The Ten Worst People in Houston Traffic

Categories: Traffic

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Photo by TexasDarkHorse via Flickr
Over at Gawker, they did a piece on the ten worst people on the subway. I've been to New York enough to recognize at least some of the things they mentioned. I can't imagine the hell it must be using that to get to work every day, but then again, I live in Houston, a place where commuters spend hours of their lives every week in a car sitting behind other drivers just to get to work.

I'm not sure which is better, which is why, when Art Director Monica Fuentes sent me the Gawker link and suggested something similar might be great to write about for Houston, traffic made the perfect foil. Just last month, I wrote an open letter to drivers at the 59/610 interchange. It seemed to resonate with a lot of you and I can certainly relate. So, with a nod to the folks at Gawker, here are Houston's top 10 worst people in Houston traffic. It may not be the subway, but our traffic has a special ring of hell all to itself.

People who weave in and out of traffic searching for the fastest lane.
This does not work. Trust me. And, believe me when I say that there are few things more satisfying than when I pass you because you moved into a slow lane. Unless there is a wreck or something blocking the lane you are in, just pick one and stay there.


People who don't turn right on red from the right lane on a street with three or more lanes.
If you do not intend to turn right at a light on a street that has three or more lanes, you better have a damn good reason for keeping all the people with the flashing blinkers behind you waiting. The only acceptable reason is that you are turning IMMEDIATELY after the light. I might give you 150 yards of cushion, but that better be it.


People who ride your bumper.
Seriously, why the hell do you do this? In my spiteful, petty little world, I feel a great desire to simply slow down to a point where any potential accident would cause the least damage possible. It's reasonable in bumper-to-bumper traffic to be close behind me, but if you are so close to me that you can read the station numbers off my radio and traffic is moving, you are way too freaking close. Get into another lane.


Slow drivers in the fast lane.
Pretty much everyone hates you. I'm sorry, but they do. If you have to drive slower than most, that's completely fine. Just don't do it in the left lane...ever, especially when traffic finally gets moving and all everyone wants to do is just GO.


People who don't pay attention at red lights.
There is an etiquette to when you are allowed to tap...TAP...your horn at a person who has lost all sense of time and space at a red light. Count to three and then lightly tap your horn once. At this point, I think we can all forgive you. But, if you don't respond, you are threatening the very fabric of civilized society. If we miss the light because you sat there so long staring at your phone or whatever you are doing, I'm fairly certain the law allows me to have you arrested or simply killed.

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80 comments
fourtwentytax
fourtwentytax

Kind of mentioned indirectly, but MULTI-TASKERS. Attended a conference when a speaker was talking about the value of multi-tasking. One women spoke up to say that on her way to the conference she was eating a Big Mac, smoking a cigarette and talking to her teen daughter while driving. She added that she bought a "huge SUV' so that "people would pay attention to her when she was on the road."

RedIsNotADrink
RedIsNotADrink

People who tap/ hit their brakes on the freeway FOR NO REASON AT ALL and scare the shit out of everyone around them, especially if you're behind said person...you then pull up next to them to honk and give them the "WTF is wrong with you look"- only to of course, see them on the phone. 

rdh0077
rdh0077

3 additions to your list:

1) A-holes that whip-in behind ambulances on emergency calls and tail-gate them as a means of circumventing traffic

2) Slow-moving douche nozzles that build the 3-way "wall" on the freeway, making it impossible for anyone to pass them

3) Metro buses.

AdamUp
AdamUp

People who don't turn on red at the intersection of Taft and Allan Parkway. You don't have to wait for green, the service road has an on ramp to Allen Parkway. Fucking idiots! 

ktk819
ktk819

Oh.  I guess I'll add one in here:

People that don't realize you can take a left on red at the intersection of two one way streets where the flow of the cross street is to the left of the street you're on.

KizerSosay
KizerSosay

Everyone who complains about slower drivers cruising in "the fast lane" is perpetuating the real problem. "Fast" is a subjective term. Some people believe that 67 mph is fast on a freeway with a speed limit of 65. As long as people call it "the fast lane" those bastards won't budge. The far left lane on a multi-lane highway is the PASSING LANE and if you are not passing anyone move the hell over. People who motor along in the passing lane oblivious to what is going on behind them, not using mirrors or turn signals, are more dangerous than those of us who are forced to weave in and out to pass them on the wrong (right) side,

Motherscratcher
Motherscratcher

I will throw out a caveat to "People who don't let others merge"

The douche that tries to pass every car that is in traffic exiting the freeway in essence "cutting" the line. He deserves the most scorn because he slows traffic in one lane while "cutting" the other. This to me is the ultimate dick move. He does not deserve an easy merge.

Also...guy who drives in the left lane ten miles below the speed limit AND does not move over when flashed with brights deserves to be tailgated and eyeballed threateningly once passed. I always hope that that guy can read my lips as I anunciate my afternoon profanity as if for a remedial lip reading  class.

rich5371
rich5371

Best rule of the road, and life in general I know, and try to live by - Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!

Claytonia
Claytonia

Thank you, Jeff--especially for that second item. Pulling a "FIRST!" in the right-hand lane when you're not planning to turn, just to avoid having to get behind one or two other cars in another lane, is a-holery of the most heinous kind.

h_e_x
h_e_x

People driving down the wrong way on Shepard. Happens every night as drunk yuppies pour out of bars and restaurants.

SusanSilver
SusanSilver

What about people who KNOW their exit is coming up, and there is a designated exit lane, yet they will go up the next lane over, to the head of the "line" waiting to exit, and put on their signal, crossing over a solid line, in order to get at the front of the line? Really? (I think of the exit lane from the South Loop 610 going East, exiting to I-45 South).  The rest of us wait in line, and yes, most of us are in just a big of a hurry as you are.

Oralia Rivas
Oralia Rivas

Retired, so don't do freeways any more!! It was a wonderful experience for over 40 yrs driving Houston traffic!!

baboonofaman
baboonofaman

I never turn in right hand lanes. Fk all of y'all!

EmpressAshley
EmpressAshley

My #1 worst type, Road Ragers.

Personal problems projected onto the roadways make any action or inaction by fellow drivers an instigation, opening a can of impotent yet dangerous whoop-ass.

Jeff Reimert
Jeff Reimert

There is no such thing as a fast lane - it's the passing lane. Unless you are PASSING slower moving traffic on the right, you shouldn't be in it. If you fail at that, then at least move over a lane when someone driving faster wants by, no matter if you are going speed limit or not!

Charles Williams
Charles Williams

I cannot stand people who hesitate and take entirely too long to merge into a lane. If its not baby nudges to merge into a lane, its slowing down all traffic into a complete stop until someone let's you into the lane. The sad thing I've notice is that when that driver finally merges, an average of 2+ cars will cut in front of the driver taking their time to merge.

Amanda C Symmank
Amanda C Symmank

My mom was once rear ended so forcefully that her vehicle was pushed onto the barricade dividing the highway. Traffic backed up so in order for me to get to her, I had to use the emergency lane to bypass traffic. Some guy thought I was being a jerk and after I got out of my car and came unglued, he let me pass. So whilst most people trying to use the emergency lane in traffic are just impatient buffoons, occasionally it might be someone trying to get to their loved ones involved in the traffic causing accident up ahead. I realize that this is probably rare. I let those people pass anyway.

Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson

I can't stand people who disregard rules. Every time I exit from I-10 onto Washington/Wescott, I wait in the long line of right hand traffic to turn. There are the idiots who leave gaps and therefore allow the other idiots to fly by and cut in. If this wasn't irritating enough, the majority of the driver think it's acceptable to bypass the right lane all together and turn right from the middle, STRAIGHT ONLY lane. The last thing I want to do after waiting 15 or more minutes is yield to a bunch of impatient assholes illegally turning into traffic.

Alethea Drexler
Alethea Drexler

Exactly, if you try to cut to the front of the line, I won't let you merge. On the other hand, I'll let anyone in who uses a turn signal and tries to merge well ahead of where the lanes converge. If they're polite, I'm polite.

Tony Gutierrez
Tony Gutierrez

the lane changers/tailgaiters are the worst...they want to save 5 minutes at the risk of eternal death for themselves and others around them

Sara Meyn Holder
Sara Meyn Holder

the only time I refuse to let people merge... the 610/45 south exit, by Gulfgate.... The people who ignore the line of people who are doing what they are supposed to do, by going to the very top of the bridge, and hold up a second lane of traffic to merge, because they couldn't get in line at the bottom of the hill. Everyday, at 3p, that line starts building, and the exit signs start 2 miles before the actual exit, so the "I had no idea this was the only exit lane" doesn't work... those drivers have no issue holding up multiple lanes of road to get a better place in line for the exit... just get at the end of the line ass and wait your turn...

ehfl44
ehfl44

What's the different between an elephant and an F-250? The asshole is on the OUTSIDE of the elephant.

badfishs13
badfishs13

Where are the rubberneckers?? Head sticking out the window, sniffing for blood, and operating their camera all at the same time, as they roll past an accident scene in the one open lane at 2.5 MPH!

Ron Kirkland
Ron Kirkland

the texas drift - no need for turn signals, just slowly drift into the lane you want with no consideration of the other drivers, after all . turn signals are for intelligent drivers - lots of stupid drivers in Houston, especially the cops who never use turn signals

Karen Yazzie Wysocki
Karen Yazzie Wysocki

How about those bus drivers who open their stop signs (okay so far), makes everyone stop (okay so far), then keeps the sign open so they can move over three lanes to make a left turn at the intersection (not okay at all)! UGH!

Kristen Guinn Washam
Kristen Guinn Washam

It irritates me when someone decides at the last minute to cut in front of me as I'm approaching a stop light so they can be one car closer and then when the light turns green they drive slower than Christmas.

Sir Snit
Sir Snit

DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION!!!..It's amazing how many morons do this!I've seen cops pulling folks over in front of where I work that do this and most have no idea what they've done!


Neko Antoniou
Neko Antoniou

"Anyone who goes slower than me is an idiot and anyone who goes faster than me is a maniac." ~ Fist Shaking Old Man

rich5371
rich5371

Here's one I haven't seen mentioned yet - the people in front of you on a freeway entrance ramp, such as 59 / 610 / 8 that SLOW down instead of speeding up to merge into the traffic.

theadamkomar
theadamkomar

First, I don't think you were clear on some of these so it gets some of these other people in an uproar. Most of these have some circumstances to them that make you want to stab someone in the eye with a spork.

Most of the people who do these things would be less inclined to do them if the cops actually wrote the tickets they're supposed to write. By a large margin, most of the tickets they write are speeding tickets, but they should be writing tickets for most, if not all, of the things you've listed.  Here's a breakdown:

People who weave in and out of traffic, searching for the fastest lane, could be a number of things: Reckless driving, failure to maintain lane position, unsafe lane change.

People who don't turn right on red from the right on a street with three or more lanes: Not against the law. Nothing you can do. Proceed with dirty looks.

People who ride your bumpers: Tailgaters. Can be written a ticket for "following too close."

Slow drivers in the fast lane: It's a "passing lane." But if you're driving fast enough, you're passing everyone anyway. If you're not passing, get out of the lane. Ticket for, "impeding the flow of traffic."

People who don't pay attention at red lights: Again, "impeding the flow of traffic."

People who whip across multiple lanes of traffic to make their exit or turn: "Unsafe lane change."

Smartphone users: Not against the law unless you're under 18, in a school zone or driving a passenger bus with kids on board. Proceed with dirty looks.

Women who try to apply eye makeup while driving: Or men shaving. Let's be fair. Plenty of distractions. Any distraction could be "reckless driving."

People who don't let others merge: "Impeding the flow of traffic"...  Again.

People who drive down the emergency lane: I've never heard it called the "emergency lane" before, but I guess you're talking about the shoulder. It's illegal to drive on an improved shoulder. The ticket you'd get for that would say, "Driving on an improved shoulder."

Cops writing tickets for these things would help reduce it. Of course, it won't eliminate it because there will always be idiots and jackasses, but it can reduce it.

Stephen Conley
Stephen Conley

People who drive in the right lane on the freeway in heavy traffic with people merging on and exiting off of the freeway but they're just cruising in the right lane, not exiting, just getting in the way and making it harder for people to exit/enter the freeway. Then they'll get in your way, like they don't want you getting on the freeway. That's psychosis, if you ask me.

mern721
mern721

Those that speed up to close a gap you could have fit into as soon as you put your blinker on!

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

And I HATE people who won't let you merge or tap their brakes to let you change lanes. I need to exit, you giant douche!

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

What is the emergency lane? Are you not from the South or something? Do you mean the shoulder? That's not only obnoxious, it's illegal.

Jude Chosnyk
Jude Chosnyk

Yeah, there are some major asshat drivers around Houston and I've lived all over the country. The jerks here are a special kind of combination of mean and stupid. With no sense of self-preservation apparently!

ktk819
ktk819

Also, people that stop 40 feet from the line at a red light, thereby not triggering its sensor.

RedIsNotADrink
RedIsNotADrink

@SusanSilver They have cops now that wait for "cutters". It's funny seeing peeps on the beltway headed south who try & cut in line to get on the 249 ramp- only to get pulled over lol...wait is this thread for inner loopers only? heehee

RedIsNotADrink
RedIsNotADrink

@Oralia Rivas We hate you going down the feeder with your turn signal on the whole time though :p

JimWC
JimWC

@ehfl44 If you can't Dodge it or Ram it...then get in its way, block it and keep it from being able to get around you.

AwesomeMargie
AwesomeMargie

@Kathy Stabe I always secretly wish for so much debris on the shoulder so their car can get it bad.  

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