Culture

3 Washington D.C. Drivers Who Deserve Dante's Inferno

fire-balefire-hell

Maybe you take two spots up front near the Best Buy. Or refuse to cede the left lane. Or tailgate, then slow down when we get out of your way.

You, sir, are a terrible driver. And for that, you’re going straight to Hell. We’re not guessing here, we’re just taking the word of every driver in a mile-wide radius around you at any given moment.

Your day of reckoning is coming, but unfortunately for the rest of the netherworld, you’re probably still going to qualify for a driver’s license down there. (Hell is apparently a lot like Florida, minus the wacky elections.) But what are you going to drive? It’d take forever to get your current wheels past their crazy-strict emissions tests.

No need. Hell has its own fleet of cars, and you get one assigned to you. Because it’s Hell, they’re matched to your particular driving sins here on earth. So don’t act surprised when you cross the river Styx, only to see one of these fresh horrors parked in your reserved spot.

This is the introduction to a great article, “The Nine Cars You’ll Drive in Hell,” published by Motor Authority.

After reading, laughing, and shaking my head “yes” to most of the article, I knew I had to explain Washington D.C.’s own, special circle in “car hell.” D.C. is notorious for its bad drivers.  The natives are aggressive, the visitors clueless and unprepared, and the roads are always under construction. It’s a bad mix. If there are nine cars that are driven in Hell, then there is definitely a special circle reserved for some of D.C.’s worst drivers–and their stereotypical vehicle-weapon of choice.  Here’s the short guide…

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Avoid this car in this shade of green.

1. The Pastel-colored Toyota Camry

I guess you could say the Toyota Camry is an American favorite—aka we buy them by the droves. The Camry is a solid sedan—and tends to be driven by friendly, but clueless, D.C. visitors. What you don’t know is that the Toyota Camry is actually a Transformer that morphs into a Formula 1 car.  I know!  You didn’t know either, right?

The beige, soft green, or light blue Camrys tend to be the best-cloaked hot-rods. Their soft, exterior hues reflect the soft-souls at the wheel, usually vacationing, middle-aged women. Unfortunately, these women morph into Mario Andretti-s once they enter D.C. and become extremely aggressive on the roadways.  They’re zipping around cars, braking, and trying to switch lanes at the speed of lightening–all in rush hour. Good luck.

When there is room to move, these ladies do an about face and drive a few miles per hour under the speed limit, but don’t even think about passing them! They will speed up as soon as you try, because, duh, their Camry is the epitome of speed and there is no way you will out maneuver them. It’s a constant battle with the Camry, trying to subtly indicate that it is not Speed Racer and that it shouldn’t try and race your car through the tunnel—especially when they don’t even know where they are going.  Whenever I see a Camry on the road, I try and maneuver to be either three car lengths behind (someone else can slam into its frequent, braking bumper) or two lanes over. No blinker can prepare you for their knee jerk movements and lane diving when they panic in rush hour. These Camrys tend to get the most horn.

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2. The BMW 3-series driver

The New York Times reports that our pals at Berkeley have confirmed what most D.C. drivers already know: BMW drivers are some of the worst on the road. The Berkeley study says that fancy cars were less likely to wait/stop for street-crossing pedestrians—and that BMWs were the worst offenders. I guess I’m not too surprised.

D.C. is crawling with BMWs—and most seem to be 3-series. That is, 3-series that tend to drive 45 mph the distance of one block—only to slam on their brakes at a stop sign. These annoying-mobiles are typically driven by mid-30s males with Ray-ban shades and a half-unbuttoned oxford shirt (in light blue or pink).  Their cars come already-tuned to blast Ray-J or Bruno Mars and have an easily-deploy-able middle finger.  When entering freeways, these 3-series drivers like to pretend that you don’t exist and see how far you’ll go in a game of chicken with the concrete divider.  These cars tend to give the most horn–to other cars, pedestrians, squirrels, and even plastic bags floating on the freeway.

Lexus RX330 - c2005

3. The Lexus RX 330

Beware of the SUVs — but especially the Lexus RX 330.  This truck is usually piloted by a young female, usually going to school at one of the local universities, who was fortunate enough to get her paws on the family SUV for the semester.

She’s texting.  She’s leading a dance party of girlfriends while she drives.  She’s reapplying her lip gloss in case she runs into Chaaaad from Psychology 101. In short, she’s not paying attention — so you better hope the car has technology that allows it to brake and swerve itself.  Get off the sidewalks and don’t even attempt to cross the road (EVEN if you have a “walk” sign). If you’re driving, try and get around the pack of girls ASAP and do not look back.

I’m sure she’ll end up drag racing Beemer Dude in the innermost circle while aggressive Pastel-Toyota blocks the track.  I hope they enjoy themselves — D.C. won’t miss them.