Does Philadelphia Have the Worst Drivers in America?

The answer's simple: Yes. Fortunately, I have a plan to end the "Schuylkill Freeze" and "Boulevard Blitz"

I know that every city likes to believe that they have the worst drivers in the world, but clearly people from those from other cities have not been to Philadelphia. The Schuylkill Expressway and the Roosevelt Boulevard are great and lasting monuments to the horrendous drivers of Philadelphia.  It was part of the “bad roads for bad drivers” initiative of the 1930’s.

The combination of the worst drivers and worst roads in America have given us unique driving maladies like “The Schuylkill Freeze,” where a driver will come to a complete stop at the end of an on ramp and sit for hours frozen with fear. Police have to arrive with a negotiator to talk the driver off the ramp. Or the “Boulevard Blitz,” where several cars will run red lights together and try to make it across eight lanes and four roadways of competing traffic. It’s the automotive equivalent of Ultimate Fighting. [SIGNUP]

In the movie Peacemaker there is a scene where Nicole Kidman’s character needs to get somewhere safe and fast. She jumps into a car with an FBI agent behind the wheel and says, “Where are you from?”  When the agent answers “Philadelphia,” she says, “Give me the keys.”

Michael Schiffer wrote the screenplay for Peacemaker. He is from Philadelphia.  He knows what we all know.

That is why I believe we need to take some action. We need to come up with a new driving violation specifically for some area drivers — “Driving Under The Influence of Stupidity.”  If you get a stopped for a DUIS, you must go to classes and pass another driver’s test within 60 days. If you fail, you must drive with a little dunce cap on the hood of your car until you pass. That way we can all recognize and avoid the stupid drivers.

Not that they are difficult to spot now. They are the ones who believe the left and center lanes are the “no passing lanes.” The DUIS’s drive in formation like the Blue Angels and think the flashing lights and honking behind them are in appreciation of their precision.

They are also the ones who don’t have time for some of the nuisances of driving — like steering — or watching the road. They are too busy eating, texting, putting on makeup, changing, shaving, reading the paper, picking their nose, looking for something in the back seat, fondling, kissing, hitting or arguing with the person next to them and adjusting the radio, DVD player, rear view mirror, GPS, bra and genitalia — sometimes in rapid-fire succession.

They are the ones who believe a yellow light is a challenge, that the speed limit is a low minimum, honking the horn louder than everyone else gives them the right of way and parallel parking is like a video game where you get more points if you hit the bumper in front and in back of you as many times as possible.

Now there are some stupid drivers who try and pretend to be normal. Like the ones who drive the “right turn only” lane until the very end and then try to act like they didn’t know as they look over to merge into the front of the long line of people. I try and match their acting skills with my own “I am too busy fiddling with my radio to see you” pantomime. But, alas, some kind soul always let’s them merge, thus depriving the DUIS of some much needed tough traffic love.

It may seem as if I am being facetious, but think about it for a second.  You will see almost every one of the DUIS offenses I mentioned several times on your commute today — that is, if you have your eyes on the road. Animal Behaviorists would include the above list under the thesis heading “Stupid Drivers of Philadelphia.”

Now this is not to say that every driver in Philadelphia is stupid.  If we all were, no one would be left for take notice of the idiots. It is just that they are giving the rest of us a bad reputation, which is why I cheer when a cop pulls one over. Like a cheetah taking down a slow animal, they are trying to take out the stupid and make the Philadelphia herd stronger.

But the police only have only so many violations on their citation sheet and these drivers think they get a free meal after they check every box, which is why we need to attack the root of the problem — stupidity.

Start handing out the Driving Under The Influence tickets and these drivers will straighten up fast.  ecause the only thing the stupid hate more than big words and stop signs are tests and schools; they’re like garlic and crosses to a vampire.

LARRY MENDTE writes for the Philly Post every Monday and Thursday. See his video commentaries at