Best Reason To Ride SunTran

STAFF PICK: Tucson drivers are known throughout the world for their unparalleled surliness, incompetence, rage, confusion, and inability to comprehend even the simplest traffic rule. Left turns from the right lane, obsessive tailgating, illegal U-turns, inexplicable stops, a genetic desire to immolate pedestrians--all these and more comprise the typical habits of the average motorist, for whom the concept of "traffic lanes" remains, at best, an irrelevant abstraction. Rare indeed is the week without at least one Tucsonan driving his car into a storefront, an arroyo, a police car, or somebody's living room. It's considered a sign of ill-breeding to drive less than 15 miles over the speed limit, except, of course, when approaching turns, when it is customary to go as slow as possible while still maintaining forward momentum. Four-way stops become a supreme test of stubbornness, machismo, and low animal cunning; to give ground, even for a moment, is interpreted as a sign of weakness.

To witness truly breathtaking stupidity, however, one must wait until the weather turns inclement. Tucsonans unfailingly understand the phenomena of falling rain and blowing dust as signals from the Almighty to "drive much faster than usual." (Long-time residents have calibrated the average mean time between the first drop of rain and the first ambulance siren as 3.29 minutes.) Many particularly "challenged" residents, having somehow survived their teenage years, make a yearly ritual out of recklessly plunging their trucks into flooded underpasses, after which they stand open-mouthed around their stalled vehicles while newspaper photographers and TV reporters gather like vultures for the annual spectacle.

In order to accelerate the process of natural selection, as well as provide a sporting outlet for stressed urban residents, city planners have devised various "suicide" lanes, which prohibit left turns during rush hour. While it is no longer strictly legal to run into left-turn outlaws (another legacy of our bleeding-heart City Council), there are fewer things more cathartic for Tucson residents than shrieking obscene imprecations at bewildered motorists, particularly if they're from out of state, elderly or obviously requiring medical attention. Tickets, please.

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