They're rude, inconsiderate, selfish, bullies. They're road warriors, or just plain stupid people living in a world of their own. They flaunt the laws, making driving dangerous for the rest of us. They cause accidents and death. And, they are unrepentant in their self-serving approach to get from point A to point B.
Most of us have our pet peeves about bad drivers. East County folks talked about the things that scare or annoy them on the roads. Driving with distractions heads the list. The other obvious ones all are there, but there were some different individual complaints that also showed up.
"The worst are the people who try to beat the yellow light at a crossing," said Kim Schorr of Antioch. "They try to outrace the light without caring whether or not they actually beat it. Women and men are equally at fault. My other complaint is about people tailgating, trying to make you go faster. My reaction is to slow down."
Aric Pratt of Oakley said slow drivers can be as dangerous as fast drivers. "I get bugged by people who drive under the posted speed on a road where there is no way to get around them," he said. "The other thing I hate is driving at night and the car behind you has its bright lights turned on. Also, if you drive, you should know the rules of right of way."
Audra Wouters of Bethel Island complained about driving in mountains. "Why do people slow down when climbing a grade? It's very annoying," she said. "On the freeways there are those who cause accidents by waiting until the last second to get into an exit lane. That results in a stack up of cars behind them. Also, I dislike people who insist on driving slow in the fast lane."
Oakley's Lara Geltz talked about turn signals. "Some people change lanes or exit the freeway without using them. Safe driving is knowing what other cars are planning to do," she said. "People who eat while driving are not very smart. I once saw a woman chomping on a huge turkey drumstick with scarcely one eye on the road."
Rosanne Gach of Brentwood picked horns and makeup to identify bad drivers. "I've seen women using makeup and talking on the phone at the same time," she said. "Any distraction is dangerous. I've seen rear-enders on 580 caused by a distracted driver. Then there are the rude people in a hurry trying to move you with constant horn honking."
Speed and motorcycles head the complaints for Roger Thompson of Antioch. "On the freeways going 10 miles over the limit now is standard," he said. "That's dangerous. But even more dangerous are the motorcycle riders who think they own the road. They weave in an out of traffic lanes without signaling."
Everette Diest of Pittsburg questions the need for drivers to be entertained while driving. "Dangerous situations can be caused by people fussing with their car radios or CDs," he said. "My other complaint is about drivers who speed on city streets. It makes no sense to be doing 50 in a 25-mile zone, cutting off other drivers just to save a few seconds."
Antioch's Cathy Perry talked about cell phones and texting plus a few other things. "Driving too slowly can cause accidents," she said. "Sometimes that's what causes tailgating. Tailgaters are angry people rudely trying to push for faster speeds. Both the slow drivers and the tailgaters are bad drivers."
Brentwood's Audrey Hicks has a different perspective. She's never been a driver. "My main concern is about cars that don't pay attention to people in a crosswalk. They don't understand that their speeding and horn honking is uncivilized."
Ed Arnow can be reached at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.