You’re driving me crazy.
Actually, your driving is making me crazy, Colorado.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to hundreds of you about how every trip in the car, no matter how close or how far, is at best unpleasant and most likely a horror you will share with your friends and family when you arrive.
This week, Sentinel staffers have compiled a list of some of the worst offenses you inflict on your fellow commuters or suffer from them.
Complaints about bad drivers are as old as cars. Tail-gaters, Sunday drivers, wanderers and people who leave their turn signals on to become “that guy” on the highway? That’s been around forever.
This is different.
I remember being shocked a few years back the first time I saw someone on I-225 play Death Race 2000 in their Honda Civic, weaving through heavy traffic at 60 mph like a stunt out of a white-knuckle movie.
It was years before I saw something like that again. Then it was months. Then days.
Now, I watch wretched road racers every time I get on metro highways. And the crazy-ass demon-drives have spread to places like Havana Street, Parker Road, Wadsworth and just about every main road near you.
Every day, I watch drivers pull stunts that make me gasp and curse in ways even a cynical, mouthy news guy rarely does. I’m no roadway puritan. I love to go fast. I bought a car with a high-compression engine just so I can fly up I-70 pushing a little past 70 mph as I roar past Georgetown on ski hooky days. If there’s a fast lane, I’m in it, and I’m leading the pack.
But I would sooner stick my hand under a running lawnmower than attempt to pull the stupid stunts I see on highways and roads every damned day I’m coming to work.
Many of you, like me, immediately ask, “Where the hell are you jerks from?”
Everywhere, it would appear. In talking with cops near and far, they see the same thing across the state and across the country.
I now watch these dolts closely as they blow through stop signs and red lights, swerve around gasoline tankers and tailgate motorcycles.
They appear to be in their 20s or early 30s. They almost always wear dark glasses. They text, sip and talk, and they all seem to have a look on their face as if I were their fifth-grade teacher telling them they lost their recess privileges because they wouldn’t stop talking in class.
A lot of the traffic cops I’ve talked to say much of the aggressive driving they see is people already wound pretty tight getting really frustrated with so much traffic. What was once a 15-minute errand run now takes twice that or more as drivers watch stop lights cycle through while nobody seems to move.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher says he wonders if kids growing up on super-realistic video games and endless car-chase movies somehow just can’t draw the line between entertainment and reality.
There’s no shortage of studies of those damned millennials and why they are they way they are in and out of a car.
Entitled, spoiled, undisciplined, narcissistic and enabled are just a few of the conclusions sociologists and psychologists have reached after asking, “why do you do that?”
The studies go beyond annoying things people do at work or in school.
The AAA released a study last year making clear that millennials, ages 19 to 39 are the country’s most dangerous drivers, and those who are now 19 to 24 are the worst of the worst.
“88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days,” according to the AAA report.
Walcher may be right about millennials living in fantasy land.
AAA’s David Yang said their research made clear that these young millennial drivers “believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable.”
They say it’s OK to blow through red lights, text and drive on the highway and weave through traffic at 100 mph, as long as they don’t get caught or killed.
It means that there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to make them stop.
I can. I say we get Colorado lawmakers to require dash cams and rear cams on every car in the state. A hard drive will keep about a week’s worth of driving. When you see that ass hat in an Audi or that bitch in a Beemer riding your rear on I-270 or running through the red on freaking Parker Road, send the clip to the new Colorado Department of Transgression. The video and your testimony would be acceptable evidence in a convenient Skype Court. Change the Colorado driver license point system so that you get just 6 points and then you’re out for a year.
Take their licenses. Put their mug-shots in newspaper advertisement halls of shame. Make them spend weekends in stocks in front of the overpriced bars all their friends hang out at. Make them drive Oldsmobiles and use flip phones that can’t text. Just make it stop.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]