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Editor’s notes: Nut drivers
editor's notes

Traffic whining, part 607. 

After more than three decades of driving around this place, I’ve discovered you can psychoanalyze someone by the way they drive while you’re driving.

All you have to do if you make it home from your latest trip through the ninth circle of traffic hades is go to Wikipedia and find a page which lists the 14 types of personality disorders with Milton’s brief description of each.

Naturally I don’t know who Milton is and I’m not going to bother to find out. But thanks to Wikipedia, I’m an expert on everything just like everybody else with a keyboard.

Anyway. Here’s a short look at some of the most common traffic lunatics and what’s gone wrong with their personalities.

Up first, you’ve got the crazy lane-switching maniacs who run 90-100-200 mph on I-95 scaring everybody else and occasionally causing flaming horrible pileups that kill people they don’t even know.

These motorists are clearly antisocial. That’s described on Wikipedia as folks who are “impulsive, irresponsible, deviant, unruly. Act without due consideration. Meet social obligations only when self-serving. Disrespect societal customs, rules, and standards. See themselves as free and independent. People with antisocial personality disorder depict a long pattern of disregard for other people’s rights. They often cross the line and violate these rights.”

Then you’ve got the self-centered me-firsters who sit at 60 mph in the passing lane on a four-lane highway (i.e., two lanes in each direction, like Highway 17) and won’t get over for folks behind them, which just jacks up traffic for miles and makes everybody in two counties want to start playing bumper cars.

I’ve long thought these drivers are the same sort of people who speed through subdivisions, tailgate, cheat on their taxes and think their candidate really won because, well, there’s no way someone they voted for could lose because they wouldn’t vote for a loser.

This category of motorist includes those who get in the middle lane on I-95 and stay, poking along backing up semi trucks for 20 miles, and those pompous louts who speed around you on Ford’s avenue only to cut in front of you so they can get to Kroger or the I-95 on-ramp at Highway 144 a few seconds faster.

They’re narcissistic, i.e., “egotistical, arrogant, grandiose, insouciant. Preoccupied with fantasies of success, beauty, or achievement. See themselves as admirable and superior, and therefore entitled to special treatment. Is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings.”

You’ve probably also noticed your garden variety weirdo drivers who wander around at 40-50 mph on two-lane roads like Highway 204 and back traffic up a couple miles until they get to the passing lane. Then, instead of getting out of the way, they floor it so that nobody can get around them unless that somebody goes 80 mph. In short, nobody’s getting anywhere until they do, and they’re in no hurry until they are. As best I can tell those motorists have a borderline personality type, which is described as: “Unpredictable, egocentric, emotionally unstable. Frantically fears abandonment and isolation. Experience rapidly fluctuating moods. Shift rapidly between loving and hating. See themselves and others alternatively as all-good and all-bad. Unstable and frequently changing moods. People with borderline personality disorder have a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships.”

And they can’t drive, either.

Drivers who don’t use blinkers are often passive-aggressive, which Milton says means they’re “apathetic, indifferent, remote, solitary, distant, humorless, contempt, odd fantasies. Neither desire nor need human attachments. Withdrawn from relationships and prefer to be alone. Little interest in others, often seen as a loner. Minimal awareness of the feelings of themselves or others. Few drives or ambitions, if any. Is an uncommon condition in which people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others. To others, they may appear somewhat dull or humorless. Because they don’t tend to show emotion, or use blinkers, they may appear as though they don’t care about what’s going on around them.”

Whilst I think my driving can best be described as “usually in someone’s way,” I tend to think I’m schizotypal, which is described on Wikipedia in part as “eccentric, self-estranged, bizarre, absent. Exhibit peculiar mannerisms and behaviors. Think they can read thoughts of others. Preoccupied with odd daydreams and beliefs. Blur line between reality and fantasy. Magical thinking and strange beliefs.”

I know what you’re thinking.

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