Those Crazy Memphis Drivers!!!!

Does Memphis top the list of Worst Drivers in the U.S.?   I tend to think so, and after encountering a few of the below described “characters”, you might just agree.  Trust me, they are out there!
Turn signal use (lack thereof)
First of all, you will quickly note that a whole host of Memphis drivers (and that word is used loosely here) do not care to use the turn signal.  You will be sitting at an intersection waiting on an approaching car that has the right-of-way.  You notice the vehicle is slowing down, but why?  The turn is made, with no indication, and now you must wait on the other oncoming traffic before pulling out.  You, unfortunately, will observe this many times during your stay in the Bluff City.  There are a few lame explanations which will be put forward here for better understanding.  1. Memphians care to conserve their turn signal life by seldom if never using it.  2. The drivers have a cigarette in their left hand which is stuck up to a cracked window; hence, the difficulty with operating the signal indicator.  3. The fear that if they give a turn signal, you will attempt to pull out prior to them making the turn….wouldn’t want that to happen, remember, control!  4. We have scads of disabled drivers (broken/missing left arm) who find it down right difficult to obey state laws.  5. They really don’t care if you are inconvenienced by their driving methods…the old “ME” syndrome.
Speeding on I-240
You are calmly tooling along on I-240 when suddenly you look in the rearview mirror and swear the fast-approaching car is going to run you over!  Welcome to the Indy I-240!  You see NASCAR is really popular here in Memphis and some drivers like to think they are right there on the oval track making a move for the lead….in a blur they zoom by just missing your rear fender!  You want to think this is a fireman heading to the fire station to save the day, or a physician on an emergency run to save a life, but the person behind the wheel just doesn’t fit the profile.  More likely than not it is just a hot-rodder out to see how fast they can go on Indy I-240.  Also, this is not limited to only cars.  It truly is a scary sight to see an eighteen wheeler barreling down at you going all of 80 or 85 in a 55 MPH zone!  O.K., so we like to move freight really, really fast in Memphis!
No Driver In Sight!
In Memphis, we have the phenomena of a car going down the street with no visible driver behind the wheel!  It is a common sight!!  Right when you think you have witnessed the first remote operated vehicle, there it is… a head barely visible, thankfully, on the driver’s side!  My first inclination is to flag them down and ask, “How can you see to drive like that?”  But now I know, this is a “Really Cool” way to motor about the city.  The seat is pushed as far to the rear as it will go, the seat back is reclined out of sight, and the driver sits as low as he possibly can.  Not sure how safe of driver they are in this position, so giving them plenty of space is a safe bet!  You, of course, do not want to stare, but as you continue on your journey with this seemingly driverless car in sight, you can be assured it is near by.  How, you ask?  Well, at a red light, your car will suddenly begin to vibrate as the music from this headless car penetrates your total being.  Now, I have been told that this is “Really, Really Cool”!
Charter AARP Members
Thankfully, these old geezers only appear on Memphis streets around 10:00 A.M. or so and disappear around 2:00 P.M. (nap time).  You will know you have encountered one when they are driving at a blistering speed of 20 MPH in a 45 zone!  Also, they are famous for sudden lane changes or turn-offs with absolutely no notice.  Remember, they taught the “No Turn Signal” crowd, identified above, how to drive for goodness sakes!  Once you get close enough to observe the facial expressions, you find that strong determined look as they continue on completely unaware of anyone or any other vehicle around.  Please do not exercise your horn to express disdain for their driving abilities……this just makes them totally confused and prone to come to a complete stop or make a really unorthodox move.   Experience has shown the best solution is to just steer clear of old Gramps as he is probably only a few hundred yards from his home of 80 years and will soon be back there, hopefully, without causing too many accidents!

There have been many debates and discussions over the years as to the cause of our Crazy Drivers.  One of my very favorites goes like this.  You see, Memphis sits right on the intersection of three separate states.  You know this by driving around and observing the large percentage of cars with not only Tennessee plates, but Arkansas and Mississippi ones as well.  The theory goes that folks from these different states learn to drive from different rule books so they naturally have quirks in their driving habits as a result of being from the Magnolia State or the Natural State or the Volunteer State.  If you will buy this line of reasoning……I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you!  Enjoy your stay in Memphis and …..drive safely!

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15 Feb 2014


By TRAVELHOST Contributing Writer