Newly discovered Species of American Drivers Observed on Freeways and Local Streets. Or, What ever happened to the lost art of turn-signalling?

By James Kedzie Sayre

1 November 1998


While driving on America's vast freeway system, you will observe and have to interact with many new species and subspecies of drivers, many of which heretofore have remained unnamed by Science. Note: Latin or scientific names have been used in describing these drivers, because there are too many common or vulgar names for them to be properly identified.

Tailus gatus, whose evolution is in dispute, is probably descended from an insecure proto-ape, who was shy and wanted to be safe close behind the lead proto-ape. Tailus gatus goes from car to car, always maintaining the minimum distance between its car and its temporary lead car. No cure has yet been found for the rude behavior of Tailus gatus.

The Slidus officus is a classically rude driver. He starts his antics in the far left fast lane and blithely whizzes to the right through several lanes of traffic until he zips off the freeway at his desired exit. He never signals his intentions and he rarely bothers even a cursory glance at the intervening traffic.

Beautiuous parlorius, usually a female, but recently increasingly male. can be observed grooming and applying makeup at 65 miles per hour, using the rear view mirror to admire their latest facial configuration. Little heed is granted to other vehicles' presence, unless their drivers glance over in appreciation.

Boomis boxis, whose stereo system is so loud that a nearby low-level atomic blast would hardly be noticed, can be observed on many freeways. This self-centered adolescent twit is "Cruising down the road, diggin' the tunes" with not a care in the world, especially in terms of watching other drivers. It is even more unfortunate to be stuck next to Boomis boxis at a traffic light, where he is more than willing to "share his tunes" with hapless nearby drivers. Fortunately, Boomis boxis is usually not a speeder, since he is so focused on his music that he forgets that the central purpose of American freeways is to allow drivers to practice their racing skills for to qualify for the annual Indianpolis 500 mile Memorial Day race.

Slidus onus is closely related to the previously described Slidus officus. Slidus onus enters freeways without even acknowledging drivers who are already there.

Slidus onus aroundis is a subspecies of Slidus onus. He can be observed entering the freeway directly behind you. His rude trick is to try to cut around you as you enter a freeway. Somehow, he feels that he has the right to get up to dangerously fast speeds to cut around you.

Twinus lanus, the speeding subspecies who travel in pairs, both trying to merge without signaling or even glancing into the same unoccupied center lane from opposite edge lanes, can be comical in their behavior, if it wasn't so dangerous and stupid. Sort of the modern version of the 1950's teenage driving game of "chicken." Twinus lanus subspecies members compete to see who can be the most oblivious driver.

Cellus phonus is a new, highly obnoxious species of freeway driver. He make cellular telephone calls when he should be watching the road. The results of this behavior are all too predictable: statistics show that their accident rate is about six times that of the general driver population. Cellus phonus can be observed chatting away while crusing down the freeway. They are rarely concerned about anything except their conversational chat-mate.

Drivus drinkus seemed to be slowing dying out (no pun intended) from the current roster of species of American drivers. Their traditional mode was to have several drinks at a local bar and then have the "one for the road." And then they would hit the road - sometimes literally.

Speedis speedis is the quintessential fast driver. Nobody will get from point A to point B faster than Speedis speedis, dead or alive.

Slowus pokus is an increasingly rare species of driver in America. It is usually older and is often seen driving a large late model American sedan. They usually confine their slow and very cautious driving techniques to the far right lane of a freeway, but sometimes venture into the middle or fast lanes, causing allergic reactions from some of the other drivers, especially Tailus gatus and Speedis speedis.

Neckus rubberus is another traditional species of slow driver. It can usually be observed in very scenic tourist areas, but sometimes seems to crop up in large numbers at accident sites along the freeway.

Weavis weavis is a driver who is not happy unless he is changing lanes on an almost constant basis. He suffers from severe anxiety and from delusions that he will get there sooner by creating a complicated weave pattern with his constant lane changing.

Glaris lightus is usually observed driving or aiming a two-wheel vehicle, that is, a motorcycle. These drivers have adopted the unpleasant habit of driving in broad daylight with their high-beam headlights on. Ostensibly, this is for safety, but actually is just another macho maneouver as they race down the freeway, weaving from lane to lane. When the traffic slows down, they create their own lane by straddling between existing lanes. This habit of daytime driving is spreading to the drivers of new cars. Formerly, only Canadians were observed driving in broad daylight with their headlights on. This habit led to a doubling of the charges imposed by the Canadian Automobile Association and their tow truck drivers for jump-starts after their batteries had died from the lights accidently being left on all day. American automobile manufacturers seem to be adding to this lunacy by building new cars that automatically have their headlights on every time the car is started.

Signalis latus is the species of driver who cares enough to use his turn signal after he has completed his turn or lane change. He is motivated by a slight twinge of conscience, but obviously not enough to bother to inform other drivers before he starts his maneuver.

Signalis neverus is genetically closely related to Signalis latus. As his Latin name indicates, he never signals under any circumstances. Genetic scientists are busy researching the origins of this species of driver, but have yet to come up with any reasonable theory of its evolution.

Passus closus is usually first spotted as a mere speck or dot in ones rear view mirror. This vehicle rapidly approaches yours, and just before impact, suddenly veers to one side or the other in passing you. His stupid game is get as close as possible to your vehicle's rear bumper without actually hitting it. He is usually observed driving an old pickup truck or a beatup sedan.

On urban and suburban streets and highways in modern America, there are several other species of drivers whose unpleasant and rude habits can be observed and experienced first-hand on a daily basis:

Lightus runnerus can often be found in crowded cities, although it is increasingly being reported in suburb habitats in recent years. It races through red-light traffic signals with careless abandon. This is a very dangerous species of driver. Great care should be exercised when starting across any intersection with a "green light" because one of the Lightus runnerus may be coming the other way.

Intersectionus blockus is a species of driver who feigns obliviousness as they insist on entering a crowded intersection without any assurance of not being blocked by traffic ahead from clearing the intersection when the light changes. They end up blocking cross traffic and when they are confronted by righteous angry drivers, they shrug as if to say, "Moi?"

The search for the origin of the species of these rude drivers goes on. Is there a proto-man-driver, who is the father of all these recently evolved species encountered on American roads today? Did horse-and-buggy drivers cut each other off on muddy roads? Were there unpleasant encounters between covered wagons on the Oregon Trail over one hundred and thirty years ago? Did Greek and Roman ships' captains engage in nautical games of "chicken" some two thousand years ago? Who knows? Our researchers are investigating these and other matters.

There are probably several new unreported species of freeway and highway drivers that have not come to our attention. If you observe some heretofore unreported rude behavior on our roads, please send your observations to Unendangered Freeway and Highway Federal Species Listings, Box F, Chevy Chase, Maryland 07891. Thank you for your cooperation in this ongoing effort.



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