Well, it’s official. Driving in Montana is a miserable experience . . . at least between the small rural town I live and the big city where I work most of the time. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Montana ranks number six in the United States as one of the most miserable states for drivers. You can read the article over at CarInsurance.com (http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/automotive-misery-index.aspx?WT.qs_osrc=MSN). I always knew there was something different about driving in Montana.
The statistic (actually Montana tied for fifth with Georgia) is based upon the number of miles driven, the cost of gasoline, and the cost of insurance. Factoring in those three stats, Montana’s “driving misery” index number ended up being 9.7 percent. I think that Montana got the lower rating over Georgia because we drive fewer miles than Georgians . . . I think it was because we did not have a president elected from our state. It is only more miserable to drive in the states of Mississippi (#1), Oklahoma (#2 and a miserable place to live especially as a Big Red Fan), Louisiana (#3), West Virginia (#4 in misery and #1 in deer/car accidents), and Georgia. I always thought it was miserable driving in our previous state—Nebraska, but with the move to Montana we dropped 26 places!
There are parts of driving in Montana that are miserable. Driving in the ice and snow in winter—miserable! Following a recreational vehicle or tractor on a two lane road for miles and miles at nearly thirty miles under the speed limit with a full bladder—miserable! Dodging deer, especially suicidal deer—miserable! Playing hop-scotch with all the out-of-state tourists with their big campers—miserable. Dancing in the lane with the car in front of you because the conversation on their cell phone is more interesting than the road ahead—miserable! Driving way to the right side of the lane because everyone in Montana who went through driver’s education was taught to hug the center line—miserable. Trying to read all of the vanity plates on the state cars (Subaru)—miserable! Driving in Montana is a miserable experience and it is not because of the number of miles driven, cost of gas, or the cost of insurance . . .
In all honesty, I cannot vouch that driving in Montana is miserable. True, it does hit the pocket book a little on the heavy side, but for the most part I enjoy driving in Montana. Yeah, I have my gripes, but most of those have nothing to do with having to drive in Montana as much as it has to do with the fact that most of my driving is basically a commute from nowhere to somewhere. Outside of my commute I enjoy driving in Montana. Who wouldn’t appreciate the beauty of the area . . . mountains, sky that never ends, and lots of critters to admire. The commute is a whole other story . . . it is miserable.
I am learning a lot about this state of Montana that I have come to claim as “home”. We rank in the top ten in a lot of things, but none that most people would appreciate. We are in the top ten for consumption of alcohol (especially micro-breweries), which ranks us in the top ten of D.U.I.s. We rank in the top ten in motor vehicle deaths . . . thanks to alcohol and boredom from being stuck behind some slow moving tourist from some state like Georgia who has had a resident elected president. I think we also rank among the top ten for more livestock than people, mispronouncing words that the rest of the nation pronounces correctly, and saying, “You bet!” Now we can claim our glory in the top ten states of miserable drivers!
So, I am now among the miserable! That makes me miserable thinking about it. But that thinking has made me come to a conclusion on how folks could make me—and move the state of Montana—happier. All those idiots out there driving could quit driving! Think about it . . . fewer miles driven because there would be fewer drivers . . . less gas being bought because there would be fewer drivers driving . . . and, insurance prices would drop because there are less drivers causing accidents, hitting critters, and driving while drinking. If those out there in Montana would just read this and heed the suggestion, my life would be better and Montana would drop out of the top ten. It is a pipe dream, I know . . . because the other thing that Montana ranks in the top ten in is the stubborn independence of doing things the way people want to do them no matter what anyone else thinks!
Oh well, I will keep on driving in misery. My joy comes in learning sign language while driving, developing lightening fast reflexes dodging critters and drunk drivers, and creeping along behind tractors and tourists gawking at the sugar beets. So far I have survived . . . knock on wood!