I’m constantly amazed at how few moves (or cars) ahead that most drivers think. Over and over again I see drivers shouting at the bumper in front of them as if the preceding car is the source of all their traffic troubles. You may think that this is just diffuse anger and the driver deep-down knows that it’s not the car in front of them, but you’d be wrong.
I witnessed this in spectacular fashion while I was out on a run along Pelham Parkway when I lived in the Bronx. It was a stretch of the road with two-lanes and clear visibility. Up ahead, a car was disabled in the right lane. If I’m remembering the setup correctly, three cars were approaching, two were side-by-side and one was behind. The two that were side-by-side started to slow down, forcing the guy behind to slow down as well. He didn’t like that, and got all aggressive. The two that were side-by-side managed to finally move over to the left-lane in order to pass the disabled vehicle. But, the guy behind who’d gotten all aggressive had apparently not realized that the slow down was due to a car disable in the right lane. So as the car in front of him moved over, he was moving fast due to his aggressive driving and had to lock up the brakes to barely avoid hitting the disabled car. He had to be going 45 or something, and it was a pretty impressive lock-up. It was the worlds most avoidable accident which, fortunately, was avoided. But damn, what an idiot.
Something similar happened to me today while at the parking lot of my son’s preschool. I backed out of my parking spot, and another car two spots up also started backing out just after me. Were I an aggressive jerk, I would have just proceeded to go and then blocked the other car from backing out and maybe gotten hit because he wouldn’t have seen me. But obviously I waited. However, some intense Lexus driving women driving into the parking lot, decided to just keep going and not let either of us finish pulling out. This was stupid, because it essentially blocked all three of us in. She honked her horn in disgust, of a situation she caused!
I remember hearing that race car drivers watch six cars ahead and it seems like an obvious goal to aspire to, but sadly, I think that most drivers can’t think past the car in front of them.