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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 queue, the driver in front of you hits her brakes and slows down, before coming to a rest in front 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 a 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!”

Anyway …

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.

Why?

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.

Why?

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 used to 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 vehicles intent, and turn signals? Well, on the rare occasion 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 a large reason why, with some disappointment, I turned in the cab and called it a career. Driving here is futile, and the problem is out of our hands. It’s patently unfixable.

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.

The other day, 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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??

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

      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 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. In my opinion, it’s still wrong.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, though, and I respect it.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Concerned

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

  • MG

    I wish you peace.

  • 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!!!!

  • 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.

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