I've often thought 'idiot driver of the week' would make a cool feature. Show pictures of people doing egregiously stupid things on our roads, maybe having them see themselves in the paper or on the Internet, perhaps causing them to mend their ways.
Then I thought - well, if I'm taking the pictures, presumably while I'M driving, I'd be on my own list.
So I'll have to rely on verbal descriptions.
Among this week's candidates: a woman driving a gray previous-generation Dodge Caravan on the eastbound 401 near Mavis Road last Sunday afternoon - text-messaging.
Not merely phoning - text-messaging. On the highway. At maybe a buck-twenty.
How could I tell she was texting and not phoning? Wouldn't making that determination again mean I wasn't paying due attention my own self?
Mea non culpa.
It was my passenger, my lead guitar player Rockin' Robin (we were on our way to a gig!) who counted way too many finger pokes for it to be a telephone number.
Now, I am no good at guessing ages. And doing so for women is a mug's game at any time. But this was no teenager who maybe didn't know any better. We figured maybe late-'20s, early-'30s. Given she was driving a minivan, we would presume she was a Mom, although we did not see any kids in the van with her.
But Mom - don't you think those kids of yours would love it if you were alive for their high-school graduation? At what point does a conscious decision to text-message at highway speeds make any sense whatsoever?
Idiot Number Two this week would have been the driver of a black Acura MDX, southbound on Yonge Street south of Steeles who ran a red light late Monday afternoon.
No; didn't run it - absolutely creamed it.
I can't say for certain whether it was a man or a woman at the wheel; it looked like a guy from what I could see of the back of the vehicle as it rocketed past me, but these days it can be hard to tell.
The MDX was at least six or seven car lengths behind me when the light turned amber. I had plenty of time to stop, without even worrying unduly about the white BMW 3-Series which was marginally tailgating me at the time - he stopped with no apparent ABS activation or tire-screeching too.
But the black Acura just sailed on through, the light clearly having turned red when it was at least two car lengths from the intersection.
Now, these are just incidents I have personally witnessed.
The two young men involved in the street racing crash a couple of days ago on the DVP that left two dead would certainly be on the list.
The investigation into that bizarre situation in Kingston where three teen-aged girls and their aunt were found dead in their car in the Rideau Canal has not yet determined if that was a traffic incident or not. One news outlet has speculated that one of the young women was practising her driving even if she did not yet have a licence.
Perhaps it is not right to speak ill of the dead at a time of family tragedy like this.
But that's the one thing text-messagers and red-light runners obviously do not think about - those left behind if they do cause a fatal crash.
I know from all-too-personal experience that the effects of fatalities like these linger for decades, for generations. In my own family's case, sixty-five years and counting.
Never mind the truck driver who ran over my would-have-been sister (it happened before I was born). It wasn't even his fault, but geez - he killed a five-year old kid. How did that affect the rest of his life, and that of his family?
The headlines last for a day. You can look it up on the Internet for a few weeks afterwards.
But the victims are gone forever.
The worst thing about rotten driving is that most of the time, we get away with it.
The text-messaging minivan driver didn't kill anybody, as far as we saw, and presumably got home safely. (That message couldn't wait five minutes?)
That red-light running Acura owner didn't tee-bone anybody - this time - and presumably got home OK too. (Was the twenty seconds gained really worth the risk? He was only a couple of car lengths ahead of me two stoplights further down the road.)
I just don't understand.