try this:

….but again, it’s open to interpretation. Someone could think you’re saying, “What are you gonna do? What’s the big deal?” Which will probably get you rear-ended just out of spite.

Either one of these:
…could also get you into serious trouble. The schmuck you’ve annoyed could interpret the thumbs up as, “YEAH! I cut you off, SUCKA!” The thumbs-down could be read as, “You’re a terrible driver and I had no choice but to cut in front of you.” Either of these could result in your being rear-ended just out of spite.

This look would probably be effective:

…only no-one behind you would see your ever-so –dramatic expression…so it’s pretty pointless. They may assume you’re eating a burrito whilst driving and take it as an opportunity to rear-end you, just out of spite.

That leaves my #1 favorite UCSS symbol. This one should be PERFECT:

Of course, it’ll work best of one has an open sunroof…and you will have to take both hands off the wheel to perform this maneuver, so it may result in you veering off the road…possibly bringing about the very accident you were trying so desperately to apologize for almost instigating in the first place…

….but…..what are ya gonna do??





JP said...

Usually I give the cringe like "I can't believe I did that" with the "I'm Sorry!!!" wave...

then I drive on as if nothing happened... I mean if they want to continue to harrass me then I get pissed off. I know I screwed up, stop acting like you've never done it before... idiots.

One of my driving pet peeves is when people who have the right-of-way try to wave you through an intersection. Seriously dude, by the time it took you to wave me through the intersection you could have gone already. How about we just follow the rules? All your "generosity" is doing is delaying both of us.

The other peeve is the same as the one in Seinfeld... when people don't give the "thank you wave". Two lanes merging... idiot decides he's going to wait until the last secord to merge... I be nice and actually let him in... WTF? Where's my thank you wave??? jerk.

Mike Steelman said...

We could always lobby the car companies to include programable led signs that we can flick a switch and express our regret ****Sorry I had a brain fart****

Insanity said...

Psh...I never do anything wrong when I'm driving. (; I think I would die laughing if I saw someone do the heart one. XD Not that's possible in a moving vehicle but yeah awesome stuff. Lovely blog as always. (:

Tinkerschnitzel said...

I've done some stupid things, I will admit. Usually, I just mouth "I'm sorry". If they still insist on getting PO'd, then I'm ready to take them on. Mike, I like your idea. I also had the idea of handing out those little guns with the suction cup things on them that people can shoot at bad drivers. Once you get 3 in a row, you get a ticket. Get 3 tickets, and your license is suspended. I'm not sure it's a perfect system, but it would certainly help take some frustration out going down the road!

Spot said...

I'm laughing my ass off right now. I just cringe. And if possible mouth I'm sorry. And then feel embarassed for roughly 30 minutes. I want a car with a sorry signal. Then I could let go of the guilt...

♥Spot

Mark Price said...

Sorry signals would be so cool. In fact I may have one of those light up signs installed in my back window so I could send other sentiments as well. oh, only friendly ones. Probably. Super funny post...as usual.

Mark Price said...

Have I told you I appreciate the fact that I don't have to type a nonsensical word to post my comments on here? Thanks!

Fumbling confidence said...

Yes! Let's make not only signs for when we jack up, but also when they do. Car makers could make signs you could trigger from the dashboard that would display the appropriate sign. I'd probably trigger the flip off instead of the I'm sorry one. Probably a bad idea, for me anyway.

BlackLOG said...

I am embarrassed to say that early one morning I gave a driver a mouthful for cutting me up, flashed my lights, beeped my horn, the full works. A few miles down the road I came to my senses and realised it was his right of way…hmmm. I would of course have chased them down to apologies but figured it would probably only have made things worse. Still he is bound to have done/or do something bad at some point in his driving career so it counts as payback/pay forward….

BlackLOG said...

Oh, I almost forgot you wanted that blood sample. Bad news I'm afraid, still sober...

Janelle said...

hilarious, I'm gonna try the heart out the sunroof next time and see if that works! I usually try to avoid all eye contact and drive off like I had no idea I just did something incredibly stupid!

Angelina said...

My brother bought me a gadget that adhered to my dash - push button 1, gun, button 2, machine gun and button 3, missile. It was not loud enough for others to hear but it worked wonders on my stress, not to mention it was fun.

Occasionally, When I've been in the wrong, I pressed 1,2,and 3!

book*addict said...

I usually just try to play it off like i didn't do anything wrong. you know, fake confidence. But I always feel awful afterwards because i;m a big one on road courtesy and bug me when i don't follow it.
A light up sign would be super cool!

Melissa said...

The worst part is when someone pulls out in front of you and just keeps going. If they keep going and don't look back, then they can pretend nothing happen!

J9 said...

Some suggestions here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080108192817AA0DqFe

Isabella said...

OMG...this is perfect. Really funny. I like the thumbs up/down comment the best "sucka". That word reminds me of my grandmother for some reason..ok, well - that story is for another time.

Great read -
Thanks,
Isabella

starfish264 said...

I'm usually so busy trying to breathe after the near fatal accident I just inadvertantly caused, that my expression is more both hands in a death grip on the steering wheel, and eyes so wide that I look like some random anime character! By the time I've had enough sense to try and apologise to the other driver, I've flown past, so I'm just resigned to the fact that there are a lot of other road users that are convinced I'm the world's biggest bitch on the road!

talk before sleep said...

I am still laughing at tweeting about the burrito!! I've often thought a sign of some sort would be great but I agree with some of the others that I wasn't neccesarily thinking about and I'm sorry one. :O But the world and our roads would be a little kinder and safer if we were all a little more courteous to each other. Mistakes are going to happen so a sorry is just a little kindness to let them know that you know your an idiot. My expression usually ends up with my covering my mouth with both hands like your picture. Not the brightest idea but its instinct.

Susan said...

I've always wished that I had a sign in the back window to convey stuff. "Sorry, my bad! :(" if I had a momentary brain vacation and nearly caused an accident.

Or more likely in response to one of my biggest driving pet peeves:
"Please don't follow so closely."
Or more likely:
"BACK OFF!!!"

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

Hi! I'm Erin and it really bothers me when people don't use their turn signals. Yes, that's me patiently waiting to pull out into traffic and your dumb ass just wasted my one opportunity. Thanks a lot.

(makes heart with hand)

Wendy Blum said...

My pet peeve is people who refuse to turn off their bright lights when driving on your bumper so closely they're nearly in your trunk. If I felt the need to have the interior of my car lit up while driving late/very early I'd just turn my interior lights on while driving. And I can't for the life of me figure out why they'd be mad at me for returning the favor when/if they pass me,lol. I drive at 5am to get to work and there's at least one if not two drivers most mornings who do the bright light thing. Annoys the hell out of me!

Heather said...

I always wanted a sign, that would say a veriety of things like: Hey, I'm doing the speed limit! or to gently remind them of what the speed limit is.
I'm thinking a "I'm sorry" could be good and bad. Good to be curtious to other drivers, Bad that the insurance companies might decide to use the # of sorries you have used against you.

Allegria said...

The LED sign--I've seen them advertised in a catalog somewhere. Funny story--friend of mine was driving behind an erratic driver in a construction zone. Getting more and more frustrated, but because she doesn't swear, she didn't know what to do--no bird allowed. So she did the only thing she could think of when she could finally pass. Put her arm out the window and gave the woman a VERY emphatic thumbs up. Her 20-something year old daughter in the car was howling.

Great post, as usual. :o)

Kathryn said...

JP: I hear that. Those times when you don't get the "thanks" wave are the only times I've truly wanted to travel back in time. That's actually probably pretty sad, right??

Mike Steelman: HA! I LIKE that idea. Can we also include a light that says "Turn off your freakin' signal, moron...it's been on for the last 10 miles"???

Insanity! Thanks, sweetie. Even tho you're a perfect driver, I'd figure out a way to send you the "heart symbol" out my sunroof....just to say "Hi!"

Tinkerschnitzel: I've never heard of those 3-times-you're-ticketed guns. I'd be worried you'd get ppl shooting others all day long for no reason other than someone broke the coffeemaker that morning. Ya know?

Spot! That's just how I feel. (The incredibly RARE times it happens to us, that is!)

Mark Price: Thank you! Don't they make those scrolling LED signs now? I wonder if those run on car power plugs.....we may be onto something. The possibilities are ENDLESS!
PS: The "word verification" is the bane of my existence. I am determined to take up a 1-woman crusade to have it abolished. I'm just waiting for the right moment.

Fumbling confidence: Yeah, you do not sound like a good candidate for the first trial round. You'll have to settle for the G-rated version!

BlackLOG: Um...interesting philosophy you've got there. So, THAT WAS YOU???
PS: I can't even remember why I required that blood sample, but now you owe me that, plus the $250 therapy session where I cried for an hour, wailing, "WHY DOESN'T HE LIKE ME??? I HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY!!" (I don't know how you sleep at night;)

Kathryn said...

Janelle: Hey, it's worth a shot! Let's just hope they feel the looove.
Love your photo, btw...you are bee-utiful!

Angelina: Sounds like fun! Your brother sounds like he's got some empathy for your car ride...unusual for a GUY...

book*addict: It's a sucky feeling when it's our fault. BUT. Since most of the time it isn't, I figure we're golden...

Melissa: I hear that. I know that if I pull out in front of someone, I'll deliberately speed up so as not to slow 'em down...but sometimes, they'll speed up and get right on my tail. I HATE that...then, there's no winning.

Ron said...

Hello Dear Kathryn!

This is PRICELESS!

And YES...I have done stupid things myself while driving. Mainly, not looking in the review mirror before changing lanes. And what I usually do is MOUTH through the mirror "I'm SOOOO sorry" and then clutch my hands together, like I'm saying a prayer.

Which is usually about the time I see them through the mirror SHOOT ME A BIRD!

HAHHAHHAAHHA!

One of the things I love about having moved to a city, is not having a car anymore. I'm so not a car person. God, I can barely remember to change the oil and put gas in it!?!

Hope you a great day, my friend!

X

It's getting so cold here and I LOVE it!

Kathryn said...

J9: Some great ideas there! My favorite is the guy who suggested the slap of the forehead (epiphany) followed by the peace sign. Thanks!

Isabella: I'm so glad you liked it! (I liked that line too...."SUCKA!")
Thanks for the lovely comment!

starfish264: Aw! I'm sure they don't think that! (Rolls eyes) The key is the word "near" fatal...no-one died, now did they?
You're golden.

talk before sleep: I know what you're saying. At least WE'RE all good, kind, patient, do-good drivers...right? At least we've talked about it!

Susan: I hear you! I've actually pulled over to let ppl pass when they're following close on a side road. They still beep and look all pissed that I've slowed down. W/some ppl, you just can't win.

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt: LOL! Good one! So, we need a signal for "dumb ass" that can fit in before the hand-heart, I'm thinkin'....

Wendy Blum: Wow....that happens to ME a lot, but I think it's 'cause I have a sedan and they're all SUV's. I'm always trying to figure out if there's a way I can tilt my rearview mirror to shine the light back in their eyes! (**BTW: Your site doesn't have posting available...so ppl can't leave a comment! Thought you shud know. I tried...

Heather: OMG! You are SO RIGHT! I hadn't even thought of that. Are you from New York, missy???

Allegria: Oh, that's hilarious! In her mind, she was saying "Great driving, you IDIOT." But, she did it in such a NICE way! Lovely!

Kathryn said...

RON! Ya just HAD to throw in that "cold" comment...didn't you? I'm on my way over to your place (VENT, people...check sidebar!)
How could ANYONE flip my Ronnie da bird? Give me names/plates. I'm ordering an Italian/Cuban hit.

I know what you mean re: the car. I just needed new tires, an oil change, an inspection, new registration and new rear brakes. Have you any idea how much Cloudy I could have purchased for that amount of green? A crime, I tell ya!

snoble24 said...

my dad gets so mad at people when they do that but then he turns around and does it to other people. the hole cut in front the hole stop to fast the hole speeding and almost hitting you in the rear end the hole no turn light on when turning.he constintly is doing it. it seems like just after someone has done something to him when hes driveing he goes and does it to another person. it makes me just shake my head and laugh at him getting pissed off for doing what he does all the time. i can say iv never done it honestly beacuse i dont drive. but i know alot of people do that. i hate the people who talk on there cell phones when driving cuse they do such shit. and my sister toni hates it to but what does she do... she talks on the damned cell phone when driving and almost causes wrecks on a weekly bases.we all do things and we hate to admit when we are at fault i guess that human nature

Lauren said...

I do like Dori on Finding Nemo... "Just keep driving (instead of swimming)". If they start coming at you "Just keep driving but faster." I'm too uncoordinated to display a sign.

Lou said...

Sorry am under time pressure so haven't read previous comments and may well parrot what's already been said. Love this post Kathryn, you are sooo right. I occasionally (very very occasionally) make a mistake on the road and a universal signal of "my bad" would be most useful. We do flash our hazards once or twice as a sort of sorry or thanks here in NZ but it works better for thanks than it does for sorry in my opinion.

Public Service opportunity here Kathryn? How about collating all suggestions offered here and post the results for the edification of us all. Thanks in anticipation :-)

The Confessionist said...

I hate people who cut you off like that! But most of the time, the person just holds their hand up when they know that you are greasing them off... I take that as an apology, we all do stupid things sometimes.

Mandarin Kitten said...

I'm thinking your hand immitating a gun and pointing it to your head, then again, they might think it was them but I like it :)

Kathryn said...

Snoble: I think that's called "road rage"...ppl who just get very agressive when they drive. Don't be like that! And stay off the phone...more accidents are caused that way!

Lauren: I do love Dori...she may be onto something...in her own sweet, simplistic way!

Lou! I'd be happy to! We've had some great ideas so far. I'll see what I can do! thanks for making time to visit!

The Confessionist: It's so hard to interpret body language! What one person will take as an apology, another will take as a flip-off! Ya just never know!

mandarin kitten: See? that's just what I mean....you simply never know how people will react.

lifelove'n'wine said...

I hate it when I'm the jerk. I'm always all embarrassed and usually mouth "Sorry!" and my face is all red and it's very sad. Of course the person in the other car probably can't tell that my face is red and maybe can't read lips so who knows what they think of me. Actually, I have a pretty good idea...

Kathryn said...

lifelove'n'wine: Welcome home, sweetie! Yeah...who knows what others are thinking as we attempt to apologize...I've a feeling they're too angry to read our somewhat subtle signs. We may need something a bit more...dramatic.

carissajaded said...

I've often thought about this. I usually just attempted to wave and hope the can see the apology written all over my face, but they are usually too busy honking to notice!

Kathryn said...

carissajaded: Yeah, it's a tough call. I'll post the best possible answers I've heard so far...there have been some that were certainly better than my suggestions! Thanks for commenting!

Picture Imperfect said...

I go for the palm to forehead move... the one that says "Doh!!!" without having to say it.

Not that I do boneheaded stuff in traffic mind you... this is all hypothetical isn't it?

Kathryn said...

Smoog! Yep....hypothetical...yeah, we'll go with that. The biggest issue seems to be what the person behind you can see versus what's totally gonna be lost to them...hard to know w/o some serious testing....

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