Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Offensive Driving

I sent this complaint to United Parcel Service this morning:
I want to file a complaint against the driver of UPS Van #<xxxxxx>, driving in Seattle, Washington.

On the morning of Wednesday, September 15, at about 9:00 am (give or take a couple minutes), I was driving on I-5 north, on the “I-90 bypass” which is just south of downtown Seattle.  This section of road features three lanes of traffic which merge into a single lane before joining the main I-5 freeway: the left lane merges into the middle one, then the right lane merges.

I was in the leftmost lane at the merge location (just shy of where the two lanes fully become one), attempting to merge right.  Fully half my vehicle was ahead of the front of UPS Van #<xxxxxx>, but the van kept coming forward, trying to force his way ahead of me.  This would have required me to either slam on my brakes and attempt to merge behind him (assuming that I could and the such action didn’t cause an accident with the person in the lane behind me), speed up and hit the vehicle I was trying to merge behind, or ram into either the concrete median or the UPS Van.

This forcing by the UPS Van driver continued for several seconds: I would start to merge, he would speed up to prevent me, and I would have to speed up to maintain the ability to start to merge in; at least three repeats of this occurred.  I finally laid on my horn for several seconds, and your driver let me merge in.  He also then backed off a couple car lengths, allowing a car from the right-hand lane to merge between us.

The van had two delivery persons in it, both male (I think; it’s hard to tell from a rear-view mirror while driving); the driver was white, the other one was black.  (I had to read the number of the vehicle in reverse through the rear-view window as well — it was printed on the front of the van — but I have been good at reading things in reverse most of my life, and this was just a short number.)

I clearly had the right of way, due to most of my vehicle being ahead of the front of the van.  Is this sort of polite, defensive driving that UPS encourages of its drivers?  Is delivering packages on time really worth terrorizing fellow vehicles, attempting to force them off the road?

If you would like more information about this event (although I don’t think there is more that I can provide), feel free to contact me at this e-mail address or by phone during the day at (206) xxx-xxxx.

James Drew
Seattle, WA

Updated on October 3, 2004
There has been absolutely no response to my e-mail.  (Their site warned that all e-mails could not be responded to, and even implied that they might not even be read!)  I’m going to see if I can find another complaint submission method.

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