Almost late for an orthopedist’s appointment Thursday because of a train of cars jammed up behind an extremely slow maroon Chevy SUV in the lead.
The driver of the SUV would slow suddenly to as low as 10 mph on some of the turns on Bent Mountain and the accordion effect of cars trying to avoid hitting the rolling road block came dangerously slow to more than one rear-end collision.
By the time we got to where U.S. 221 turned into four-lanes, the line of cars swished by the SUV in quick succession. When we got close, I saw the reason: Maryland plates. The driver gripped the steering wheel in abject fear and stared straight ahead.
During our 23 years in Washington, we learned to fear Maryland drivers. They would drive 20 miles per hour below the speed limit in the passing lanes of the Beltway or whip in and our traffic without signaling their intent. They seldom signaled for turns. There were the butt of jokes in The Washington Post and generally considered the worst drivers in the National Capital Region.
In our four years back here, I’ve lost track of the times we have inched down Bent Mountain on the way to Roanoke or along Rte. 8 between Floyd and Christiansburg because the winding roads appeared to terrify drivers with Maryland plates on their cars.
To be fair, not all bad drivers we encounter are from Maryland. A young girl in a Honda with Virginia plates blew through a stop sign between Floyd and Check Thursday, She was so busy on yapping on her cellphone that she didn’t even look to see if traffic was coming. I had to hit the brakes hard to avoid turning her Honda into a hood ornament on our Jeep Liberty.
She was so preoccupied with her cell phone conversation that her car swerved over the center line several times in the face of oncoming traffic and her speed varied from 35 to 50 mph.