The 7 Types Of Louisiana Drivers
I’ve lived in Louisiana for a little over a year now, and I’ve learned a few things. First, it’s a weird state - and I mean that in a good way. Everything is just a little off center here, a little skewed and slanted to this side or that, and it’s just not like anywhere else. Being a weirdo myself, I love living here.
Everything about the Bayou State is fantastic, except for one teensy little enormous problem: Louisiana drivers.
I don’t know if it’s pollution in the air or chemicals in the water, but something about this state brings out the crazy in people whenever they get behind the wheel. Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about. I’m sure you’ll recognize at least one of them.
Left Turns Must Yield On Green, Unless You're This Guy
You know the type: impatient, aggressive drivers who think waiting at intersections is something that happens to other people. They’re Louisiana’s version of an Old West gunfighter, quick on the draw and pretty deadly to anyone who gets in their way.
As soon as the light turns green - but way before the little protected turn arrow lights up - these guys hit the gas and zoom right into their turn, oncoming traffic be damned.
When you’re driving in Louisiana, it pays to just let these guys win. If you’re sitting at a red light across from some dude in a jacked up truck with tinted winders and more than a few dents in the hood, just wait. He’s gonna go for it. Every time.
While I’m on the subject of stoplights, I can’t pass up mentioning these people. You see them every day, at nearly every intersection you come to: the inchers.
I don’t know why they do it, but they can’t just sit and wait for the light to turn green. For whatever reason, I guess they just need to feel involved in the process, so they slowly let off the brake to gradually move forward a little bit at a time. Inch by inch, they creep up on the red light as if trying to intimidate it into submission.
They’re not particularly dangerous drivers, and not even all that annoying. Still, they’re worth mentioning because I can’t think of a single time I’ve been sitting at an intersection in this state, where I'm not watching these people desperately try to exert some level of control over the situation by strong-arming the stoplight.
It’s kind of funny, when you stop to think about it. In a sad, kind of pathetic sort of way.
The Speed Demon
You can find this person in every state, but here in Louisiana, they tend to be the rule rather than the exception. In a state where everyone seems to take it slow whenever they’re outside the car, from waitresses that move with all the speed of a sedated three-toed sloth to convenience store cashiers who clearly exist in an alternate dimension where time moves exponentially slower for them than it does for everyone else, nobody in Louisiana is ever in a hurry.
Except when they’re driving.
What is it about Louisiana drivers that transforms them from laid back, easy-going people outside the car, and turns them into speed crazed, swivel-eyed lunatics inside the car? I have no idea, but it’s a real and scientifically documented phenomenon that scientists have proven with science.
At least, I’m pretty sure they have. It seems like something that’d be pretty easy to get a grant for anyway, and a lot more useful to the public good than spending millions of dollars to figure out how slow ketchup drips down a paper plate.
These are the people who tailgate anyone going less than 25MPH over the speed limit, and they’re a menace on the road. Still, it’s pretty satisfying to pull up next to them at the same red light after they angrily sped past to hurry up and start waiting before you.
So there’s that.
The Inebriated Badass
These people are nothing to joke about, and anyone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after they’ve been drinking is a danger both to themselves and every other person on the road. Unfortunately, they’re always on the road - and, this being Louisiana, it’s not mostly just at night and on the weekends, either. We have drunk drivers cruising the streets at all hours of the day, from first thing in the morning, to pulling away from a drive-thru daiquiri window at lunchtime.
The worst kind of drunk drivers are the people who feel empowered by the liquid courage they’ve just sucked down. They speed faster, weave in and out of traffic more often, tailgate everyone, and generally zoom down the highway as if they’re immortal demigods, untouchable on the road by the laws of both God and man.
They’re the worst. Literally, the worst.
They're also deeply stupid. The time to drive like a madman isn't when you've been drinking, and not just for the obvious reason of having your senses and reaction time impaired. I know it's asking a lot of people who think driving drunk is ever a good idea, but would it hurt them to use their brain for just a second?
The penalty for being pulled over while driving drunk is pretty severe, so why call attention to the fact that you're three sheets to the wind and your liver is slowly being pickled next to your spleen? (Or wherever the liver is. I don't know, I'm not a doctor.)
Slow down. Drive smarter. Or don't, and go ahead and get hauled off to jail. Either way, you'll be doing everyone a favor.
The Inebriated Paranoid
Being the type of straightedge goody-goody the other kids used to make fun of in high school, I’m not sure whether this type of driver has been drinking or…doing something else. I’m doing good to take an aspirin whenever I get a headache, so the wonderful world of controlled substances is something well outside my scope of experience, but I’ve watched a lot of movies and stuff.
Unless pop culture has been lying to me for years, people who smoke certain herbal remedies sometimes get super paranoid about one or two everythings, which turns them into the kind of inebriated motorist that’s pretty much the exact opposite of The Inebriated Badass, except for the whole inebriated part. Obviously.
This person will drive at least 25MPH under the speed limit, with their hands vice-locked at 10-and-2 on their steering wheels while bouncing their eyes back and forth between their side mirrors and the rearview like some kind of terrified woodland creature scanning for predators.
If a police officer is anywhere nearby - especially if they’re directly in front of or behind them - then their paranoia kicks into overdrive, and you’d probably get to wherever you’re going faster by just getting out and walking while they slow to even more of a crawl as they sweat bullets and pray to whatever gods they believe in that they don’t get pulled over.
They should totally get pulled over.
Little Miss Can’t Park
Okay, this one isn’t limited to gender; I just think saying Little Miss Can’t Park is funnier than writing Prince of the Parking Lot - but I’m going to talk about both right quick.
I have to park next to one of these people every single day, and it’s a nightmare. The young lady who uses the parking space next to mine just can’t park. Period. Like, at all.
She’s always over the line, slanted in her space, and generally looks like she pulled into it with her eyes closed while car-dancing to whatever Taylor Swift song is popular with the kids these days.
I’ve had to completely back out of my space so my wife and kid could even have a chance of opening their doors so often that I’ve lost count. It’s like she doesn’t understand how the big yellow lines work, or just doesn’t care. Either way, it gets on my nerves. A lot.
On the other side of the parking coin, we have the dudebros and alpha males who park like jerks on purpose. Because they’re jerks.
Whether they think they’re protecting their car from dings and scratches by parking across three spaces, or if it's because they’re just so self-important that they feel taking up half the parking lot with their vehicle is their birthright, the end result is always the same: they ruin everything for the rest of us.
And don't even get me started on parallel parking, which is apparently an ancient art lost in the mists of time to these people.
Before I move on to the last type of Louisiana driver, I’d be remiss is I didn’t mention the bad parking runner-up:Louisiana cops.
Don’t get me wrong - I appreciate all the hard work the brave men and women of law enforcement do (and please don’t pull me over when you see me on the road later today or whenever okay pretty please and thank you), but they’re pretty much the worst parkers ever.
Something about the official nature of their vehicles seems to grants cops the apparent right to just speed whenever they want, and park their cars however and wherever they feel like - even if it’s just down at the Sonic to grab a quick burger. You’ll see them parked by a fire hydrant while they run in to grab their dry cleaning or whatever, or idling in a No Parking zone while they conduct official business inside the Gas-N-Go.
We’re all supposed to follow the rules, kids. It’s kind of the whole point of having all those laws you're out there enforcing.
All of the Above, Or: College Students
I live near a state university, which means I’m surrounded by college kids more interested in partying than studying, which makes sense if I’m remembering my college years correctly. Still, what didn’t bother me way back then when I was doing it sure does annoy the heck out of me today when they're doing it.
Maybe it’s because they’ve only been driving for, like, five minutes or whatever, but they don’t know how to do anything on the road. Of course, they think they’re excellent drivers because of course they do. They’re young and full of hormones and probably beer or whatever, and the world pretty much belongs to them. In their own minds, anyway.
They drink all the time, they speed all the time, they’re always impatient and in a hurry to get to wherever it is they’re going, and they park like drugged lab rats that have pushed that little reward lever one too many times. And they show no signs of improvement whatsoever.
If you try to ask them to park a little better, they’ll start parking worse. Somehow. If you ask them to keep it down when they’re partying at midnight on a random Wednesday, they’ll turn their Taylor Swift or whatever up to 11 and start making “Woooooo!” noises until you want to jam a Q-tip a lot farther into your ear than any doctor would ever recommend.
And that's not even going into how their phones are permanently attached to their hands as they weave in and out of traffic while their fingers blur across their screens in a delicate ballet of emojis and text messages.