Continuing with the trend of making American versions of British TV shows, word comes that the BBC’s hit show, “Britain’s Worst Driver” will be remade for the colonies in a show called, “The Streets of America: The Search for America’s Worst Driver,” and it’s destined for Travel Channel. Now I’m sure the producers of this show have a nice methodical plan, and they know how they’re going to go about looking for the baboon that will “win” … but just in case, I can tell them where to start looking. If you really want to narrow down your search, there’s really only one state to look in.
Yes, Hawaii, our 50th state, the one with all the aloha and bikinis and what not. No two ways about it, people in Hawaii have got to be the worst drivers I’ve seen in America.
Now, a case can be made for Florida. I had a friend when I was living in Hawaii, Matt, who was born and raised in Miami. He said that Hawaiians were actually better than Floridians behind the wheel. I have only driven through Florida, not lived there, so I suppose I should defer to Matt’s expertise. And Lord knows that I’ve seen some bad moves on the highways and byways of the Sunshine State, and I’ve heard some terrible tales. I’ve read about people who got pulled over for watching the flat screen TV they mounted in the driver’s side sun visor. They were driving OK, there was no accident involved, which is amazing, it’s just that the cop noticed them and THEN pulled them over.
And sure, there’s a lot of noise about drivers in New York or Massachusetts, or most drivers from New England for that matter, but I’ve found them to be rude and pushy, but not necessarily bad drivers. After all, being as rude and pushy as they are, if they were bad drivers, you’d see many more accidents in places like New York or Massachusetts, and, surprisingly, you don’t.
Now Hawaii …
I’m not sure what it was, exactly, whether it was the movie set views, the “spirit of aloha”, all the tourists, or what, but the sad fact of the matter is that people in Hawaii just can’t drive all that well. Now, let me just get something straight, I don’t mean NATIVE Hawaiians. They seem to be no better or worse than the hoales, hapas or all the rest. Everyone in that state is to be dealt with boatloads of caution.
For example, I was driving into town one day, cruising down the H1 at 65 or so. Beautiful, clear day, about 11.30 in the morning. It was just after Pearl, where the highway is 5 or 6 lanes wide, and the traffic was very light, only 4 cars.
To my right, about 100 yards in front of me was a woman in a new, gray Jetta. About a quarter mile in front of her and one lane over was an ol’kine pickup. And about half a mile up and in the far left was some sort of SUV. That was it, four cars as far as I could see.
The gal in the Jetta, puts on her left blinker (a rarity, in and of itself) and moves one lane to the left. Then, with the blinker still on, she violently swerves all the way to the far left lane. Off goes the blinker, she’s fine, straight and narrow, for about 200 yards, and then without warning, makes a 90-degree right hand turn without slowing down and t-bones the right hand Jersey barrier.
There was nothing on the road surface, no oil, it had not just rained or anything. It was as if she had said, “Screw it!”, and yanked the wheel hard right just to see what would happen.
And I would see people do stuff like that on a weekly basis.
I saw people driving down the freeway with the driver’s door open – I don’t mean ajar, I mean hanging open by a foot and a half. I saw people hauling TV cabinets the size of refrigerators in Miatas, and doing so just flat out booking. I’ve seen people driving on three wheels and a break disc, sparks flying all over the night sky, and no one around them so much as batting an eye.
And that’s just the stuff I’ve seen in one week.
Spend any amount of time there, and it becomes painfully clear that people in Hawaii just don’t drive very well.
Photo from Flickr user