It’s probably no surprise that Seattle drivers are objectively the worst drivers out of hundreds of cities. In practice, bad driving ranges along a spectrum from merely irritating, like being behind somebody unwilling to make a turn until the road is completely devoid of traffic, to dangerous and stupid, like wandering into the opposing lanes or crossing a bike lane without looking.
To be fair, some of Seattle’s terrible driving is caused by inconsistent and incomprehensible road layouts. The city is littered with intersections that require special attention, with bike lanes that could literally be anywhere, six-way blind intersections with no markings, left-hand merges, and right-of-way conflicts that take a keen legal mind to correctly ascertain. Express lanes are usually the leftmost highway lane, proving an incentive (and legal reason) for driving slowly in the left lane without passing.
Given this high cognitive load, there seems to be a large segment of the driving population that gives up entirely, which only adds to the confusion. To make things worse, the Seattle police don’t seem particularly interested in enforcing traffic laws.
I was recently impressed by a new way to be terrible, illustrated in this diagram:
This is the intersection of 9th and Mercer, an often-busy intersection. Cars traveling down Mercer are mostly headed to the highway, and it’s not uncommon for people to turn onto Mercer and get stuck in the intersection, blocking cross traffic. The right lane on ninth is often occupied by people wanting to turn right, anyway. The left lane on 9th only has a left arrow and markings indicating that it’s left-turn only for the entire block, but as the right lane moves slowly, there’s a fairly consistent group of people who get in the left lane to turn right. When the left arrow is illuminated, they simply turn across the right lane, blocking both the left and right. Naturally, this slows the right lane even further, encouraging those who wish to make right turns to follow suit and get in the left lane. Of course, people who want to either go straight or follow traffic laws are pretty screwed.
Good job sucking, blue car. You are both a terrible driver and a terrible person.