I’ve been trying to do more walking than driving since I moved to Midtown. Maybe that’s why every time I get behind the wheel these days, I’m hyperaware of just how awful Atlanta drivers are. Seriously, y’all are terrible.

The city is notorious for its interstate traffic, street racing, potholes, and metal plates instead of pavement, but I’m very worried about the lack of skills in my fellow drivers. Maybe being trapped indoors for all those months during the pandemic short-circuited the driving database, because the apparent lack of road knowledge, spatial awareness, and general courtesy is appalling.

On a recent Tuesday night, it was raining so I decided to drive rather than walk to the market. In less than a mile, I was nearly involved in two accidents: one by a driver with no comprehension of the four-way stop concept and the other who decided it was okay to drive down the middle of Cypress Street. Morons!

I gave up several years ago on Atlanta drivers using their turn signals – you know that lever on the left of your steering wheel. Remember that? Huh?

And is it my imagination or have folks forgotten it’s legal to make a right-on-red when the intersection is clear?

Don’t even get me started on the drivers who don’t know how to parallel park. If it takes you more than two attempts to back into the space, then you need to find a deck or lot. Look, I’m a mediocre parallel parker myself, but I can also judge whether the space I’m trying to maneuver into is big enough. Because you know some yahoo has taken up two parking spots with their oversized SUV or is trying to avoid a scratch on their expensive baby.

Oh, and did you know that traffic lights are not merely suggestions? You are supposed to stop at them. And when the light turns green, put down the damn phone you’re not supposed to be holding anyway and MOVE!

If I were governor or mayor or president, my first piece of legislation would be requiring a road test before you can get your driver’s license renewed. I’m serious. And it wouldn’t be some parking lot test either. You’d have to drive into Midtown or Buckhead or Decatur during rush-hour and prove your worthiness to hold a license.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a perfect driver. The other day I accidentally turned onto a one-way street, but luckily no other cars were coming. It’s easy to get distracted on Atlanta’s constantly under construction roadways, similar-named streets, and filming traffic accidents and car fires on the cell phone you’re not supposed to be holding for clout on social media. I said what I said.

Look, I don’t want to be a scold, or a nag, or that old man shaking his fist, but good-googly-moogly, folks, pay attention and remember the streets of Atlanta aren’t your own private driveway.

Thank you for attending my TED Rant. Happy Fall!

 

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.