These Are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway

You know what makes it the toughest commute in America? Baby, it’s you.

Illustration | Hawk Krall

Illustrations | Hawk Krall

This wasn’t the best day for my editor to ask if I wanted to write about driving on the Schuylkill Expressway. Today it took me an hour and 39 minutes to get from my front door to the parking garage across the street from our office building — a total distance of 37 of the most heavily traveled highway miles in the United States. That’s not bad. It’s about average, in fact, for my morning ride. Along the way, I encountered four pothole crews, three miscellaneous lane restrictions, two disabled vehicles, eight dead deer, countless rotting raccoons, and the same sweet company I have every single morning and night on this road.

Then again, this morning, for the first time in the 20-plus years I’ve made this commute, I found myself forming my hand into the shape of a gun and firing it at another driver. So yeah, maybe this is the right day to introduce you to my favorite traveling companions. In ascending order of assholedom, here are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway.

10. The person with Jersey plates

How does it happen that an entire state is so piss-poor at operating a motor vehicle? Is it because you once had all those traffic circles and now you don’t? Does it have something to do with Chris Christie? Corn and tomatoes? Shore traffic? The proximity of New York City? Who knows, and who cares? When I see that buff-and-black plate, I steer clear. Literally.

9. People with other out-of-state plates

I have some sympathy for drivers who are out of their element, and the Schuylkill is rife with them, especially during college graduation season. Hey, Minnesota in May? I know you’re headed for Penn, and you just missed your exit. Welcome to the big city, suckah.

8. The Beverly Hillbillies

You know the ones. They’ve got a beat old pickup, and they’ve piled it sky-high with gas grills and ladders and lawn chairs and rockers and fencing and chicken coops and all the other accoutrements of the double-wide life. I guess they’re moving from the Pine Barrens to an acre in Barto. Look out! They just lost an accordion out the back!

7. That dude in the BMW

He’s very, very important. You can tell by the fact he’s wearing that suit when it’s 102 degrees out, and by the way he swerves from lane to lane to lane to get wherever he’s going in a big hot hurry. Fuck you, bozo, and your shitty car too. Oh, watch out for that pothole right … there.

6. That lady in the Prius

Sweet holy Jesus, honey, I understand that your yoga class has got you all chill, but you have to pay attention to where you’re going. Try to focus on what’s beyond the windshield instead of your girlfriends in the backseat, so we can all get om.

5. That guy who is gesticulating

My mom was from South Philly, and I’ll defend to the death every Italian’s right to express himself via the impressive vocabulary of demonstrative hand gestures his ancestral home is known for. But not when you’re behind the wheel. One hand at all times, paesan!

4. That guy who is masturbating

Spend two decades on the Schuylkill and you’ll see it — more than once. And when you see it, you’ll know it. Buddy, is that woody really so rare for you that it’s worth dying for?

3. Truckers who drive right up your ass

Then when you pull over to let them pass, you see that the rear of their vehicle is covered with graphics and signs advising you to leave THIS MUCH DISTANCE between you and them or they won’t be able to see you in their mirrors. Fuck you too, trucker bullies.

2. Millennials

They’re always on their goddamn phones. They do that phone weave within the lanes. Their faces glow alien-blue at night. I don’t mind them killing themselves (actually, I’m all for it); I just don’t want them to take me with them. Isn’t talking on the phone in your car against the law? C’mon, state troopers — slap them with those $50 fines and make them crawl to Mom and Dad for the dough.

1. People who go 60 mph in the left-hand lane

Can you say “death wish,” Grandpa? No, seriously. What are you thinking while you plow ahead in that passing lane, with other drivers piling up behind you, courting danger to pass you on the right, flipping you the bird, and generally wishing you a fast and fiery demise? Who does this? Why do you do this? Who the hell declared you the Official Setter of Pace on Public Thoroughfares? I hope when you die you’re forced to drive around and around some racetrack circle of hell where every time you try to nudge into the left-hand lane, Satan slaps you senseless with a cheesesteak. Greatest Generation my ass.

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