Road Rants: A journey out west, across the border on Interstate 290-294 and back again

2013-10-05T00:00:00Z Road Rants: A journey out west, across the border on Interstate 290-294 and back againBy Ben Brickman AUTO OUTRAGE CONTRIBUTOR
October 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Last week my final rant was a reiteration of some of the less than wonderful experiences I have had lately traveling back from the city. This week I had the pleasure of traveling back and forth on Interstate-294 to do an inventory in a warehouse located in Berserk-ly, Illinois. Yes, I know I spelled the town’s name wrong. Hold the hate mail. The spelling was intentional. The name is appropriate for the way the highways are designed in that area and how the drivers on those highways travel. I will spend a ink this week describing the area because so many of us use this mess of engineering to get to O’Hare Airport and points west of downtown Chicago.

Rant #1: About 15 minutes after I began my trip I was in the middle lane, doing about 70 miles per hour in heavy traffic. I had a semi on my right and several cars on my left. Yep, you already know what’s about to happen here. A car in front of the semi slows down to turn off the expressway, the truck puts on his turn signal and immediately starts to move into my lane. I blow my horn but the truck is still coming. I slam on the breaks, the semi misses my front bumper by inches, I extend my finger and we all live another day. What a @#$% Moron! The semi driver did not even touch the brakes. It was as if he could not stop.

We do a lot of business with truck drivers at The Times. Most truckers are considerate. However, this particular driver was just being a bully. He was probably thinking, “Mine is bigger than yours, Move or die!” I wish the state police could deal with bad truck drivers the way the ski patrol deals with bad skiers. The ski patrol pulls you over, rips up your license and tells the dangerous skiers, “too bad Nut Job, you’re done.”

After we were done with our inventory we headed back to the Hoosier side of the border and the trip got even more interesting.

Rant #2: First, I attempted to merge into southbound Interstate-290, pacing a slot in the slow lane. Traffic again was moving at about 70 miles per hour. This is 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, but still about 20 miles per hour under the rate of what drivers in the fast lane appeared to be doing. I got up to speed; I put on my turn signal. I began to merge and someone dove across the lane, nearly sideswiping me and pushing me out of the slow lane and onto the right side shoulder of the road. Argh! What is it with these people? My ex-compatriots in California would not even try that! We are supposed to be defensive drivers, not offensive drivers. Anyway, the shoulder was narrowing so I had to slam on my brakes and find another slot to merge back into traffic.

I merged into a slot just as the traffic was slowing down, preparing to split onto the southbound I-294 connector road. On my right is a car that needs to merge but has nowhere to go. Does the driver slow down, put on a signal or wave or gesture? He** no! The driver simply cranks the wheel to the left and pushes me into the middle lane. People please, this is not bumper cars. Worse yet, I can’t get into the connector lane because it’s so backed-up. I was forced to stay on I-290. So now I am driving for a mile on I-290 before that highway backs up. I check and find out that this traffic jam is related to the CTA train collision and now I have to drive on city streets south to get back on to I-294. This was a pain in the posterior too.

At the end of the nightmare I am grateful that I live and (mostly) drive on this side of the Illinois-Indiana border. Indiana seems safer. We have some hot spots. We have some of our own motoring morons on the road. However, we have less of bad drivers, or at least that’s how it seems to me at the moment.

It’s Audience Participation Time...Have a Dimwit Driver alert? Is there an intersection that gets you angry? Need a bumper sticker? Send your rant or address to: You can also call the RANT LINE at 219-933-1010. Leave your message. Include all the details. We will work it into the paper. We are also on Facebook, NWI Road Rants. Until next time, be safe. No one else is.

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