Fear of the blue and white

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

I love to drive. That's one of the reasons I have a part-time job doing it. I like discovering areas of the city I have never been to. I also enjoy maneuvering my way throughout the suburbs. Nothing is more challenging than to go into one of those suburban developments where it seems like you're trapped in a maze with the same street name that changes from Main Court to Main Circle to Main Drive to Main Street.  Whatever city planner allowed that had a mean streak.

When driving, my biggest fear, like most other people is the blue and white. But it's not the blue and white you think. You see, the blue and white that appears in my rearview mirror doesn't cause me as much consternation as the one ahead of me. It's those drivers with the blue and white TNP + CHI affixed to their rear window who scare the bejesus out of me!

What is TNP CHI? It stands for Transportation Network Provider Chicago. It's the decal Uber/Lyft drivers are supposed to have in their car in order to access either Midway or O'Hare Airport. But the real meaning of that sign, as far as I'm concerned, is that it warns me of an amateur driver whose qualifications for driving anybody around should be questioned by the passenger in the rear seat!

The most dangerous thing about someone with that sign is that, more often than not, they are heavily dependent on the GPS to get them from point A to point B. A real driver uses GPS as a supplement to their knowledge of the city's streets and not their lifeline! As a driver carrying paying passengers, one should know the basic layout of the city. With the exception of certain angular streets like Grand, Clybourn, Elston and Archer, those drivers should be able to make their way around with ease. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.

I was driving south on Cicero near Midway airport when all of a sudden all the cars came to a screeching halt. The reason? The TNP CHI rideshare driver was trying to get to the Midway Airport exit ramp from the far left lane. One would have thought that, after crossing Archer Avenue, the driver would have the common sense to get into the far right lane. But no. The GPS apparently hadn't told him, so he didn't!

One time I was driving on North Ashland and the driver pulled from a parking spot into the second lane cutting me off. I blew my horn at him and swerved into the right lane. That nut case proceeded to cut back in front of me into the right lane and then cut to the left lane all while the female passenger sat in the rear seat. That driver is a future road rage assailant for sure.

Last but not least are the scared-to-move, scared-to-change-lanes, scared-to-drive-like-they're-trying-to-get-somewhere drivers. Hopefully with gas now exceeding $3 a gallon, the number of those drivers will lessen. They do nothing but add to the traffic congestion!

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