Texas Really Does Have The Worst Drivers
I've been on a little holiday for the last week, traveling around and seeing what experiences I could stumble across, but in reality, I've learned which state truly has the worst drivers... Texas. It's not without some serious consideration and thought though, I've long contemplated which state I've been to had the worst drivers, but the Lone Star State really earned this award.
I think it's worth mentioning, Texas had some real competition for this title. Kansas and Florida both stand out, but as I reflect on my experiences traveling both of those flat states, it doesn't compare to a left lane cruising Texan. Sure, once you get north of OKC, you start to see a lot of Kansas plates on the highway. A lot of Kansas plates on the highway. It's like the Kansans travel in convoys up I-35 back to their nearly square existence, but since Oklahoma made impeding traffic a fineable offense and started enforcing it, Kansas drivers seem to stick to the right.
Florida drivers when we last drove across coast to coast wasn't nearly as stressful as I figured it'd be, but with all those tourist tax dollars, the highways there seem to be built for the heavy traffic. All the same, if you needed to get over in heavy traffic, Florida drivers seemed pretty chill and made room. Maybe they're just so used to tourists not exactly knowing where they're going and make use of good will. You won't find that in Texas.
Hawaii was a pain, but you can literally cut anybody off at any point in time as long as you through their haka hand signal out the window, it's all good. Colorado is mostly two lane outside of the one major city, and mountain passes are narrow, but it's been my experience that trucks will pull over periodically to let traffic go around them. It was really polite.
Even though you're encouraged to drive friendly because it's supposed to be the Texas way, the Lone Star roads are some of the worst to travel. Especially the two lane highways that stretch out and allow travelers to actually see something worth seeing, the Texas landscapes outside the major concrete jungles along the main roads. Even on the bigger four lanes like 287, if a Texan decides to drive under the speed limit in the left lane (called the passing lane in most states) well, they're going to. You can have all the patience in the world behind them, even crowd a Texas driver a bit, and you'll still be forces to pass in the right hand lane. It's a signature trait that not only lives in the old republic, they spread this tendency like a virus to good driving states like Oklahoma.
I was just getting on the turnpike from OKC yesterday when some Texas plated minivan came screaming past me doing a time-traveling 88mph or so. I didn't think anything of it. I've lived in big cities, I grew out of being the fastest a long time ago. No harm no foul, I didn't give it another thought. As I got a little South though, just passing the Tuttle/Norman spur, I noticed I had somehow caught up to that Texan van just doing my normal 78mph. He was still ahead of me quite some ways. That first toll booth there South of the spur has an old second generation pikepass lane... you know, where you exit the highway around the toll booth at the regular highway speed of 75mph... As I entered the pikepass ramp, I had to stand on my brakes to avoid that Texas driver when he decided 35mph was what 75mph meant. Still, no harm, no foul. I just encountered another "can't drive" Texan in the wild. I passed him after merging back onto the turnpike and went along my way jamming my Limp Bizkit.
By the time I made it to the turnpike McD's, that van remembered they had to represent Tejas and came screaming around me again. I got a chuckle from it. I did notice a rear passenger area full of kids, it really made me appreciate the quiet nu-metal I was getting my driving zen on with. Along through the Chickasha exits and finally felt like I was coming back into home sweet Southwest Oklahoma.
If you've traveled the turnpike in the last few years, you already know they built a new toll booth area South of Chickasha that is proper. Pikepass holders stay the course straight through, payers have to exit. As most states have reciprocity agreements for their respected pikepass type stickers, I once again came driving up behind that Texas minivan at the toll booth. You can kind of understand how that North booth can give you a little aggravation, it's poorly designed... but this new booth is a model of how they should all be built. Still, I end up smoking past this van through the pikepass lane. At this point, instead of annoyed by the lack of driving skill of this smooth-brained Texan, I'm actually becoming sort of impressed. He's doing everything wrong, going way faster than I, yet we're still making the same time down the road. It's astonishing.
It was somewhere around the Cyril exit that I last saw that very special Texan. I assume he either made it where he was going, or perhaps he's still sitting on the shoulder at the Walters exit trying to figure that toll booth out. Either way, it's a good thing he'll eventually make it back to the worst driving state in this part of the country.