Assholes at the Wheel...
Not ten minutes go by in my daily commute in New York City
where some shit-head doesn't manage to be rude, obnoxious, abusive, overly aggressive or
dangerously inattentive. Driving in this city has turned from a mere challenge into
a garish video game with real and deadly consequences. The following is a diary of
just some of the encounters with people who close their car door and turn from mild-
mannered Clark Kent into SuperAsshole, Emperor Anus. And there will be no pulling
punches here. Vehicle makes and models and license plates will be mentioned
and drivers and passengers described whenever possible. If you can afford to be
an asshole, you can afford to have your identity plastered on the Internet for all to see.
Click on the camera icon to see pictures when available.
||Asshole wannabe - still in diapers
||Asshole in training - learning to pucker
||Asshole graduate - vicious young pucker
||King of Assholes - treacherous old pucker
||SuperAsshole!!! - tightest sphincter of them all
||Special "Maximum Pucker" award for gross
negligence at the wheel
||Special "Weeping Hemorrhoid" award for blatant
disregard for the law
||Special "Crunchy Dingleberry" award for
remarkably shameless foolishness
||Special "Distended Sphincter" award for
specifically offensive behaviour
in reverse chronological order
June 7, 2008
|Has it REALLY been three years since I updated this page?
It wasn't for a lack of assholes, for sure, but I've been distracted, as
usual. Today however I return to you with something special.
On my motorcycle approaching a side-street intersection in Rego Park with
4-way stop signs, I stop to let the car that got there first proceed.
Assuming that the car behind that one would stop like he's supposed to and
allow me through, I start to go ahead, except that second car - a Chevy
Impala bearing NY registration AMD-1823 - races through the stop sign
practically glued to the rear bumper of the first car, requiring me to stop
short. Then he tailgates the first car all the way down the block,
honking his horn repeatedly, steering erratically and generally acting like
a poster-boy for aggressive driving. Justifiably peeved, I pull along side him at
a red light (lots of good all that tailgating and honking did) and ask
"Excuse me sir, why did you run through the stop sign?". He responds
belligerently "Was I talkin' to you?!" We go back and forth like this
a few more times and finally he responds defiantly as the light turns green,
"Because I can!", and he drives off. Yes, I know, I know, you're
saying this is just a typical New Yorker. But wait, here's the really
This clown has an FDNY (UFA) permit # 5646
his windshield with another placard featuring the logos of NYC Engine 8 Ladder 2,
Battalion 8. That's right - the New York City Fire Department - he's
one of New York City's Bravest! Here is a man whose job in
public safety is to SAVE lives, and he's driving his personal vehicle
like a maniac and ENDANGERING lives instead. Nice work,
ASSHOLE. Oh, and five parking summonses in a month? Get a grip.
Did you really think Traffic Enforcement cares about all the cards or the NJSP sticker in your windshield? Do you really think they entitle you
to abuse the rights of everyone around you just because you're in a hurry or
because you're aggravated over the parking ticket you got six hours ago?
And do you really think "professional courtesy" will help anyone when your
driving gets someone hurt? You sir, for your unmitigated arrogance and
for your assumption of authority that you do not in fact possess, are a
disgrace to your uniform.
January 18, 2005
|Happy New Year! Today the driver of a Cadillac with NY
registration CYM-1320 earns not one but TWO distended sphincters and bunch
of puckers. In the predictable stop'n'go of Queens' "Boulevard of
Death" westbound service lane, this rude fool just couldn't stand the
thought of letting me get in front of him at a lane merge, where everyone
else was happily and courteously alternating access. Naturally I
stayed my ground, but he wasn't happy until regaining his "rightful" place
in front of me, cutting off yet another motorist in the process. Then
he stopped in front of me, got out of his car and approached me, and
informed me that "[I] could get hurt" by taking pictures of assholes like
himself. Thanks for the advice, buddy! How often do you beat
your wife? That's a pretty frightened look on her face in the first
June 11, 2004
|It's not like the year has lacked road-bound assholes, I've
just been distracted. But this obnoxious bitch from New Jersey in a
Mercedes heading southbound on the Palisades Parkway must have been in some
hurry, tailgating me with about five feet to spare at speeds that were
already more than sufficiently super-legal. The most interesting part
of this is that she's been performing this stunt for at least two miles, and
yapping on her cell phone the entire time. Tailgaters are a dime a
dozen, but I grant this one an extra sphincter for flaunting New York
State's handheld cell phone laws while simultaneously violating at least
three other parts of the NYSVTL.
June 27, 2003
|I just don't learn. I foolishly used my signal for a
lane change and sure enough, some twit in a Jeep (NY registration V48-9PH) tried
gassing it to close the gap. Naturally I maintained my ground and
this got him quite excited (see the first two photos). I'm not sure
how much time he thought he would save by cutting me off, given the
whopping 45 minute delay crossing the Queensboro Bridge, but the moron was
fighting for position in the slow lane. He figured this out
after a few minutes, changed lanes three more times, also getting out of
his Jeep briefly to menace me and threaten me over the photographs (second
two photos), and he actually managed to save himself about forty-five
seconds by the time we reached the bridge exit. By the way, notice
that NYPD sticker in his windshield. Either he's yet another NYC cop
who's gotten way too full of himself, or has gotten too full of himself
because he happens to know a cop. What a shame to disgrace the
shield like that. Congrats either way, he gets a crunchy dingleberry
for fighting over a lane he didn't even belong in.
May 22, 2003
|Has it REALLY been three years since I updated this
page?! Oh well, I'm breaking in a new Canon EOS 10D digicam on
today's asshole, who was driving a
Ford F350 pickup belonging to the NYC Police Department's "Special
Projects" division (registration 3150). He pulled up behind us at 10am while my
wife was driving, and started blipping his siren impatiently while we were stopped at a
traffic light, nowhere to go. After this shameless intimidation and
abuse of power, as well as outright defiance of NY State Vehicle and
Traffic Law, local ordinances and EPA noise pollution regulations, the light turned
green and we pulled aside to let this little piggie go by. As you can see by the
pictures, this particular asshole was in a great hurry to attend an
emergency chat with his buddies who were taking a break from the
life-saving task of erecting a police booth, while casually leaving his
truck blocking one of the busiest crosswalks in Queens. For his
sadly unsurprising abuse of authority, this asshole earns five puckers and
is awarded a weeping 'roid.
March 29, 2000
|The pensive look on this asshole's face doesn't seem to
overshadow his stark reminder to me that in New York City, signalling a
lane change is a sign of weakness. This driver of a red GMC Sierra
(NY reg QWH-299) quickly cut me off on West 36th Street and fought to
prevent my lane change for at least 500'. It wouldn't have cost this
asshole a solitary second of course, since my next move would be a turn
out of his way entirely. But hey, that's why we call them ASSHOLES!
March 10, 2000
|Proving once again that New York City does not have
exclusive rights to Assholes, this fellow from Massachussetts also reminds
us why "dealer demo" cars aren't necessarily great
bargains. While darting from lane to lane, tailgating and flashing
high-beams at everyone, jackrabbiting from light to light, this asshole
couldn't even make good enough time to keep me from snapping a photo from in
front of him after watching his reckless behavior for three miles of Queens
January 9, 2000
|A remarkable FIVE puckers go to the bearded bastard behind the wheel of a
red Isuzu Trooper (NY registration C39-8CT), who at 2:25pm in the dense Sunday traffic of the
northbound Palisades Interstate Parkway, was in such a hurry that for five miles
he tailgated a motorcyclist in front of him, leaving not even one car length between them
for the entire distance. Meanwhile, I need to congratulate the rider of the Harley
for resisting the urge to put a bullet through this asshole's forehead.
December 16, 1999
|The holiday traffic really brings out the best in people. In
today's case, this SUV driver both reinforces the stereotype of most SUV drivers'
obnoxious disregard for fellow motorists, and reminds us that New Yorkers aren't the only
assholes on the road. In this case, the asshole couldn't stand to let me into the
left lane for that left turn light ahead (while we had both been merging from opposite
directions of the prior cross-street), and he nearly took off my side view mirror
defending "his" lane. Two assholes go to this Pennsylvianian putz, who
could have and should have permitted an ordinary one-for-one merge of traffic. In
the end, his selfishness earned him no gain whatsoever.
December 13, 1999
|Proving that wearing a badge makes a person no less likely
to be an
asshole, this member of NYC's "elite" Highway Patrol couldn't be bothered to
wait in traffic like everyone else at 9am, and merrily trundled along 34th street in
midtown Manhattan, in the oncoming traffic lane! Just remember that if your or I tried
this stunt, he'd be kicking the shit out of us with his fag-bait jack boots. For the
brilliant example this officer set in front of daily commuters and holiday shoppers, I give the
pilot of motorcycle #58 one pucker and a weeping 'roid. Happy holidays!
October 6, 1999
|It took a long time to get my digital camera of choice and to
keep it working for more than a week (long story), but I'm now inaugurating my fancy new
Nikon Coolpix on this cool autumn morning with yet another Livery Asshole. This
Pakistani asshole cut me off twice on 34th street - once not bothering to look and the
second time two blocks later looking but simply not caring. Two blocks after that he
made a right turn onto 10th Avenue from the far left lane of 34th, cutting off two trucks
and a bus. For this, I honor our Pakistani Putz with three Assholes and the Maximum
April 7 1999
|While running lunchtime errands on my new motorcycle under the clear blue
afternoon sky and light holiday traffic of the West Side Highway, an Afro-American male
asshole in a light blue radio cab (NY registration T255368C) with a terrified Hispanic
passenger decided that 2 feet was plenty of room between his front bumper and my rear
wheel at 50MPH in the right lane. Then frustrated after at least 500 feet of waiting
for me to magically disappear from in front of him, he passed me by straddling my lane and
the middle lane and cutting close in front of me, then speeding off. For this I
award yet another "distended sphincter award" and an incredible FIVE ASSHOLE
rating! I'd have taken a picture if I weren't so afraid of getting punted from
behind. FYI: The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commision has a web site, and you can file
your complaints on-line! What a country...
February 24 1999
|The distinguished "distended sphincter" award goes to another
medallion taxicab today (registration 2D92), for tailgating and repeatedly honking and
flashing his high-beams at me for two blocks in bumper to bumper traffic at 7:19 pm
approaching the 59th Street Bridge. This asshole is the first sucker to be
photographed by me, which brings me to an interesting aspect of photographs for Assholes
At The Wheel. The Camera is mightier than the sword! After I stopped
in traffic and got out of my car to snap this asshole's photograph, the cabbie suddenly
wasn't in so much of a hurry any more. He stayed back at least 150' and drove as
sedate as my grandmother on a handful of Valium.
February 9 1999
|Today would have been the first properly done entry in this log if I had
been better prepared. But the camera wasn't handy and I was too busy with evasive
actions when a medallion taxicab was over the double yellow lines and completely in the
lane of oncoming traffic - my lane - doing 30mph on West 34th Street just east of 8th
Avenue. This yo-yo earns the Weeping Hemorrhoid award for his total disregard for
the sanctity of the most important of all lane markings.
General Complaints and
Practical Solutions in Everyday Driving
Your turn signal is supposed to be a caution
to nearby motorists of your intention to change lanes. In practice, it is a signal
for the motorist behind you in the adjacent lane to stomp on the accelerator
and block your lane change so that your need to change lanes doesn't cost him or her that
precious 1 second that will make the obvious difference between their life and death
(how dare you!).
Change lanes anyway. Few
aggressive assholes actually have the balls to close the gap enough to lock you out
completely - about 15' or so. And if the asshole hits you in the back afterward,
it's legally his fault! Make sure your car is towed and you check
your neck and spine at the hospital. Sue his ass off! Sue his mother for
rearing a defective child! Sue! Sue! SUE! Do
be careful not sideswipe the asshole, and not to tag the motorist that you're squeezing in
This seems to be a problem endemic to the United States and
crowded city regions in particular. The left lane is for passing,
but something seems to get lost in the translation. Maybe it has to do with not
needing to be able to read English to get a drivers license in the U.S.
I don't know. The result is that the left lane is full of distracted
slow-paced motorists on cellular phones and eating Big Macs, while the right lanes are
dangerously traversed by frustrated people trying to find the limits of their vehicle's
speed and handling on their way to work or the detox center or whatever.
If you're in the left lane and everyone is passing
you on the right, move over dammit! This is not rocket
science - you should not have to buy a vowel to figure this out. Conversely,
the hurried masses seem to have this self- righteous indignance about posession of the
left lane. Just remember that when an equally self-righteous motorist is in
front of you and you act like an asshole by tailgating, it'll be your fault
when he gets indignant and hits his brakes and you rear-end him.
Your vehicle's horn is supposed to be used to warn people of
immediate life- or property- threatening danger. It says so right
there in the drivers manual, and that document is available in every
language including braille so there are no excuses. Your horn is
not to caution others that you're about to be a dangerous asshole because the traffic in
front of you is not moving as fast as you would like. Nor is your horn button meant
to be beat upon like an angry infant hammering the bleating rubber
squeaky horn of a Fisher-Price automobile dashboard. Get a life.
If some other asshole is incognizant of your presence and you
need him or her to move, a quick tap or two on the horn will get their
attention. Your horn is not a magical device that can alter the
space-time continuum. Leaning on it will only earn you indignance
from your fellow motorists. Don't be surprised when they slow down
and block your path. And don't be surprised when your car gets pelted
by eggs, used rubbers, spoilt spam or whatever else nearby apartment dwellers can hastily
lob from their windows.
SUV's or "sport utility vehicles"
are becoming more and more common. People who passed their driving test in a Toyota Tercel
can get behind the wheel of a Lincoln Navigator with the only question
asked being "will that be cash or credit card?". This leads to a whole new
category of drivers that used to be easily identifiable (and thus
avoidable) because their vehicles were big and yellow and said "RYDER" on the
side. These people think that "4WD" means "invincible",
don't give a thought to its inferior handling, and don't realize that you
can't "touch-park" against nearby cars when your bumper height is mis-matched by
SUV's are to be avoided in traffic with the same care that
you use around rental trucks, any taxicab, women driving Mercedes', vehicles with
diplomatic plates. Any self- respecting redneck (read: good
drivers) will be driving a pre-1990 Blazer or similar and you can safely lump 90% of the
other SUV drivers into the asshole category. Generally there's an inverse
relationship between vehicle size or price and driver skill,
so treat Navigators and Suburbans with extra care. Feel free to laugh hysterically
at Suzukis but if you drag race them, stay on the inside of any curves.
With SUV's, the danger does not stop once you're out of traffic.
Parking anything near an SUV is taking a gamble with your vehicle and your odds are
better at the craps table. If the only parking space available is
next to an SUV, take down the license plate info before you leave your
vehicle. If you come back to hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of broken lamps,
bent hood, trunk or quarter panel, you can track the asshole down for five
dollars through your insurance broker or sheiste, er, lawyer. Allstate may
fix the damage and most body shops know how to eat the deductible by overcharging, but
that won't give you the personal satisfaction of torching
the assholes SUV (hypothetical example of course - ahem - you should never
consider doing anything illegal).
Assholes do not have to be limited to motorists. Mayor
Giuliani was roasted as a fascist for a number of things including
attempts to control pedestrian traffic in New York City. While the absurdity of such
an endeavor does not necessarily imply that Rudy isn't a fascist, it does
underscore the fact that pedestrian death tolls are rising because pedestrians are getting
bolder and more foolish by the moment.
"The pedestrian is always right"
is not a maxim; it is an epitaph. To cross against the
light or walk in the street in one of the most densely populated cities in the
world is STUPID. To do so without looking for and expecting
oncoming traffic is SUICIDE. Most asshole pedestrians know
enough to quicken their stride when they hear the engines gunning for them, but many are
indignant. That's OK though - it only means that modern society has managed to coddle
them past dangers that should probably have killed them long ago.
Eventually they'll face some hapless motorist in a hurry and the gene pool
will be refined a degree further.
Taxicabs I believe represent a uniquely grave
threat in New York City. Most are driving for fleets, whose pay structure is roughly
equivalent to slavery. This enormous pressure to
make less money than a part-time job at White Castle
leads to vicious driving habits that in spite of mostly good technical skill at
the wheel (by necessity if nothing else), are extraordinarily callous
and dangerous. Even private taxicab owners are forced to behave like animals
behind the wheel to compete for business in the bustling streets of Manhattan.
Speeding, tailgating, triple lane changes, illegal U-turns, turning corners from the wrong
lanes, cutting off traffic, picking up fares illegally and blocking traffic are just a few
examples of typical NYC taxicab driving.
Fortunately, there are countermeasures for even the most
formidable threats. In NYC it's called the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
In a strange devil's-advocate fashion, the TLC proves that justice is only a
concept. If some cabbie pisses you off, you get his tag number and
hopefully his TLC license ID number. Make careful notes of date,
time, location, his/her appearance, and appearance of the fare if any. You file a
complaint by phone to the TLC and they make a court date. Court is just a dingy
office near Times Square, and it's administrative law which means that a
defendant's constitutional rights are confiscated at the
door. You as the complainant show up with your allegations well-rehearsed, and the
cabbie shows up with his phony logs that prove he was in Haiti
at the time, etc., and the judge pretty much automatically finds against
the cabbie because they assume that if you were willing to spend the time off from your
important job in some dark, musty midtown office for an hour, that there must
be some validity to your complaint. What a country!
Assholes don't even have to be limited to ordinary citizens.
You need look no further than the nearest police precinct to find
dozens of prime grade-A assholes all in one handy place. Unfortunately they venture
out of their precinct houses routinely and most of them drive when they do so. This
means that whether they're rushing to an armed robbery in progress or to Krispy
Kreme [*], you're
just as likely to see them violate all the traffic rules and regulations that they are
sworn to enforce with the zeal of a skinhead at a Hitler Youth march. Traffic
Enforcement agents ignore their own laws just as frequently and you should find
that very frightening since they don't have the benefit of pursuit driving lessons the way
regular law enforcement officers do.
Don't be lured! Don't follow them
through the red lights, and when someone is driving up your butt in the left lane of a
highway, check to make sure it's not an unmarked patrol car hoping to
bait you into speeding. Better yet, when you see this behavior and particularly when
there's no obvious reason for it (emergency lights off, etc.), file a complaint
with the CCRB. The CCRB is the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
These days the CCRB is mostly hobbled by Herr Giuliani, but don't be discouraged!
When the cop finally gets into an accident and someone starts a
law suit against the cop and the city, all those complaints will be on record
and will help the accident victim's case immensely.
Regular cops are just part of the picture. Traffic
Enforcement Agency "officers" (formerly known as "brownies")
can be assholes too, but only uphold administrative law. Don't
make the mistake of trying to argue civil or criminal law with these assholes. They
have less education and less promise than the average homeless person. And
remember that in administrative court, the constitution is banned from mention and you are
guilty until proven innocent. Luckily for you as a citizen, the
scales aren't tipped totally in the city's favor because TEA officers, being one of the lowest
forms of arguably human life, are rarely able to correctly fill out a summons (in
the case of parking) or coherently state their supporting depositions (in the case of a
moving violation), even when reading their own handwriting. If one of these
assholes does manage to nail you, fight it. Even if you lose, you
will have the satisfaction of knowing that you cost the system your money's worth.
 If you actually follow the rule to
leave a car length for every 10 MPH between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
(please stop laughing), letting a vehicle in front of you who follows the same rule will
delay arrival to your destination by approximately 1 second. If you factor in
typical city traffic light timing and do a little statistical wizardry, the chance of you
enduring any delay at all is about one in ten and if you are delayed, the average delay
works out to be about three seconds. Big deal. [back]
 NYC Taxi medallions cost as much as
a metro area house on 1 acre with a 3-car garage, so most of them are owned by large fleet
owners, who "rent" out their cabs on a daily basis. You can wait 4 hours
with your thumb up your butt just to rent one of these cabs, and then drive it eight hours
just to make back what you put out for the rental. If you work hard and drive more
hours than is even legal to log, you might bring home $50 a day. If you don't make
it to the fleet office early enough, you might not even get the rental, which means you
end up with the wetbacks waiting for a pickup truck to take you to a construction job, and
that's if you're lucky. [back]