If Torontoist had our druthers when on the road, we’d outfit our vehicle James Bond-style with a laser death ray for vaporizing the bad drivers in our path. Whether it’s the arrogant jackass weaving and deeking through QEW traffic at breakneck speeds or the dear old bluehair oblivious to the space around her, it only takes a bad driver or two to really make commuting around the city a white-knuckled experience.
Everyone who drives even occasionally can relate to the frustration, which is why bitching about bad drivers never gets old. Now Canadians can redirect their road rage toward the freshly-launched PlateWire Canada; a website where victims of aggressive drivers can vent about the incident and post the plate number of the offender.
Not all is negative, though: submitters can also commend other road rangers for exceptional driving, warn someone of a burned-out taillight or even make a potential love connection.
There are four categories of “wires.” A green star is awarded to a thoughtful or courteous driver; a red flag warns of a rude or careless driver; an orange hazard sign indicates a physical problem with a vehicle, and a pink “wink” is for flirting with another driver you’ve encountered. We wonder if we can also wink at drivers we see joyfully singing at the top of their lungs to their car stereo, or post red warning flags for stoplight nosepickers.
Though the Canadian version of the site is still young, there is a certain sympathy one has rubbernecking through the wire reports. On Christmas Day, for example, a red BMW (plate DREWVILL) allegedly got antsy with slow-moving southbound traffic on Highway 50 and kicked into the northbound lanes to pass everyone. Another submitter found the driver of a grey Camry (plate AMYE 012) “quite a handsome man” and would like to contact him.
The voyeuristic schadenfreude extends to other provinces as well. “Take your precious, pathetic Xterra and find the nearest cliff!” growls a vexed B.C. driver. The plate may say “Friendly Manitoba,” but a Brandon resident has serious beef with a couple of seniors. “Head back to the home and wait ’til Sunday. Thxs.”
Someone behind the wheel in Ottawa even had a few words for the public transit drivers in our Capital, claiming that they are among the most disrespectful drivers he’s ever seen. We can think of a few lead-footed or brake-pumping TTC bus drivers who could use an entry too, as can motorists who don’t stop for the streetcar doors. Some of our taxis could take up an entire category by themselves.
PlateWire was started in May by Mark Buckman, a Fairfax, VA commuter who admits that most bad drivers will never see the rants about them. He does plan to expand awareness of PlateWire enough that the shaming becomes a significant deterrent of poor driving habits. Like similar site AboveAverageDriver.com, the primary satisfaction comes from merely having a place to vent.
Of course, if a driver sees something illegal or dangerous, the first step should always be to call the police and make a report. Ontario also has the Road Watch program, and the Ministry of Transportation presents some advice on dealing with angry or aggressive motorists.
Related on Torontoist:
Hummers and the Handicapped
An Open Letter to Toronto Drivers
Someone Needs Remedial Driving Lessons
Vehicle and Star Trek licence plate images by Marc Lostracco