When drivers aren’t very good at driving

In the category of “it sure could have been a lot worse”:

Police are saying only that something distracted the unidentified driver as he was driving down Grand Ave., in St. Paul last night.

The driver was apparently searching inside the car for his keys, a St. Paul police spokesman tells MPR’s Jon Collins. Think about that for a second.

He crossed over the westbound lanes just east of Snelling, the Pioneer Press says, and ended up on the sidewalk, where he hit four people, two of whom were taken to the hospital.

Alcohol wasn’t a factor, the Star Tribune says.

We’ve been struck, particularly in recent days, at the utter inability of many drivers in the Twin Cities to simply drive their vehicles straight down the road.

In Roseville this week, for example, a truck driver was rescued from his burning wreck after he “lost control” of his truck on I-35W.

Maybe drivers get cut off. Maybe they spend too much time on smartphones, maybe the kids were screaming. Whatever.

We’re just not very good at this driving stuff.

Discussion point: How might things be different if we got as outraged by the scourge of distracted drivers as we do about Pedal Pubs?

Related transportation: Take These Steps If You Get Hit By a Car As a Pedestrian or Cyclist (CityLab).

  • Postal Customer

    “We’re just not very good at this driving stuff.”

    For the record, I made several safe trips in my car yesterday. It did not make the news.

  • BJ

    and soon the machines will drive us…..

    • Postal Customer

      I think it will be very interesting to see how google (or other companies) develop software to deal with adverse road conditions.

  • Jeff

    I’d feel better if he was intoxicated.

  • Kassie

    I think a lot of people are as upset about this as the Pedal Pubs. My twitter timeline was filled with this story and what should be done. Cars hit building so often in St. Paul my friends have started a website about it: http://www.saintpaulbuildingsintheway.com/

    • Veronica

      When I loved in Rochester, there was a similar problem. I think one specific bank building got hit every other year.

    • joetron2030

      There’s an entire website devoted to a particular bridge in Durham, NC that seems to have a habit of eating truck trailers regularly. 😀

      http://11foot8.com/

      • Jack

        The website is a great eater of time – I recommend #82, I found that one to be particularly cool.

  • Veronica

    It may not be texting, but the number of inattentive drivers I’ve seen with phones to their ears seems more than usual– lots of swerving, drifting out of lanes, running stoplights…..yikes. And yes, I honk at the swerving drivers. Repeatedly if I have to.

    Related: why do so many people refuse to turn on their headlights when it’s raining or snowing?

    • joetron2030

      Agreed on drivers neglecting/forgetting to turn on headlights when it’s raining or snowing.

    • TominEagan

      I believe that so many cars now have automatically controlled headlights that the average driver doesn’t even think about whether they need to manually turn on the headlights due to rain or snow.

      • Kassie

        Sure. And then when you get your tire fixed the guys who fixed it turned off the lights and you don’t know it until you are driving in the dark on Hwy 10 and your boyfriend mentions how dim your lights look. Gah!

  • L. Foonimin

    I recall awhile back a summer intern of mine recounting how she was taking driving lessons, I asked her how it was going and what she found to be the hardest part, thinking she would have trouble with parking or backing up … nope, her hardest task was “steering”

    • joetron2030

      lordamercy.

    • tboom

      Must of been a car without power steering. (Can you still get standard steering?)

      • Postal Customer

        I have owned two cars in my life w/o power steering. Both were 5-speeds, of course. Parallel parking was really fun.

  • Postal Customer

    Except when the light turns green.

    • Matthew Hallacy

      Especially on Hiawatha.

  • Jim G

    I too have noticed a marked decrease in Minnesota’s drivers’ skills. At this point, I’m pretty sure my yellow lab could be trained to drive equally satisfactorily. She’s alert, smart, and has great reflexes…SQUIRREL!
    I said… equally satisfactorily.

    • joetron2030

      Toonces the driving cat.

    • Jeff

      This dog did it, I’m sure yours could too. Maybe they could run over a few feral cats in my neighborhood.

      • Jeff

        Oh yeah, no thumb so hard to text while driving.

        • Jim G

          They are watching for errant SQUIRRELS! My canine companions are attentive on a trip to the farm. The Yellow sits and watches the road the entire three hour tour.

    • Matthew Hallacy

      When drivers licenses are handed out in cracker jacks boxes what do you expect? It’s all part of “entitlement”, how dare you tell me I’m not good enough for a drivers license?!

  • joetron2030

    I’m constantly checking my rear view mirror when driving in traffic. Just waiting for the day that someone rear ends me because they were busy looking at their phone.

  • kevins

    I was heading to work this AM when a former county Judge pulled onto the highway behind me (she’s a neighbor) and followed me to town. It quickly became apparent that she was texting or browsing or in some other way taking advantage of her hand-held device, all the while nudging the lines on both sides of the lane we were in. I was hoping that she would stop for a to-go cup of coffee at the same place I was going, as I fully intended to mention the irony of her behavior to her, but alas, off to her important work went she, and off to mine went me. I bet I’ll get another chance next week!

  • crystals

    Sad/ironic/etc. that I’m reading this after just driving past one of the worst crash scenes I’ve ever seen–at 39th and Chicago in S. Mpls. I can’t imagine what conditions could have led to a car landing headfirst and upside down on the far side of the sidewalk (up against a church) on a street with a 30 or 35 mph speed limit, but it happened. And it was terrifying just to see the aftermath.

    • Jerry

      Seriously, how does someone flip a car on city streets? Somewhere with ditches I can certainly see, or if you hit serious highway speeds and find something off which to ramp. But on a city street?

      • crystals

        I’ve since seen a few tweets indicating the car was going excessively fast (one estimated 100 mph–which I can’t even fathom on that street) and hit a parked car. That’s how it flipped, apparently.

        • Jerry

          That’ll do it. When will people learn? When you are going to see Mad Max, you should take public transportation home. But in all seriousness, I hope nobody got hurt too bad.

  • jean

    Moral of the story: Dunn Bros. needs a drive-thru.

  • Last year I passed a person whose car was in a construction ditch that was literally in the middle of the road (34th Ave S just north of MSP).

    The woman was standing next to the car and talking on her phone.

    Seriously, how f*cking distracted does one have to be to drive through numerous orange BARRELS, pylons and warning tape?

    I just laughed at her.

    It reminded me of this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfmKwgrQzdE