Flamin’ Raven | Special to EDGEYK.com
Driving can be difficult. Especially in Yellowknife where everyone but you sucks at vehicular operation. Let’s face facts: YOU are the only competent driver on the road. George Carlin once joked that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac. That paradox rings no truer than on the streets of Yellowknife. It is YOU that sets the standard; everyone else is no more than lobotomized monkeys who unwittingly managed to engage the gears on a dangerous machine, hellbent on making your life a living nightmare.
Let’s look at some of the treacherous situations that prove everyone is out to ruin your driving experience at every turn.
FOUR-WAY STOPS SUCK
Yellowknife has a lot of these instances of incertitude. Generally (in larger urban areas, at least) it takes complex traffic configurations, such as cloverleaf interchanges and diamond intersections to befuddle drivers. Here in Yellowknife, the general population reverts to toddler-level intellect when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. The most basic shapes, such as squares and bright-red octagons confuse local drivers.
Though the laws of the road state you must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching the intersection before you, folks here are so conditioned to the chaos that even a driver waiting at the four-way stop as you approach will continue waiting until you to come to a complete stop, lest you ignore all rules and barrel through the intersection anyway.
Heaven forbid two vehicles approach the intersection simultaneously. I once witnessed a driver so confused by a synchronous approach that they quickly exited their vehicle, placed a ‘For Sale’ sign on the windshield and walked away.
Don’t misinterpret the apparent politeness of the other driver waving you through the intersection (even though they clearly arrived before you); this is a sign they are vaguely aware they are in a vehicle and certainly less aware they are in control of it.
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
I have a proposal that will not only regulate traffic at all four-way stops, but also create employment, as well as improve the health of a dozen or so lucky individuals. During peak traffic hours (8 a.m. – 9 a.m., Noon hour, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.) all four-way intersections will be patrolled by an overweight child in a bright orange vest. His or her constant clockwise march around the square will regulate traffic, as well as heighten driver’s awareness of potential pedestrian dangers.
Taxi cabs are the werewolves of the motorized world. A taxi cab driver who has his fare sitting in the back seat is usually a model driver. The hint of an amber light will immediately cease the forward progression of any cab with a passenger on board. They will almost always give the right of way to another driver, as if the digital metre is actually keeping a tally of karma points.
But the moment the metre is off, that empty back seat becomes a full moon, and the lycanthropic lunacy begins. Rules of the road become mere suggestions, and unannounced u-turns, cut-offs, and a general ignorance of all others on the road ensues. I am making generalized statements, of course, and if you, dear reader, are actually employed as a taxi driver, then I’m 100-per-cent certain you are the exception to the rule.
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Our only hope is to highlight the bi-polar nature of cabs with as many visible cues as possible. The moment a passenger exits a taxi and the hunt for a new fare begins, I propose the entire vehicle automatically begin a fierce pyrotechnic display, blasting high-decibel death metal like a gothic ice-cream truck as a means of warning you that it’s no more Mr. Nice Cab. Bright colours are often used in nature as a means of warning animals to stay away. Passenger-less cabs should be no less illuminated than the average rave, and twice as loud.
EVERYONE ELSE SUCKS
It has been said that of all the mechanical parts of a motor vehicle, the most likely to fail is the nut behind the wheel. All humans, with the likely exception of you, are tragically flawed with a terrible lack of attention. Everyone else but you probably stopped reading this article five paragraphs ago to watch a GIF of a cat playing the piano. The advent of personal technology devices, such as smart phones, music players and GPS devices only make this weakness more apparent. Throw a few screaming kids in the backseat and add a healthy dose of alcohol-infused pedestrians into the equation and it’s a wonder anyone makes it back from the co-op alive.
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Other than the impossible and unrealistic idea of cloning yourself and killing all other humans, the most logical solution is to fight fire with fire; fix the problem with technology. All vehicles should be equipped with a neural interface that senses when your attention wanes from the road. Once thoughts of your ex-girlfriend, your mounting debt, or your impending trial creep into your head, your car will automatically come to a full stop and implode. Inevitably you will be the only driver left on the road. And if car commercials tell us anything, that’s obviously the ideal driving experience.