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DRIVING WITH DIPSTICKS, A COLUMN BY BEN BRICKMAN

Driving with Dipsticks: What? Fort Wayne people can't drive?

Monday, December 16, 2013 - 10:03 am

Snow has fallen on us, and it has been cold. Way cold. It always seems when the temperatures drop, peoples' brains freeze. It makes care behind the wheel essential.

Stephanie wrote in this week and exclaimed, “Brilliant idea for a column - except I'm concerned about your being inundated with email from all the folks who have lived, and driven, in places other than Fort Wayne. Those of us who, upon driving down the road, encounter the various inexplicable driving habits on display, and can't help but exclaim, 'People in Fort Wayne just do NOT know how to drive!' "

Steph, frankly, I am counting on them inundating me. That truly is what this is all about. I enjoy salting up readers' opinions and try to tell it like it is. That is what I do.

However, to your point. It is also true that some people are inflicted with the often debilitating condition, Vehicular Deficit Disorder. This is the complete inability to drive as a normal person. It is often evidenced by overactive vehicular velocity. It may include a general lack of lane coordination and inability to pay attention to traffic or regulatory indicators. Treatment for this disorder is often unsuccessful due to narcissistic personality complex and general egocentricity. Oh, that just sounds like someday there may be a pill for it!

Steph also mentioned that she had witnessed, “People passing on the right hand shoulder when others are stopped to make a left hand turn? Other places I've lived, that behavior would get you a ticket for illegal passing on the shoulder of the road. But here, they actually build the roads to accommodate that passing in some areas. Weird. If you don't pass on the shoulder, you run the risk of being sideswiped by cars behind you who assume if you're stopped, you are turning, not continuing straight in the travel lanes."

This is true Steph, and creates a blind situation if traffic is being allowed to join the lane from a side street. But don't worry too much. It could be worse. You could be in Illinois! By far the worst drivers are there.

Jim wrote in this week. He explained “I drive a van transporting wheelchair passengers to and from the hospitals.

"This day I was driving one of the high top vans which allows me to see into vehicles as I pass or as they pass me.

"Driving south on I-69 with my cruise on for the comfort of my passengers, I noticed an SUV getting ready to pass me and it was weaving from side to side. I kept an eye on her. As she sped past me I noticed she was talking on her cell phone with her left hand while leaning over to the back right seat feeding a bottle to her baby in the car seat. Needless to say, I took my vehicle off cruise and slowed down. To that I say, 'LOOK, MOM! NO HANDS.' With one (hand) on the phone and one on the bottle, what's on the steering wheel, a knee? I feel sorry for the baby. Mommy is a moron. Jim, this gets a DWI-Driving While Idiotic."

By the way, I would like to open up the phone line and email to YOUR input. I will use a number of terms to vent my frustration about how dumb some drivers are.

Last week I called someone a picklehead, a nut job, and the like. It gets monotonous to always describe stupidity by calling them stupid or idiotic. Although true, it's boring. So let's launch our first Dipsticks contest. Send in your best euphemism for the term “stupid.” Obviously, that is why this column is called Dipsticks. Please be careful out there. No one else is!

Ben Brickman is production manager for Fort Wayne Newspapers. Want to vent? Send it to dipsticks@news-sentinel.com. Include all the details you can think of. If your dipstick gets in the paper he'll give you the credit, or not. It's your call. You can phone in your Dipstick sightings at 260-461-8285. Ben's also on Facebook, Driving With Dipsticks!