This is an appeal for mercy, or maybe just grace, for minivan drivers. We get a lot of flack, you know. People hate driving behind minivans. They assume we’re slow, crazy soccer moms too distracted to drive properly. Maybe they’re just afraid that the bags of sleep deprivation we hold under our eyes are contagious. Whatever the reason, it’s a reliable bon mot that people dislike minivan drivers.
I’d like to present a plea for understanding. I fully admit that minivan drivers are not always the best drivers, but I’d like to temper this admission with the proposal that maybe everyone else on the road isn’t always the best driver either. And maybe even for less legitimate reasons than minivan drivers.
Because as sexy as minivans are (RAWR), we’re not driving them for their aesthetics. If you see someone tooling around town in one of these mammoth vehicles, chances are excellent it’s because they have at least one child.
Why does this qualify minivan drivers for special treatment? Well, in case you’ve never had the pleasure of driving with a child of any age, let me explain just a few of the on-the-road situations the average minivan driver may be experiencing even while you cut them off in traffic:
- It’s baby’s nap time, and he or she is screaming an unholy banshee wail that is destroying the driver’s eardrums to pitiful mush. The driver, depending on how far away from home he or she is and therefore how desperate he or she has become, may or may not be trying to sing nursery rhymes, distract baby with toys dangled from an arm painfully extended backward and around, or propel the minivan up a ramp and over the cars separating him or her from a crib for wailing, miserable baby.
- Car-sick child in the back who is threatening to vomit. The back windows of a minivan don’t open and, as such, desperate driver is trying to rummage around for a barf receptacle all while trying to avoid running car into a ditch.
- Houdini child has liberated him or herself from safety restraints and is giving the driver a small heart attack as he or she watches the child cavorting around the backseat. Driver then has to alternately cajole or threaten child back into car seat while trying to merge through traffic (past people who won’t let him or her into their lane) to look for a safe place to pull over.
- Driver hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep since…Well, it’s been so long that if you ask him or her a blank look will likely replace any cogent answer. If you don’t think this merits the driver some understanding, you’ve obviously never been sleep deprived.
- Siblings in the back seat are fighting/singing obnoxious songs/rubbing muddy feet on their clothes or the seats/annoying the stuffing out of you. They say that no one knows how to push your buttons quite like your kids. And they are absolutely right.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that minivan drivers are definitely not the best drivers out there (that honor probably goes to ambulance drivers) but we may have the most legitimate excuse for our poor driving.
So if you see a minivan driver pulling up close behind you, her crazy eyes willing you to merge out of her way because you’re not even going the speed limit, just do her a favor and let her pass. She’s probably got at least one bodily fluid to clean up when she gets home, and she could probably use a break.