The Worst Drivers in America. A Dissertation.

Even though Rick Santorum and 98% of Texans claims that it’s un-American to do so, in my opinion, when a man is wrong, he should apologize.

With that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to formally and publicly apologize to the people of Las Vegas.

You see, once upon a time, I bestowed the title of “Worst Drivers in America” upon the people of that city, and I’m here to tell you that I was wrrrrrrrrrr. I was wrrrrrrrrrr. I … express regret that my words may have been less than accurate.

Over the past few months, I’ve been involved in an intensive, immersive, up-close relationship with Seattle traffic, and I have come to the conclusion that Seattle drivers are the most confused, most unskilled, most inattentive drivers in the United States of America. In my mind, it’s no longer even debatable. At this point in time, calling Seattle drivers the worst drivers in the country is as controversial as stating that three is the square root of nine.

Typical Driver in Downtown Seattle

“Oh sure Rex, you think the drivers in your city are worse than everywhere else, but who doesn’t? Everyone says that!”

Fair enough, and there is no doubt that there is some truth to that statement. However, I’ve lived in a few places over the course of my lifetime, and I never leveled this charge against the drivers of NYC, DC, or Los Angeles. To the contrary, while traffic in those towns was bad, most of the drivers possessed a basal level of urban driving skill that no Seattle driver can claim.

If you think about it, this actually makes some sense.

On the East Coast, people know how to drive in the city. Even the suburbanites and ruralites. They have to. You can’t spit on the east coast without hitting a city. Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, New York, Hartford, Boston … city driving is part of life over there. The same is true of California to a large extent. Los Angeles County is one huge grid of city. In fact, the LA Metro area is actually more densely populated than is the NYC Metro area.

The Seattle area, with a density of only 500 people-per-square-mile, however, is quite rural. Outside of the 2 square miles that make up Seattle’s urban core, there are no areas in the Pacific Northwest where a driver would encounter inner-city, quasi-Manhattan-esqe driving conditions. As such, our suburban neighbors are simply unfamiliar with the urban driving paradigm.

Also, since inner-Seattle is so geographically small, and residents of the core walk and bike everywhere, close to 100% of inner-Seattle traffic is comprised of tourists; people who do not live here.

It shows.

Seattle rush hours are comprised of 300,000 suburban drivers attempting to make their way into and out of a maze of one-way streets, traffic lights, and parallel parking spaces … and most of them have no idea what they are supposed to do. As far as they are concerned, driving in Kirkland and driving in Downtown Seattle is the exact same thing. They are, to put it nicely, rubes.

This, combined with a pathological self-centricity born of generally pampered lives, is why drivers in Seattle, and especially Downtown Seattle, are so comically awful.

When I say “awful”, though, what do I mean?  After all, isn’t such a word subjective? In order for one group of drivers to be worse than another, wouldn’t their behavior need to be, in some manner, different?

The answer is that Seattle drivers do, indeed, have peculiarities that I have never experienced in any other city, state, or nation, at least not to the same extent … and these peculiarities are the overwhelming cause of Seattle’s traffic problems.

So, what are they? What are these terrible driving habits of which I speak?

Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you …

The first is what I have come to call the “Seattle Surrender”, and it’s by far the most prevalent driving trait you will encounter in Seattle’s urban core.

“What is the Seattle Surrender?”, you ask.

The Seattle Surrender is when, for no apparent reason, the driver in front of you simply abandons the task of driving. He or she literally gives up, both physically and mentally. They surrender. It is arguably the most bizarre driving habit I’ve seen anywhere.

Picture this: You are driving down 1st Avenue at 25Mph with a line of cars behind you, when all of a sudden the driver in front of you hits her brakes, and simply stops in your lane of travel. She doesn’t pull over, she simply stops for no apparent reason at all. She stays there indefinitely, refusing to move even when you lay on your horn.

On Downtown Seattle streets, the Seattle Surrender is ubiquitous. In the course of an average day, I encounter the Surrender no fewer than 20 times. I’ll be driving along when the person in front of me either slows to a crawl or just stops, without notice, or any visible reason.  They simply lose interest in the task of driving, and give up doing so.

Sometimes, they come to a stop at a green light.  Sometimes, they come to a stop mid-block.  In all cases, they completely and utterly surrender, and cease driving altogether.

And do you know what?  They think nothing of it.  Absolutely nothing.  They do this as if it’s the most normal thing in the world, all day, every day.  It is nothing short of incredible.

There is often a twist on the Seattle Surrender.  One in which the driver surrenders just long enough to screw you, before continuing on their way.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re  driving down 4th Avenue, and as you’re coming up to Pike Street, you notice that the traffic light is green.

“Sweet”, you think to yourself, “I’m going to make better time than I thought.”

Suddenly, as if on cue, the driver in front of you hits her brakes and slows down, before coming to a rest in the middle of the crosswalk.

Remember, the light is still green.

As you sit there, wondering what is going on, you watch as the stoplight turns yellow.

“I should have known”, you think to yourself, “driving in Seattle is never that easy.”

As the light turns from yellow to red, the woman in the car in front of you punches the accelerator, shooting through the red light, nearly running over three pedestrians in the process.

As you sit there, watching the next 3 minutes of your life tick away, you wonder what the whole point was.  Why did the driver ahead of you stop?  Why did she run a red light afterward?  None of it made any sense.

But it does.  It does make sense.

See, the Seattle Surrender is a move born of complete and utter self-centricity.  It might help you understand if you picture the driver ahead of you thinking “meeeeeeeeeeee!” the entire time they’re driving. Because that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Remember, friends, when you’re driving in Seattle, you are surrounded by people who have never once considered the notion that other people have needs.  It simply never occurs to them.  Heck, they don’t even know that you exist.

When you’re born into a relatively affluent suburban household, with over-attentive parents and an inflated sense of self-esteem, empathy is not a trait that you will naturally develop.  Instead, you learn that you’re special.  You’re unique.  You, you, you.

And if at any point, you don’t feel like driving anymore?

Then you don’t.  You simply … stop.

And when you’re ready to resume?

Well, Patrick Swayze said it best:

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”

And so, you do your thing, knowing that everyone is watching and accommodating your every move.  After all, you’re you.  You wouldn’t have gotten all of those trophies for participation if you weren’t special, so there’s really no need to think about how your actions effect others.

I digress …

The next most common traffic-stopper in Downtown Seattle is the reverse roadblock.

Picture this: You are driving down First Avenue when all of a sudden traffic stops. Just completely grinds to a halt. You look at the clock, and it’s 11:15am.

“Gee”, you say, “it’s awfully early for rush hour, why has traffic stopped?”

Confused, you sit there. And you sit there. Finally, you roll down your window, stick your head out, and you see the problem.

Up ahead, a driver has her reverse lights on. You see, she spotted an empty parking space, and just like her Driver’s Ed teacher at Bumbletwat High School taught her, she is trying to back into it.

The problem is, there is only one lane of travel, there are 7 cars behind her, and the only way she can possibly get into the space is if all 7 of us also throw our cars into reverse.

So, why is she still sitting there?

Because, believe it or not, this is exactly what she expects us to do. Instead of going around the block, or nosing into the space, she expects us all to back up and make room for her parallel parking attempt. A Mexican standoff ensues until one driver after another gets frustrated and crosses the yellow line, risking a head-on collision, to go around her.

This happens somewhere between 10-15 times per day, and no, I am not exaggerating.

While drivers in other major cities know to nose-in, wait for a clearing, and then straighten up … such behavior is unheard of in Seattle. Everyone parks suburban-style, and if that means causing multi-block backups or accidents, so be it.

Then, there is the Stoplight Spaceout.

Picture this: You’v got ten minutes to get from Pioneer Square to LQA, so you point your car north on 1st Avenue and hit the gas. When you get to Spring Street, the light is red, so you queue up behind the five other cars in front of you.

Finally, the light turns green, at which point … nothing happens. The five cars in front of you just sit there, immobile. The seconds tick by, six, seven, eight, and finally you tap the horn.

Still nothing … twelve, thirteen, fourteen.

Finally, you lay on the horn, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep and FINALLY the first car begins inching forward. Then, the second car begins moving, then the third. Oh thank god, it’s finally your turn to go, and you begin to move forward just as the light is turning yellow.

You won’t make it without risking a ticket. Another three minutes of your life down the drain.


I don’t know. Nobody knows. You’d better get used to it, though.

Much like the Seattle Surrender, this is another case where Seattle drivers simply cease driving at random times. They may be texting, they may be reading, they may be … who knows what they’re doing … all I know is that the task of driving no longer interests them, so they simply stop doing it.

Next, there is the Box Block.

Picture this: You are driving north on 6th Avenue, approaching Pike Street, when you notice that traffic on the other side of the intersection is stopped. Knowing that you will not make it all the way through the intersection, you stop at the green light.

A woman in the BMW to your immediate left is confused by your behavior. She doesn’t understand why you have not pulled behind the car in front of you. “Are you Seattle Surrendering?”, she wonders.

Annoyed by your obvious stupidity, she drives past you, illegally changes lanes in the intersection, and pulls up to the rear bumper of the car in front of you. Not content to sit behind a non-driving jackass like you, the Escalade behind you angrily pulls around, and stops behind Princess in the BMW just as the light is turning red.

For the next 4 minutes, nobody moves. Traffic in all directions, for 5 blocks at least, is completely immobile.


Because the intersection is blocked, of course. You tried to do the right thing, but you just couldn’t save the other Seattle drivers from themselves. You never can.

Now look, I know that the last one happens everywhere. It’s the very definition of “gridlock”. What is astounding, however, is the complete ubiquity of this behavior in Downtown Seattle day after day after day after day.

Seattle is the only city on the planet that can have a traffic jam with only 10 cars in the same zip code. Just like life in Jurassic Park, abhorrent driving finds a way.

Last, but certainly not least, is Wrong Way Peachfuzz.

Five to ten times per day, I encounter drivers who are driving the wrong way on a one-way street. It happens so often that, from a safety perspective, I treat all streets as two-way, regardless of what the signs say. I always look both ways when crossing, and I try to always drive in the right lane of a one-way street.

Once upon a time, when I encountered a wrong-way driver, I would honk, flash my lights, and point in the correct direction of travel, but now … I just pull to the right and let them pass. Nothing can be done. Expecting a Seattle driver to read a traffic sign is like expecting your dog to master Calculus. It’s not going to happen, and any efforts to alter that reality are futile.

These five points, while most common, are really only the tip of the iceberg. I could go on. I swear. For instance, ‘rubbernecking’ in Seattle is like nothing, NOTHING you’ve ever seen anywhere else. If someone dares change a tire on the side of the road here, traffic will stack up for 10 miles in all directions as every passing commuter slows down to bask in the disabled motorist’s misfortune. Talk about an easily amused populace.

And who can forget the absolutely ubiquitous left turn from the right lane, and right turn from the left lane?

Folks, when coming to an intersection, heed my advice … look both ways and do it often because the car in the lane to your left is just as likely to swerve in front of you to make a right turn as they are to make a left turn or continue going straight.  In Downtown Seattle, lane placement means NOTHING with regard to a driver’s intent, and turn signals? Well, on the rare occasion that you see one, you’re better off ignoring it altogether.  Trust me on this one.

This, my fellow Seattleites, is why the town is doomed to gridlock. Forever.  It’s the main reason that I stopped driving myself.  No longer do I own a car, and I doubt I ever will again. While it used to be entirely possible to drive in Seattle, and even downright pleasant at times, driving here is futile now, and the problem is out of our hands. It’s patently unfixable.

Now look, I’m not saying that Seattle drivers are stupid.  No, stupid would be one hell of a welcome improvement.  With the exception of their own immediate wants, they lack thought altogether.  They’re 200lb infants with driver’s licenses, for all intents and purposes, and they steadfastly refuse to even entertain the notion that they are the problem … that they are the cause of every traffic issue that we have. But, of course, they are.  Drivers ARE the traffic.

You see, we don’t have a shortage of roads, and a deep-bore tunnel under Downtown is not going to solve our transit problems. A new 520 bridge isn’t going to decrease commute times either, hell, 20 bridges across Lake Washington wouldn’t solve our issues.

99% of Seattle’s traffic woes are caused by poorly-skilled, self-centered, immature, special snowflake, inattentive drivers from outside of Seattle. People with little to no city driving experience, and people whom, when faced with yet another traffic jam … will routinely blame someone else (such as bicyclists or Mike McGinn). There is no amount of money we can throw at this problem to fix it, because you simply can’t fix stupid.

In order for regional transportation to work, a certain amount of cooperation, consideration, reason, and common-sense on the part of drivers is necessary.  They must be able to, at times, subvert their immediate wants to the needs of the greater good.  Seattle drivers are unable to do this.  Completely unable to do this.

And so, much like governments, people get the traffic that they deserve.  No matter what you do for them, they always, ALWAYS will.

Not long ago, I was driving home from the Eastside when I encountered the following sign on Bellevue Way:

No Train Sign in Bellevue

An hour later, I found myself sitting here:

Gridlock on Bridge

These two pictures really say it all.

I hang my keyboard.

232 comments to The Worst Drivers in America. A Dissertation.

  • Bob

    I wholeheartedly agree with most if not all your observations and have a few thoughts to add. I lived in Seattle from 1985 until 2010 and in Los Angeles since then. LA drivers are MUCH better drivers than Seattle because, as you say, they *have* to be… There is no discernible speed limit on the freeways in the LA region. Seriously, I have never seen the highway patrol enforcing anything other than carpool lane restrictions. It makes sense, really, since if you forced everyone to drive at 60, you’d drop the capacity of the freeways by 15 to 20% (average speeds on non-congested roadways are at least 70, usually faster). The traffic is bad enough without that hit, so you basically get to do what you want. That said, if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t pay attention, you are seriously a danger to yourself and others. You have to be a proactive driver here… Not aggressive per se, but you have to just take your space. If you put on a blinker and expect someone to slow down to let you in, you’ll be waiting a long time. Is there space? Take it. Turn signal as you do so… It sounds aggressive and it is to some degree, but nobody blinks an eye here if you drive down the exit lane and merge into the flow at the last moment. It’s expected… If there is space, take it… Now, that sort of thing will seriously piss of a Seattle driver because they are so “polite”… LOL, no, they aren’t, they are self absorbed and passive aggressive and would prefer to come to a stop and try to merge while blocking the exit lane just so nobody gets hurt feelings or something. All that said, there are genuinely crazy things that happen here once in a while. I’ve seen folks basically stop on the freeway, put in reverse to get back to an exit… stuff like that. And I’ve never seen a car on its roof until I moved here…. Have now seen several. So, there are bad/idiot drivers here, but the average driver in Seattle doesn’t come close to being as safe and efficient as drivers in the LA area.

    • Bob

      I will add… the line about drivers just thinking “Meeeeeeee…” is perfectly on the money. It strongly reminds me of shopping at Whole Foods (any time) or Costco (on the weekends especially when the place is clogged with free samples)…. Both feature tons of completely self absorbed people walking around in a near coma, completely oblivious to the fact that others might actually be there for a specific purpose.

  • Joe S

    Reason you’re getting the “Surrender”

    Your probably tailgating them.. so they stop and let you pass because they don’t like you sticking to their behinds.

    • ROFLMAO! Yes, yes, “tailgating”, that’s the major cause of downtown rush hour gridlock. The clueless tourist driving is merely a reaction to the pesky tailgating. I say, you straight-up cracked that nail squarely on the head there, Cletus. Two car lengths at all times, folks! Eh, city slickers, amirite? By the way, just a heads up, I have it on good authority that the fat guy and the college boy will have a companion with them on the canoe trip this weekend. Do not, I repeat, do NOT cornhole piggie this time. You’ll thank me later.

      • Mike

        I wanted you to know I think your assessment of the Seattle driver may deserve a Pulitzer. Not an ass kisser…never have been, but I have to agree with EVERYTHING you have addressed. Truth….if people here in Seattle were trying to drive for shit, they wouldn’t get a whif. I have always said that Seattle drivers make their own traffic jams. Road IQ of -60. You said it best when you stated that “you can’t fix stupid.” And you couldn’t be more correct regarding the Seattle driver’s selfish arrogant fucking attitude of, “I can do no wrong. I am always right. I am always entitled. I NEVER fuck up. I’m me. I’m a special little snowflake…just ask me.” I was silly to think I was the only one who noticed this nonsense.

        The subtypes of Seattle drivers: The surrenderer, the creeper, the monitor, the left lane hog, the legislator, the tattle tale, the vigilante, the tour guide, the brake expert, and the crybaby. Any Seattle driver can fill any of these roles at any time. Let me know if I left anything out. Thanks, Seattle Rex.



  • The lack of spacial awareness is another killer. People slowing down or stopping to float between 2 lanes if anything larger than a bicycle is parked to the right of them on the road, despite having anywhere from 3-4 feet of space. This thing is so prevalent in DT and West Seattle it turns me into a raving lunatic for most drives. It’s like watching your Grandmother play her first driving game on a Nintendo 64. UGH.

  • Brian Hogan

    Oh but you’ve forgotten the worst of them all. Not sure of the name for it, but the left lane/passing lane highway drivers in Seattle, and WA for that matter, who go at or under the speed limit and refuse to move over. Ever. Under any circumstances. And who then look at you incredulously when you finally pass them on their right. As if to say “I’m going the speed limit and you are a felon”. It shouldn’t take 9 hours to drive to Portland, 3 hours to get to Ellensburgh, etc. Madness I tell you.

  • Derrick

    Rex, I specifically searched the web for an opinion that would validate and succinctly relay what I think each day as commute to work. This article is COMPLETELY ON POINT and extremely funny!

    As a Seattle native – born and raised in the central district – I couldn’t agree with you more. I have lived in NYC and Atlanta, spent time in Miami and Chicago, and have driven all the way across this great nation of ours and have never seen a more inept collection of drivers in my life. The “Seattle Surrender.” LMAO! “Driver’s Ed teacher at Bumbletwat High School.” Priceless!!!!

  • MG

    I wish you peace.

  • Concerned

    The only solution is hyper expensive licensing and actual enforcement of the traffic laws with hyper expensive penalties.

  • Shane

    Look, as bad as Seattle drivers are, there are plenty worse out there. Try living in the midwest. I’m from Seattle originally but I’ve been living in Oklahoma City for the past 4 years. Every time I come home, the driving experience is actually a relief. Yes that’s right…..a RELIEF. That’s a sad state of affairs I know but it really is the truth. Midwest drivers are guilty of all the above issues and then some. In addition to all these problems, they also never, and I mean NEVER, use their turn signal for anything. It’s like there are spiders crawling all over their blinker and they just have this absolute aversion to it. On the freeways, no one ever pays attention to the signs so I’m always witnessing an “almost wreck” or an actual wreck because somebody is swerving across three lanes of traffic to catch their exit at the last second. It’s like everyone stays in the fast lane until they absolutely have to get off at their exit. And don’t even get me started on the on and off ramps around here. Holy shit. I’ve noticed a few commentors here who are from or have at least driven in and around Texas and you know what I’m talking about. I guess the overall traffic in and around Seattle can be worse simply by virtue of the fact that there’s three times as many people. Quality of the driving though, while certainly bad, is definitely not the worst that I’ve experienced.

  • Tony Tee

    I share your opinion of Seattle drivers, as I was a bus driver for Metro for nearly 3 years and experienced absolute terror and frustration at the hands of self-centered and passive/aggressive twats who cared nothing for the safety of anyone but themselves. I’ve never actually witnessed narcissistic driving until I got behind the wheel of a Metro bus and was regularly subjected to vehicles speeding past me, then cutting over and slamming on their brakes at the last possible second to make a turn at an upcoming intersection. The very sight of a bus attempting to enter traffic from a bus stop seemed to fill oncoming drivers with a peculiar form of desperate rage that manifested itself in a vehicular tirade, an automotive hissy fit, and one that, more often than not, jeopardized the safety of both themselves and the passengers on my bus. The state of Seattle drivers perfectly reflects the state of the average Seattle citizen – self-centered, passive/aggressive, condescending, and self-righteous to the hilt. No amount of money thrown at transportation in this city will amount to anything other than more confusion and more gridlock. Maybe a required remedial driving course, followed by a primer on how to not behave like a twat?

  • Katherine

    It’s the merge, THE MERGE! From WSB onto 99 north. People: the solid white lane marker means do not cross. It does not mean stop dead and make what is essentially a left turn into the crawling lane of traffic, causing both that lane and everyone behind you to also come to a dead stop. Move forward until the lane line turns into dashes and then find an opening so you can merge into the crawl at speed, in a zipper-like fashion. And use the entire damned merge lane to do it. That’s what that lane is for! Drives me bat-shit crazy that so few people know how to do this. I’ve even had people try to block me from using the entire merge lane because they’re pissed off that they’re sitting in line and they want to make damned sure I stay behind them.

  • SunnBobb

    As a motorcycle rider, I can relate to this even more, as I am invisible to the masses. I think the Surrender has gotten worse as people stop to look at their GPS. As time moves forward, the ability to drive via dead reckoning will be bred out of the human race…

  • Cecily

    I learned to drive in Miami. I kept a car in Boston for 7 years. I drove all over New England and New York. I never had road rage until I drove in Seattle. OMG. The driving dissolves on the highway as well. My particular fury is when a row of cars all line up in each other’s blind spots across every lane of traffic on I5 and go 10 miles under the speed limit. No one can pass. They are clueless.

  • Andrea

    I just returned from a trip to Seattle last week and encountered every single one of these examples! I moved away 14 years ago, but still cringe when I’m on Mercer where the road divides under the overpass — I ended up rear-ending a “Seattle Surrender”-er because I couldn’t stop in time. How was I to know that somebody was going to randomly stop in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FOR NO REASON AT ALL!!! Wish your blog post had been available then so I could have been properly prepared.

  • Kim

    I am a 40 year old Seattle native living in Ballard. I have lived in Austin, where drivers act like they always have an extra 10 feet of lane on both sides of them, and the on ramps are deadly. In LA and Chicago where driving is fast and aggressive, and also in Europe. The thing about everywhere else is that there are a few traits that become predictable, which you adapt to. I have always said the same as what Jeff Campbell said above: most Seattle drivers are not from here. That is also to my benefit, because they don’t know alternate routes. They don’t know where side streets lead. This article is spot on and now I have a name for that random stopping! After living in Hawaii where everyone stops for their cousin and is on island time, I can handle the Surrendering, and one thing I learned in New England was that folks aren’t so stuck in principle or scared to poke across the yellow line to get around someone. What I would really like to have addressed publicly is MERGING. Merging when you have a yield sign. Either Seattle drivers are too self centered to understand the word Yield or its not a problem specific to this city and doesn’t warrant an outcry similar to this article. The only thing I didn’t like about this article was the she-baiting. I would have mixed it up with she and he. It seemed obvious that you were trying to get people to complain about that, and it takes away from the rest of the piece.

    • The only thing I didn’t like about this article was the she-baiting. I would have mixed it up with she and he. It seemed obvious that you were trying to get people to complain about that, and it takes away from the rest of the piece.

      Well now you know how we feel. Not that you care.

      I, myself, used to use “he” exclusively. One day, I noticed this, thought about it, and realized that I was being bigoted. This is not a conclusion that most people will allow themselves to reach. And, because I have so many article with exclusive “he’s”, I tend to vary it up, although not usually in the same article. When I’m the only website in Washington State that does it this way, it’s a fallacy to say that I need to “balance it out”. It’s me vs. 5,000. It will always be unbalanced in favor of the villager’s prejudices, regardless of what I do. You cannot sincerely be offended by such a ratio. If you are, then balance was never your goal.

      While I care what people think to a degree, I’d still much rather be right than popular. And try as you might, you will not find a single ad on this site, so unlike most sites, I don’t have to cater to the insincere PR whims of advertisers (all of whom would support slavery were it in fashion).

      Most authors don’t mix it up. Most use “he” exclusively in pieces like this. In my entire life, I’ve never seen anyone complain about it. I’ve never once heard it called “he-baiting”. Not one, single, solitary time.

      As such, unless you can point to where you complain on another website for the author using “he” exclusively, I believe that it’s clear that your opinion is a result of bigotry. It is, at the very least, the result of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy which nobody will call you out on, because people want to be on the side of the majority, and you’re anonymous anyway which is risk-free (which I assume is the point). In my opinion, it’s still wrong.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, though, and I respect it. At least I would if you’d made it with some skin in the game, but anonymity precludes a certain amount of respect by its nature.

  • felice

    I love the ‘Seattle Surrender’ description – oh so true! I call the Seattle Driving Syndrome “the only person on the road” (usually at the top of my lungs when I’m stuck behind one of these morons/jerks).

    This is why Seattle drivers don’t understand the concept of traffic flow, or why it’s important to pay attention to traffic signage (no matter how crappily planned). When you’re the only driver on the road, who cares about speed, blinkers, how you merge – wheeeeeee!

    And I find that these folks handle their shopping carts the same way. Just go to Whole Foods on a Saturday during ‘family hours’ – you’ll find at least one ‘only shopper in the store,’ taking up an entire bloody aisle. And there’s probably one on every single aisle.

    I live in Seattle and I don’t bother owning a car. I only want to spend so many hours of my life yelling at these people.

  • Jeffrey Izzo

    Not a native, but I consider Seattle my adopted home — I was born and raised in New Jersey (New York Metro Area)and lived for many years in Boston (even drove a cab there in college). So as much as I adore the city, I feel your pain. But you left out one extremely important one — the Utter Inability To Drive in Inclement Weather. Now I’m not talking about snow — Seattle drivers’ total lack of driving skill in 2 inches of snow is legendary. But in all fairness, you can chalk at least some of that up to the sporadic appearance of the white stuff, the hills, and the total lack of snow removal equipment — 15 years in Seattle and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a salt truck (except at the passes). But rain? Commuting on a drizzly morning, one can rely on there being at least a half a dozen accidents. Drivers either slow down to a dangerously over-cautious rate, or rely on the gimendous AWD vehicles to rescue them from the laws of physics and take corners at 60 mph. Ultimately, this is really the result of Seattle drivers’ inability to cope with ANY situation out of the ordinary — a police car stopping cars in the opposite direction on I5, a lane closure, even very sunny days. Once when I was driving northbound on I5 near the Michigan St exit, about a half a mile up ahead there was an ambulance stopped (no shoulder there, so understandable). The driver in front of me JAMMED on the brakes and came to a complete halt in the left lane. Luckily I was able to brake in time. Unreal.

    Oh and let’s not forget the 4-Way Stop Syndrome — like the Looney Toons chipmunks, it can be 10 minutes of “after you” and “no, you first” then “no, I insist” Aggggghhhhhh!!!!

    Still, I wouldn’t live anywhere else (even though I now do part of the year for job reasons).

  • Ann

    Seriously? You take 1st Avenue from Pioneer Square to Lower Queen Anne? Lights on 4th Avenue are synced perfectly and make the trip you cite easy within 10 minutes.
    I don’t dispute that traffic here is bad, but to say that 100% of downtown drivers are from out-of-town and that you see at least 20 practicing your so-called “Seattle Surrender” on any trip through downtown? C’mon now. Do you have drama queen tendencies?
    Having lived and worked here for over 30 years, I see a lot of cautious drivers, and a few out-of-towners who freak out when they hit the busy streets. That’s about it.

    • I don’t dispute that traffic here is bad, but to say that 100% of downtown drivers are from >out-of-town and that you see at least 20 practicing your so-called “Seattle Surrender” on any trip through downtown? C’mon now.

      Here is the quote from my article that you have taken exception to:

      “In the course of an average day, I encounter the Surrender no fewer than 20 times.”

      Ann, I’m going to assume that your driving skill matches your reading comprehension skill. That is, perceived to be better by you than by others.

      Do you have drama queen tendencies?

      Let me ask you something, Ann. Do you know anyone that doesn’t? Especially up here?

      I mean, you’ve no doubt heard that it “rains all the time” here, no? Yet, look outside. Have you ever seen such a blue sky in all your life?

      Remember the Slutwalk? 200 woman in lingerie marching down Pine Street to protest the opinion of a single police officer 3,000 miles away in Toronto?

      Do you know what we call opponents of gay marriage in this town? Evil hate-mongers. Yeah, evil hate-mongers, I kid you not.

      Face it, Ann, Seattle may as well be renamed ‘Drama Queen City’. I suppose some of it is in the eye of the beholder, though.

      See, when people say things we agree with, it’s a valid observation. When they say things that we disagree with, they’re drama queens.

      I live in Downtown Seattle. If I want to see what the traffic is like Downtown, I open my window and look down. I’m on these streets (well, sidewalks mostly) each and every day, with zero exceptions. I was once a bicycle messenger on these streets. I once drove a cab on these streets. Nearly 100% of my non-working life is confined to two square miles, from Elliot Bay to Broadway, from Dearborn to Mercer. Weekends? Here. Holidays? Here. My entire family lives in this same two square miles. Outside of taking the ferry to and from work, I don’t think I’ve left the Seattle City limits in years. In that time, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left this 2 square miles. I concede that it’s almost pathetic to have such a tiny bubble encompass your entire existence, but I doubt that there’s anything that you, or anyone else for that matter, could tell me about about this small geographical slab.

      Of course, you all think you’re experts, and that’s really the problem. Driver’s skills rarely match their perceptions of their skills. Everyone knows everything about driving around here, yet when you stand on the corner and watch what goes on, you can’t help but wonder where all of those experts went.

      Now, if you have an opinion on the matter, that’s great, and I’m happy to read it.

      That said, please note that I share my experiences on my own website. Which I built, and which I pay for. There are no ads here. I make nothing. In fact, I do nothing but spend money for this website’s existence. There aren’t many websites you can say that for these days.

      I don’t invite people to my website, but it’s here if they find their way to it, and I’m happy to provide it to them if they wish. This being the case, though, how I do or do not choose to express myself is really none of anyone else’s business. My website is the appropriate place to pen my experiences in the manner I wish to write them, no? I have zero incentive to be deceptive, and I never intentionally am, but I write how I write. Take it or leave it.

      Do you knock on the doors of random houses, and ask people if they are blind, because you don’t like the color of their drapes?

      I should hope not.

      So, while I appreciate your interest in the topic, taking shots at the messenger, when the messenger is providing the means for your comments, speaks more about your penchant for drama than it does mine.

  • C.M. 206

    I have an unfortunate amount of people in my life who identify as coming from somewhere on the east coast, and you know what? It’s not just the driving habits of Washingtonians that they complain about, it’s EVERYTHING! Nothing but passive aggressive, tree hugging, hipster snobs that live out here, according to the ‘wisdom’ of the east coast mentality. I have seen time and time again, as some undesirable behavior of your typical Seattleite is observed by the east coaster, criticized, and ultimately attributed to the dysfunctional nature of our existence on this coast. I perused the comments of this blog, and while I’m sure there were people who share my sentiment, an overwhelming majority of you transplant jagweeds came to sing praises and to corroborate the accuracy of this article. So, the only logical solution to our collective issue with the drivers in the Seattle area is that you all go back to your respective ‘beloved’ cities where people drive to your liking. You know what else the citizens of your east coast urban centers are really skilled at? Shooting people with guns! There were 47 people shot last weekend in Chicago, almost 30 the weekend before that, but THANK GOODNESS PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO DRIVE THERE. Maybe you can go home and drive 10 over the speed limit so you can get to the intersection where you’ll be robbed at gunpoint in a timely fashion! To all you douches complaining about the traffic and poor quality of drivers here, why don’t you take a second to be grateful there is BARELY a neighborhood in Seattle that you even have to FEAR becoming a victim of gun violence, while your chances of actually being victimized are very slim. Or, instead of griping about how the suburban landscape is so close to the urban center, as to cause the inexperienced drivers to flood in, you could appreciate that, unlike on the east coast, you DON’T have to travel hundreds of miles to experience all of the beautiful nature the PNW has to offer. I will conclude with this: I was raised with some of the best traffic safety instruction available, including learning to drive with my father who was a police patrolman for over 35 years. I didn’t grow up in Seattle, but I have lived here for a long time and, I agree, Seattle drivers are pretty awful. However, Seattle and the Northwest as a whole is a wonderful place so pipe down, Gabroni, and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination.

    • While “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a nice sentiment, I don’t believe it reflects the realities of modern life in a large-ish city. Neither does “give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination”. While this is a reasonable goal, life is filled with all kinds of unpredictable, dynamic, highly-variable things which prevent such simple directions from being followed flawlessly, day after day. Not everyone’s life is a charmed one, or equally charmed, and whether or not you are exposed to it, Seattle has it’s share of issues.

      Have you any idea how much time, and how many resources are spent dedicated to this issue? All predicated on the notion that the primary cause of gridlock is a lack of money thrown at the problem. We just signed off on a $5 Billion tunnel that is supposed to alleviate traffic Downtown, yet which will increase traffic.

      We’ll have to spend even more money to alleviate that.

      Identifying the major causes of traffic issues are a primary concern in any metropolitan area. In Seattle, these causes are repeatedly mis-identified, which prevents the problems from being solved successfully.

      Maybe someone should say something, eh? Maybe “look at all this natural beauty” doesn’t work in all scenarios?

      This does not even address the safety issues. As Mike Wang was being run over by an SUV in South Lake Union, I’m going to guess he wasn’t thinking “oh look, Rainier’s out today”. There are far more vehicle-related deaths in this tiny geographic area than there should be.

      Seattle’s abhorrent driving problem is a financial problem, a safety problem, a resource problem, and a quality-of-life problem.

      All cities have problems. The residents of those cities talk about those problems. Maybe even commiserate about them. I’m sorry if that annoys you, but that’s what the human animal does. Always has, always will, I imagine.

      There is also a certain relief that people feel when they realize that other’s share their same frustrations. It’s become a hostile world (or perhaps it’s always been one), and recognizing that one is not alone can make one feel better. Sort of a “misery loves company” thing.

      This does not mean that they do not appreciate the town’s attributes. It does not mean that they do not take advantage of the town’s attributes. How much would you like to bet that I’ve posted more photos of Seattle’s scenic beauty than any single author on the Internet? 60,000 and counting. There’s simply a time and place for everything.

  • etaoin shrdlu

    Agree completely. Moved here from Chicago 14 years ago and I am still in culture shock each time I get behind the wheel.

    The quirk that really gets to me is the half block a Seattle driver puts between his car and the car in front — WHEN STOPPED IN TRAFFIC. Doesn’t matter how jammed the roads are, how close the traffic is to gridlock. These Seattle morons just won’t tighten things up. WHY??

  • Avendora

    I drive roughly 50-60K miles a year. I know others drive more. But I drive a lot!

    Indecision kills!

    Women and Asians are horrible drivers (there are exceptions to every stereotype).

    My view, I don’t have time to waste. So if you’re slow, I’m going to pass you.

    Your blinker is NOT an Exclamation point, but a question mark!!!

    Take trucks into consideration (delivery, long-haul, etc). If you get in front of them, leave some room for them to brake. DO NOT CUT THEM OFF AT AN OFFRAMP!!! Do not jump in front of them and then slow down!!! Give them space if they want over!

    Make a decision and stick to it. If you’re wrong, people can work around that, but at least you stuck to your plan. When you can’t figure out what you’re doing, that’s when accidents happen.

    Don’t be afraid to change lanes to whichever is moving faster. Look up ahead at the traffic pattern.

    Learn the side streets!!! I can get from Lake City to Sumner in 1 hr and 15 minutes on average at 6pm at night!

    If the freeway makes you nervous, do us all a favor and stay in the right lane please!

    That is all I have for the moment.

  • As a professional driver I could not agree with you more.

  • nikola marshall

    Don’t drive downtown.

    Problem solved.

  • Mr Focus

    “residents of the core walk and bike everywhere”

    98% of the people of Texas would claim that this is un-American.

  • Hdrew

    The worst is the left lane here! It’s state law for passing only, yet people just camp there! I think the HOV lane is to blame. People go in that lane just because they have numbers leaving the real “left” lane like any other. It’s maddening! Pass on the left then move the fuck over like the rest of the country does.

  • Lindsay

    Oh my gosh, I love you! I moved here from Portland six months ago and every day I feel like I am losing my mind because of the drivers up here. I have never encountered anything like the Seattle Surrender and I see it multiple times on my 3 mile commute. It is to the point where I have all but given up my car in favor of taking my chances as a pedestrian. Thanks so much for the great read, it is wonderful to hear that other people understand my pain.

  • Erika

    Actually some of the driving is as bad or worse in the rural areas(outside Redmond). They pull the same tactics along with cut-offs, forced lane changing (they have a big truck and are entitled), tailgating(yes at 50 mph), making you stop so they can pull out of parking (because they are entitled), and nearly running you off the road when trying to pass you in hazardous conditions because you are not doing the speed limit, among other fun habits.

    Having driven through DC, Baltimore, NYC, Hartford and Jersey Turnpike (which should have its own zipcode)I have seen my share of stupid driving.

    But, from Pittsburg PA where drivers think that the “yield” sign at the end of the on-ramp means that through traffic has to yield TO THEM, to Albuquerque NM where 1/4 of the drivers on the road at any given time are intoxicated and/or high and possibly armed, none of them have displayed such a density of poor drivers.

    Much of the poor driving out here appears to stem from some form of “most important person on the road” syndrome (usually an SUV or pick-up truck) , but maybe they really are that ditzy.

    At least in New Mexico they have the excuse of being intoxicated.

    • Luchog

      The “I’m more important” thing is what we can East Side Entitlement attitude. East Side is where all the jerks with money live. The more money they have, the less the rules apply to them, apparently.

  • Heidi Witherspoon

    AMEN. Don’t go blaming CALI for this, either. At least CALI drivers get through town.

  • JVC

    Totally agree. I have driven all over the country and the idiots here are the worst. The absolute worst. My favorite is probably this: You are driving in the middle lane. The idiot in front of you is driving 20 miles under the speed limit. You move to the left lane and pass them. However, right as you get close to them, they stomp on the gas and cut you off, forcing you to go back to the middle lane, go 20 miles over the speed limit, to pass them. That happens every single day.

    Other stuff Seattle idiots do:

    They love to drive in packs. You have to weave through the pack to get to the wide open space in front of it.
    Random lane changes. Apparently they get bored easily and decide to explore other lanes, usually while going less than the speed limit.
    The speed limit is scary and should not ever be attempted. Either that or they confuse kilometers with miles.

    I love Seattle, but having grown up in Philadelphia, where people drive aggressively as a form of life, it is maddening to drive here. And there is just an endless supply of idiots, even when you get around one, there are oh so many remaining to pass.

  • Houston Texan

    It’s just another nice place to visit. I promise I won’t send more drivers to your city. It’s too crowded 😉
    Is that better?

    • That’s more like it.

      On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know if I can return a severed horse head?

      I assume there will be some kind of restocking fee, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be using it.

  • Houston Texan

    He’s not a cop and I love to fly on the endless Houston highways in my SRX. I guess I was in awe of the cool weather, great highway sights, and nice folks of Seattle to see a problem with the slow pokes on the road.

    • Forget what you saw. You have a drinking problem exacerbated by a nasty Vicodin habit, and this clearly clouded your judgement.

      Repeat after me, “Seattle is a third-world burg, inferior to Texas in every way. Not only would I never live there, but as far as I’m concerned, visiting is out of the question as well!”

      Got it?

      Now, go forth through the land of Texas, and tell people what you’ve learned here. Tell them of the cold, socialist shithole, filled with eskimos, anglers, and serial killers. Oh, and the drivers suck.

      Do you catch my drift, or are you and I going to have a problem?

  • Houston Texan

    I was in town for a week with my son, who just moved to Green Lake from Houston, Texas (lots of fast highway drivers). What we noticed was that the weekday drivers on I-5 drove the speed limit, were very courteous, and used their blinkers. We never heard a car horn, never saw a car wreck, & never heard an emergency siren. I’d guess that to improve the traffic problem, you need more signage before exits and possibly, promote public transportation more because we didn’t see much room for more highways. I wish we had the public transportation here that Seattle has!

  • Seattleborn1960

    I was born and raised in Seattle. I went to school there and learned to drive there. However, there was less traffic and it was much less chaotic when I learned to drive in the mid 70’s. A lot has changed since then and I live way out in the sticks. When I do go in to “the city” I see and experience everything that was mentioned in the article. I have to laugh because he was right on target. My husband moved here from California in the early 90’s and had never experienced drivers like Seattle drivers. He now commutes from our rural haven into Seattle 4 days a week and encounters this stuff everyday that he’s there. I have to agree, no amount of money or additional roads will change the situation.

  • Chuckreis

    Can I flip off and yell at the fuckers that stop in crosswalks, don’t stop for crosswalks and almost run me over every fucking time I set foot on a street?

    Some of us, when driving, like to stop (a full stop) and check for peds and bikes at intersections, because you know sometimes they are there and pausing to make sure no one is going to run them over.

  • jackson

    And by the way, what is it that happens to the collective mentality at the dreaded four-way stop? Is it really that difficult a concept to grasp. Please, passive-aggressive Seattle, if you are simply incapable of knowing who moves first, and instead you elect to surrender to a more decisive, competent driver, then don’t subsequently honk at, flip the bird at, or throw dirty looks at said driver for having the wherewithal to learn, know, and practice the rules of the road.

  • Double D

    I am late to discover this article but just wanted to say that you nailed it so very, very hard. Seattle drivers are infuriating on a daily basis. They consider themselves to be courteous drivers but really they are just timid, indecisive, and unaware of how their actions affect everyone else on the road. I will even give them the (undeserved) benefit of the doubt on I-5, which was designed so poorly with entrances and exits on both sides of the road to essentially guarantee a perpetual traffic jam, but I cannot explain or excuse the situation on northbound 99 into town every morning during rush hour. From the moment that East Marginal Way becomes the Alaskan Way Viaduct until you are all the way through downtown Seattle, the left lane is the through lane. There are no exits or entrances merging in the left lane. The right lane on the other hand has all the merging traffic from the West Seattle Freeway, then more merging traffic at the entrance by the stadiums. Inexplicably, the left lane is consistently the slower of the two lanes every single morning. WTF, Seattle drivers? You really are the very worst drivers of all.

  • CA-Or-Bust

    Aside from the undeniable truth to the examples given in this article, I must say that I would be a much happier Seattle driver if people would use the passing lane on the freeway as just that: a passing (or fast) lane. So many times have I seen a car get on the freeway and risk life and limb getting to the far left lane as quickly as possible, and then simply coast along like they have all the time in the world. Forget the fact that there are at least *2* other lanes that could be used for taking your sweet time. The level of ignorance when it comes to basic knowledge of rules of the road is astonishing.

  • Jayx91

    Lol I think the epidemic is spreading. Quite a few states away, but I’m downtown picking up my girl from ladies night out in the middle of friday night madness and I encounter a DOUBLE reverse roadblock! Two cars at once making laughable attempts to parallel park into spots one car away from each other! Traffic backed up into the intersection as they make two and then three attempts in and out of the spots as fellow inebriated hipsters shout encouragement from the sidewalk, and I pray for one of them to do us all a favor and stomp on the gas instead of the brake the next time daddy’s car bounces off the curb and take out five or six of them in one blessed miracle… er… tragic accident. Anyway, just thought I’d share as this post was the first thing to penetrate the red haze and angry honking obscuring my thoughts

  • will

    I.just experienced a, classic example of a, reverse roadblock today on Alki! . There was a parking space atleast 4 car lengths long. Driver pulls up car parked up front, sits there a minute then attempts to back up.into the space. She got a nice long.honk

  • MisterCorso

    Spend a year (hell, a month) driving in southern Maine.

    When you return to Seattle, you’ll kiss the next “surrender” so fiercely that bards will immortalize the moment in song.

  • Heather

    Settle is to America, what Vancouver is to Canada. You have just described the exact same driving we encounter here and I’m pretty sure our downtown core is even smaller. Horn use is almost non-existent here and in fact in can be risky to honk your horn as you may startle the recipient into causing an accident. We have the same objections here to expanding our rapid transit but some of the worst driving in Canada. The only other place I’ve seen more bizarre driving is in Paris where they’ll cheerfully park on the sidewalk right in front of you (the pedestrian) or pull up to the centre of a meridian to chat on their mobile phone. Horns, however, are freely used. Just ignored.

  • Adelia

    Wanted to thank you all for the rants and raves, as I was just subject to a person who insisted that I go the EXACT speed limit just last week, and it still bothers me. Here’s my story.

    I’m not Initial D or speed racer. I do go 5 miles or so over the speed limit. On a road with two lanes going the same direction, I had a car further ahead, moseying along in the left lane. I’ve learned that this is a part of life in Seattle. So, planning ahead (meaning; not coming up on her) I change lanes to the right and maintain my speed, knowing full well that it is illegal to pass on the right. The car paces me until we catch up with someone in the right lane. Then she sticks right by them, so I cannot pass. I roll my eyes. I’m not a stressed out person, I’m not running late. Whatever. Back into the left lane, behind her. Eventually l get the opportunity to try again to pass on the right. This time I downshift and go for it. She speeds up and doesn’t let me. We get to a red light. She’s making hand gestures that say 3 5 3 5 (the speed limit is 35). The next intersection she is in the right lane and I pull up next to her. I roll down my window because it is obvious she has something to say to me. Only she wants to say all kinds of rude things with her window up. I sign the ASL sign for thank you (my dry, sarcastic brain thinking “thank you for teaching me right from wrong, I never knew the speed limit meant something. I will never go over it again) and continue on my day.

    I still am bothered by this. I hope she dies in a fiery car crash. I really do. She violated 3 rules (impeding traffic, maintaining a speed, and not keeping right) to insist that I obey the one she likes. It’s not like I was driving erratically. Aren’t there starving children in Africa or teenagers texting while driving that she could focus on instead?

    Thanks for letting me vent, I hope I can forget about it now.

  • JM

    Wow. Thank you for writing this. It completely validates my 9 years of complaints (I moved here in 2003).

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but my personal favorite is this: the weather gets sunny after a long period of rain. People freak out about the appearance of that bright orb in the sky! There are lots of accidents and traffic jams. Then, after a few sunny days, it rains again. Once more, people are completely perplexed, even though it rains here ALL THE TIME!

  • Tom

    1. Seattle drivers are so f******* used to green left-turn arrows on traffic lights that they will often just turn left as soon as they see a green light at any intersection, even if it doesn’t have a left-turn arrow. Result: they will turn left into traffic that is accelerating right at them.

    2. If an exit lane on a highway is backed up for a mile, Seattle drivers will drive right to the front of the line and come to a complete stop and try to merge into the exit lane. The lane could (should) be going at 70 MPH and they’re at a dead stop right in the middle of it. Everybody behind them has to merge left, and so on. That’s why the entire 520-405 interchange is stop-and-go for hours EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON.

    3. I often jaywalk across a local street near my house. I wait patiently, just standing on the side of the road, for traffic to clear. 1 out of 5 cars will come to a complete stop on this semi-busy street to let me walk across, as if they’re doing me some kind of favor (I don’t even want to cross since traffic is still coming in the other lanes). Half of these people who stop are well-meaning but the other half are angry at me, when all I’m doing is standing on the sidewalk at the side of the road, as if it wasn’t their decision to stop and hold up traffic.

  • Trevor

    Since moving to Capitol Hill, I’ve noticed most drivers are completely befuddled by the traffic circles on the residential streets. I have noticed two behaviors that seem to be related to each other:

    1. A driver will stop before the traffic circle or even in the middle of the circle and wait for oncoming traffic that has not yet arrived at the circle.
    2. A driver who hasn’t yet arrived at the circle will assume that I will do the above and will then blare on their horn and/or give me the finger when I continue to use my legal right of way.

    It’s exactly the same as a stop sign: whoever is first at the intersection has right of way, and if two cars arrive at the same time, the driver on the right-hand side has right of way. It’s so simple. I cannot understand why it is so confusing to people.

  • Dan

    LOL… None of these Seattle drivers would survive 5 minutes on a real highway. I would love to see what happens if you put them on the 110 just south coming off of the interchange from the 101 and told them to stay on there ( which requires 3 consecutive lane changes at 80mph). I think they would just cease to exist. But really, though many of the problems are exacerbated by poor road design( how many merges can you fit on an on ramp, you ask?), a city that is off in the clouds with ideas about people riding bicycles and taking public transit when these are for many impractical., rather than correcting the traffic problems. Too many people are scrambling for on street parking so they can avoid the price gouging rates that are charged in the parking garages and doing all sorts of crazy nonsense in doing so. It is high time that municipal garages be built that charged a reasonable (like $15 tops for a 24hr period) rate to park, putting the parking thieves out of business and hopefully correcting some of this mess.

  • Jay

    Sorry last one…….lol
    7. Don’t even think of staying on the outside lane of two lane turns because the inside lane driver just might accidentally or carelessly turn into the outside lane forcing you to be run off the road or worse……hit. I’ve seen this many times….

  • Jay

    Oh I forgot to add:
    6. Drivers who leave insane amount of space between cars (in front of them) in stoplights or traffic so that it creates traffic jams. The cars behind them are forced to stop at the other intersection or wait for the next light. And not its not raining or snowing, these drivers do it even on dry and sunny days. People lack the skill of depth perception.

  • Jay

    I agree with all of the comments from the author. I grew up in the Midwest (St.Louis) and I’ve been driven in LA, SF, Anaheim, Portland, St.Louis, Wichita, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Houston, and Seattle is the worst. Here are the gripes I want to add (which you have not covered):
    1. People who don’t use signals turning lanes or into areas. They do this even in medium traffic on highway which is reckless and stupid driving
    2. Pedestrians who think they are God and own the road. Jaywalking on do not walk, forcing oncoming traffic to wait for them as they take their sweeta$$ time. Oh, and they don’t look before they cross…idiots.
    3. So many cars with burnt out taillights and headlights and local cops do nothing. Some idiots don’t even turn on the lights when its dark outside.
    4. People constantly stepping on the brakes going downhill like 1-3mph over will give them a ticket. Little do they know they are killing their brakes.
    5. Cyclists following so close to cars acting like we have 360 deg view of them. Be smart and keep a distance…cars are heavier than bikes..duh.

    • Ihateseattletoo

      Hey Jay…I’m from Wichita and KCMO. You hit the nail on the head with the burned out tail lights! I often follow cars (mostly Saturns, Corollas, Mazdas, minivans) utilizing ONE center mount tail lamp for brake lights. Both left and right are burned out but the single bulb is all they have to indicate braking.

      And another favorite is NO SIGNALING! Or they will proceed into a fast brake turn and give a half flash. Very annoying.

      Have you been behind the lane drifters yet? You know, the ones that have rubbed the white paint line down to the pavement because they all drive ON THE FOG LINE!!

  • Mike

    ALSO, while I’m thinking about it, if you enter an interstate highway, ACCELERATE ON THE RAMP!! This may come as a shock to some of you but you really should be at highway speed by the time you get to the end of the ramp….and NOT 40-45 MPH!! Morons….

  • Mike

    I totally agree with this post, but I will go one further and say that drivers on the ENTIRE I-5 corridor from Tumwater to Everett are the worst in America. NO ONE seems to know what the left lane is for and they won’t move even if you flash your lights to get them to move over. Just because you are going 62in the left lane doesn NOT mean you have the right to that lane even if someone behind you is on your butt….AND being in a passing lane DOES NOT mean that you can do 62 when the guy you are pacing in the middle lane is doing 60, thereby taking forever to complete the “pass.” Additionally, the sheer volume of traffic on I-5, which is fed by every single municipality in western Washington, cannot be handled by the road itself. Overpopulation on this side of the state has oversaturated the ability of the infrastructure to handle it. So what do the brilliant municipal leaders here do? NOTHING, except build, build, and build some more while hoping for the tax revenues but forgetting those tax revenues won’t keep up with the outrageous costs of modernizing the infrastructures. There should be a signs at ALL roads that cross the state line that says “GO BACK!! WE’RE FULL!”

  • Jenny

    You are right. Tailgating is another problem AND people who stop on the freeway to wait until they can get into an exit lane. Also if you drive in Seattle you’d better learn about getting in line for your exit because they follow so close you’ll never make it in if you don’t. I’m a professional driver and I can’t believe how awful some people are at driving.
    The thing where people pull around you at a light when you are waiting at a green light makes me want to scream! Thanks for writing this.

  • Celeste

    I have two words for you: Lexington, Kentucky.

  • Katie

    Just moved to Baton Rouge, LA, from Seattle.

    Not saying that Seattlites are absolutely amazing drivers, but Baton Rouge drivers are so much worse, it makes me want to cry.

    I’ve traveled a lot of places in the country, and have yet to see a city with such awful drivers as Baton Rouge.

  • Patti

    So funny! My fave problem drivers are the ones in the passing lanes who don’t pass and don’t realize if they are not passing, they should be in the right lane of the highway. Also the drivers who are sometimes too nice and stop to let someone in, putting everyone at risk behind them. You must travel to New Orleans sometime, though. There are some crazy habits there, too. Such as stopping in the street to talk to your friend on the sidewalk or your friend who is sitting in a parked car on the street, thus blocking traffic going in that direction. I can’t understand the aversion to mass transit here. We travelled all over New Orleans by bus. This region should have put light rail in years ago, instead of the bus tunnel!

  • tracy

    I started driving for king county metro transit in january and have experienced these and sooo much more. Every single time i go to make a turn and am blocked by idiot drivers, there they are, their car completely 100% in front of the intersection stop line, cellphone to their ear pretending like they have no idea they are in the way of the 60 foot bus. I dont know why they bother with all the “do not enter except bus” signs in downtown…drivers go whereever they feel like. Especially on 3rd during rush hour times with buses taking up all lanes, they think its okay to pass and drive wherever as if buses will never damage their car. The pedestrians and bicyclists are absolutely no better. Darting in the sliver of room between buses without looking, not in an intersection or crowsswalk. I guess seattle really does have a high suicide risk, seeing as they clearly have a deathwish.

  • thomas

    Question – is the “on-ramp stop to merge” a Seattle Surrender, or something different all together? This is one of my favorites because it actually puts other peoples’ lives in real and present danger.

  • Mark

    I moved to Bellevue from Long Beach, Ca. in late 2009, and at first it was great while the sun was out and people were driving in a nice manner on the road. But then the as the road winds, I start to notice that everyone seems to damn near go to a crawl, apparently this region does not have drivers that are capable of handling the sun in their eyes with sun glasses.

    Being me as a true Cali driver, I still fly down the road between 70-90 and still do not understand why people get on the road at a dismal 45mph! I am not talking about the street, I am talking about the damn freeway which has no rite to call it self the 405 as it will never flow like the true 405!

    Once thing to note is that drivers in Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue seem to get frazzled as you run right up their back side in a 35 while they are going only about 25.

    Seattlites, please do your self a favor and travel to Cali, NY, Texas, FLa and learn how to drive and not piss off everyone while doing it, and YES I will always be a Cali driver who drives like he is in Cali!!

    • Beyu

      I agree, as someone who has lived in Bellevue for +10 years the city does have quite a few bad drivers and I blame that on recent immigrants who suck at driving and dumb soccer moms in their gigantic SUVs. However, Seattle still takes the cake, I seriously hate having to go into Seattle because while both cities have bad drivers Seattle also has to deal with old, crappy roads, rude bicyclists, and jaywalkers who look like they’re trying to play a real life version of the 80s arcade game Frogger. Pedestrians honestly don’t seem to value their lives or perhaps they just don’t care because the guy in the car is always the bad guy. Then you have the alcoholics and drug addicts who seem to have no idea where they’re going so they stand in the street instead.

      On another note why does the writer of this article dislike the fact that there’s a anti-light rail sign in Bellevue? I don’t live in the Surrey Downs neighborhood where this sign is posted and building the LR would benefit me but I can still understand why the people who live there don’t want the LR.

      • chuckreis

        Was your comment an art piece on stereotyping?

        • Beyu

          No not really, these are just things that I’ve noticed while growing up in Bellevue. I have family members who fall into both categories and as an Asian person I’d have to say that it seems like a large majority of Asian and Middle Eastern people can’t drive that well. This isn’t to say that they’re bad people or that they’re not trying to learn but Bellevue’s been booming for the last decade or so and with a population that fluctuates based on large companies like Microsoft or Expedia perhaps recent immigrates just haven’t gotten use to driving yet. Having been an intern at Microsoft and a recruiter for them I know that a large number of their employees don’t actually have citizenship but are merely here on a work visa and on a contract basis, Expedia is the same.

          My mom (Asian) for example also sucks at driving and gets lost easily even though all of our cars have built in Nav from the factory. She ends up having to have my dad and I drive her everywhere if it happens to be further than our home in Bellevue and her workplace in Seattle.

          Her sister and her friends (soccer moms) are even worse. It’s honestly scary riding with them because they simply don’t follow the rules or use common sense when driving. In the past I remember telling one of them that they shouldn’t be driving on the bicycle lane and what she responded with was that “it’s ok to drive on the bicycle lane if no bicyclists are using them.”

  • Ben

    First problem with your video is the car has license plates that are not from Washington! I can not disagree with some of your argument, but most people in Seattle are not from here. There are more transplants than locals left. Seattle is also a unique city when it comes to driving, it is the northern most city in the continental US that is built on hills. There are some roads to steepe to pave, the are still brick! this makes it nearly impossible in heavy snow and at least hard in the rain, which as you know is most of the time.

    With all that said, this is a link to a classic local comeidy show, Almost Live! Sketch regarding a driving school in the traditional Norwegen community, Ballard.

  • Erin

    So true! I laughed out loud several times.

    I moved to Seattle from Milwaukee seven years ago and it was just baffling how badly people drove. Milwaukee’s not a huge city. The roads are just as ill-planned and confusing as here in Seattle (Waukesha’s worse), and yet people there know how to drive. They know how to use the left lane only for passing. They know which speed is appropriate for which weather condition. They know how to drive around the block instead of making a right turn from the left-turn lane!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>