20 Things to Avoid to be a Conscientious Driver Part 5 & 6

Fair warning, the language gets a bit colorful here.  I am dropping two points this week, because they are relatively short, and to make up a small bit for having missed Thursday's article.  Here are number 5 and 6 of this continuing series.

5. Refusal to show courtesy to other drivers

Unfortunately, like most of this list, this happens much more often than it ever should. There are many situations not governed by law where one would need to make a judgement call on how to proceed, and more often than not, the call is more self serving than kind to others. Additionally, this particular point has a place in near every other point on the list, and going into detail here would just reiterate a lot of the same information. So with that, I will state it as such:

Your life, your plans, and your time are not one single fucking iota more important than any other driver on the road.  Yes, I dropped the “F bomb” here.  I feel very strongly about this particular issue, and do for a lot of this list.  It is the reason this whole series was guest written under the WARNING: INCOMING RANT series, from creator Merlot Williams.

Courtesy is something we should all be giving to others. It is what we should be teaching our kids, and helping proliferate as a society.  Anger and strife are things that poison our civilization, and something needs to be done about it.  Someone stuck in a parking lot by an intersection? Let them out. They very well could have been locked in there for a long time.  Don’t assume that every person out there is just as cynical as you are, because they’re not.

6. Driving as if the road belonged to you and only you

I'm sorry to break this to you, but driving is a privilege. Oh, wait, I already told you that. Whether or not the testing is as difficult as it should be, which it is not, does not mean you have any more rights on the road than anyone else. Are you sensing a theme here?

Yes, I will be on your side to the extent of, if a person falls into one or more of the categories on this list, it is wildly frustrating to drive around them. However, bad driving to combat bad driving is a bit like trying to put out a fire by throwing more fire on it. "Fight fire with fire" is one of the most idiotic idioms I have ever heard. You are only a small part of the population who utilizes the public roads to travel. They have been a part of this country for longer than your grandparents have been around. You do not dictate who does what on them, or where. You will not make a single bit of difference by being an asshole on the road, other than birthing more assholes on the road. Share the roads, learn and follow the actual law, and be happy you angry mother fucker.

20 Things to Avoid to be a Conscientious Driver Part 4

We return once more to part four of 20 Things to Avoid to be a Conscientious Driver, a WARNING: INCOMING RANT series, guest written by Andrew Risenhoover.  We spotlight another key flub made on the road consistently.  Despite how simple of a task it is, it is one of the biggest contributors to traffic accidents today.

4. Failing to reach the freeway speed limit before merging onto the freeway.

You may not know this, but the “on ramp” to the freeway has a different and more accurate name; it’s called the “Acceleration” lane.  The point of the on ramp, and it’s length, is to give you the time to quickly accelerate to freeway speeds before entering freeway traffic.  Failing to do so quickly makes you a hazard on the road.  A hazard to the drivers already on the freeway, and also to those who may be stuck behind you on the on ramp.  It is bad enough being the only person not going the speed you should be, but slowing down more than yourself increases said risk exponentially.  You create a bottleneck on the freeway, and cause a slowdown point on the freeway.  Did you know that slowdowns like that can be felt for hours afterwards?  So, your slowdown not only inconveniences and threatens the safety of those there at the time, but you are potentially risking hundreds of drivers' lives by doing so.

I sense that there may be an argument stating, “My car is so crappy, old, slow, etc, that it can’t get going that fast.”  Bullshit.  I drove a 1986 Toyota Corolla, with more engine efficiency issues than you could count.  Air intake system was choked and dirty, exhaust was old and clogged, carburetor in dire need of replacement, solid steel construction.  It was slow.  It was slower than anything I have ever driven.  However, on any freeway on ramp, I was able to reach freeway speeds before entering the freeway.  If your car is worse, do not use the freeway, your car was not made for it, and doesn’t belong there.  Freeways and Highways may be the fastest routes in most cases, but if you are driving a car that can’t keep up with modern vehicles, then it doesn’t belong on the road.

This particular issue is especially dangerous for truckers.  Their almost exclusive use of the right hand lanes means they tend to be the types of vehicles you are merging into.  I don’t know how well people understand Newtonian Law, and how physics work, but stopping a hunk of metal that weighs an average of 80,000lbs (an average SUV is 6,000lbs) suddenly is very difficult.  Don’t mess with the truckers.  They are the reason our grocery stores have food, our electronic stores have toys, our gas stations have gas.  You have a lot to thank for those brave and patient men and women.  It’s time they get a bit more respect and courtesy on the road.

<-Part Three

WARNING: INCOMING RANT's Week In; Microsoft Edition

There was a lot of good and bad in the world of tech and gaming this week. Sony execs admit that something needs to be done differently for it's struggling handheld, Gamespy's closure has led to EA closing online services for 50 games, Nintendo still stands steadfast by the WiiU and won't release another console until people love the WiiU despite having a rough idea of what they want to do with the next console, survey says that 74% of us aren't quite on board with digital distribution yet, Bioware outlined a ridiculous near $200 Dragon Age: Inquisition collectors edition, Flappy Bird will be rising from it's grave with multiplayer added this August, Philips has thrown a wrench in Nintendo's engine filing suit that claims patent infringement with the WiiU and it's peripherals, the FCC is continuing to fuck with Net Neutrality, and Halo 5 will drop in Fall of next year.All of this (save for the Net Neutrality thing) pales in comparison to the bombshells dropped by Microsoft this week regarding the PlayStation 4, I mean, Xbox One.

They've finally pulled their heads out of their asses and removed the paywall for Netflix and other assorted services. They've announced that as of June 9th, you can get a Kinect-less Xbox One. They are even offering refunds due to the changes they are going to be implementing starting in June. They've got GameStop on board with them offering pretty decent trade-in value on PS3s and Xbox 360s if you trade in towards an Xbox One.

That isn't to say that this comes without a cost. The Games with Gold service will now be just like PlayStation Plus. You'll still need Gold to play online but it's always been like that.

All this got me thinking though. All that bullshit that they talked at last year's E3 is all gone now. DRM, gone. Kinect requirement and now the Kinect itself, gone. They've changed the entire infrastructure of what the Xbox One was to keep up with their competitor who is, as of right now, the former and now current king of the console arena.

With all these changes it now comes down to brand loyalty. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are now more or less the same system aside from a slight power and graphical boost for the PlayStation 4. Microsoft knew that they had to do something in order to catch up to Sony and did just that. By Bill Belichick-ing Sony's playbook.

Now you see why I made the PS4 dig earlier. It's funny and sad at the same time. What Microsoft was doing was wrong from the get-go but after destroying their credibility in the early going with the Xbox One they are now simply a carbon copy of their competitor. They botched the start and despite the console performing admirably, I don't feel that they can fully recover from the PR nightmare they made for themselves.

I hope that they have something big up their sleeve software wise come E3 because good platform exclusives are all they have left. Titanfall might still be the best-selling game right now but it isn't exclusive to the Xbox One. If they don't do something in the next little while, Sony's lead is going to continue to grow and Microsoft will be nipping at the heels of the industry leader until the next generation.

If there even is a next generation...