This is not the Autobahn

Erica Guth reminds us all how crappy us Montreal drivers are

Like most students, I am a Montreal driver. Every day I have to deal with the other merciless drivers who seem hell bent on running down anyone who gets in their way, trying to coax my beat up old car to start in -30 degree weather and avoiding the seemingly suicidal pedestrians. Ah, insurance rates.

Every time someone wants to get from point A to point B in Montreal they risk either a horrid traffic jam or high-speed accident, at least we’re not in Ontario. I’ve noticed that Montrealers actually make a point of avoiding cars with Ontario plates because it’s understood that they’ll be going much too slow. That is also the case with minivans. I think they should simply ban minivans from the fast lane.

Then there’s traffic jams. If you try and rush anywhere between the hours of 7-10 a.m. or 2-7 p.m., forget about it. There are simply too many cars for our undersized, decrepit roads and no one is paying attention. You have to be vigilant every second of the drive, and expect to be cut off. Hell, you should cut people off first!

That’s just on the highway. The one word that haunts every downtown driver’s dreams is cyclists. I think they actually believe they’re cars. They seem to enjoy veering into our lanes, despite the fact that they usually have some sort of bike path to follow. Sometimes they appear from behind a line of parked cars, causing the driver to slam on their brakes and narrowly avoid getting “rear-ended.”

Then there’s the cyclist’s cousin, the pedestrian. They seem much more harmless, as they’re at the bottom of the circulation food chain. Then you try to turn a corner and realize that there is literally a never ending stream of them, and they could really care less whether it’s their turn to cross or not. Then when they run in front of your car, you have to stop, because no matter how much of an annoying prick they’re being and how much danger they’re putting you in, you can’t kill them. They’re rarely worth the jail time.

When you finally do get to your destination, hands icily gripped to the steering wheel as you try to avoid the impending mental breakdown, you have to find parking.

After circling the block for about 20 minutes, you have a single moment of joy where you actually find a vacant spot much to small for your car. You squeeze yourself in and get out of the car, filled with happiness, until you see it; the parking meter. You scramble to find six bucks (for two hours worth of parking? Are you freakin’ kidding?) under the seats of your car and slide it in the machine, silently hating the little slip that prints out and announces that, in fact, you’ll need to empty your pockets again much too soon.

Why do we even bother to drive? Oh that’s right, because the STM sucks just as bad as driving does, and on top of that, you have to deal with smelly people, buses that don’t show up and ridiculous fares. Even though driving in Montreal is highly dangerous and there’s a great chance all your exits will be closed because of construction, it’s still better than our transit system. Sad, isn’t it?


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