From the Arizona Daily Star 1958

When the winners of the 1957-58 Traffic Gripe contest were announced, women took the top three prizes. It appeared those who aired their pet peeves in verse did better.

From the Arizona Daily Star, January 12, 1958:

The Ladies Captured First Three Places In Star’s Annual Traffic Gripe Contest

Over 1,000 Entries Were Received

The ladies waltzed off with the case in our third annual Traffic Gripe Contest.

They placed one-two-three in the grand prize list, with Mrs. W. T. Wiley, of 1514 N. Jefferson Ave., winning the grand prize of $50 for her peeve about:

“No signal . . . no arm . . . no mind, I guess
“He done what he wants and to heck with the rest.”

Second grand prize winner is Mrs. Perry Kincheloe, a housewife, of 4445 N. Flowing Wells road, who wrapped up a whole lot of peeves in an 11-line verse that the judges said was worth $25 cash.

Third prize went to Mrs. Elsie Warburton, of Tumacacori, a graduate nurse whose husband teaches school at Calabasas. Her gripe was about the motorists who speed heedlessly through pedestrian lanes. She won $15 cash.

Fourth prize winner is J. E. Kyle, of 1404 E. Silver, an instructor at Tucson high school. He collected five pounds of Folgers for his Saga of Daring Dan.

We received more than 1,000 gripes, all of which were carefully scanned by our veteran judging team of Capt. Frank Keefe, of the Tucson Police Dept., Lt. B. D. Velasco, of the Arizona Highway Patrol, and Undersheriff Art Grande. They selected the winners in the four-week contest which saw $300 in case and more than 75 pounds of Folgers coffee distributed.

Co-sponsors of the contest for the third year were Catalina Post 4903 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its auxiliary.

Ed Quinn, service officer of Catalina post, and one of the originators of Traffic Gripes, served as contest coordinator for the third time.

Here are the grand prize winning gripes:

THE $50 WINNER

“I sit in a side street, waiting to cross—
I guess I’m a stone who’ll gather some moss—
‘Cause a string of cars are swishing past
And then a slow one, he’s the last.
Hope he passes before the other
Line gets here—Oh brother! …
Hurry up! I want to go—
Why do you have to be so slow?
Here he is—Oh, glory be,
He’s turning into the street WITH me.
No signal—no arm—no mind, I guessed,
He’s done what he wants and to heck with the rest.”

Mrs. W. T. Wiley
1514 N. Jefferson Ave.

THE $25 WINNER

“Sure, the dimwits driving on High Beam,
The ‘gunner boys’ who speed from the scene,
The Slow Poke, who down the middle rides,
The kids who hang out windows on both sides,
All tend to make driving a venture most risky,
But … they all take a back seat to the driver full of whiskey,
To my way of thinking,
Our judges should say,
‘No license for you and to jail for a stay.
Time out from your drinking …
For a year and a day’.”

Mrs. Perry Kincheloe
4445 N. Flowing Wells Rd.

THE $15 WINNER

“My pet peeve is the guy who doesn’t even slow down, but breezes by me when I have stopped at a cross walk to give a pedestrian the right of way.

“If someone were hurt, I would feel partly responsible, and it would be small consolation to know that I had acted within the law and been prompted by courtesy.”

Elsie Warburton
Tumacacori

Saga of Daring Dan

“A toast to my old pal, Daring Dan,
That rambling, reckless, road hog man,
Whenever he got behind a wheel
His brain went numb but his nerves were steel.

He’d pass on your left; he’d pass on your right;
He’d jump the gun at every light,
And I’ve often heard that he’s been seen,
When two cars passed, to pass between!

Whate’er betide, he must be first—
Alas! Poor Dan was lately hearsed.
I’m taking a wreath to my old pal’s grave
After one too many a narrow shave!”

J. E. Kyle
1404 E. Silver St.

A few days later, the Star broke down the pet peeves by type. They look quite similar to many traffic grips of today.

From the Star, January 16, 1958: 

+1 

Traffic Gripe Contest

Discourtesy Keynotes Traffic Gripe Contest

One-Third Of Entries Score Carelessness

What was the biggest beef in the Star’s Traffic Gripe contest?

In one word it was “discourtesy,” just plain lack of respect for the other guy’s right to drive an automobile.

About 32 per cent of the thousand and four gripes submitted during the four-week life of the popular contest concerned carelessness or lack of common courtesy.

Ten per cent of the gripers had a lot to say about speeding, in town, out of town, and between traffic lights.

Perhaps the most humorous aspect of the contest concerned the ladies. Whereas only one per cent of the men complained about women drivers, two per cent of women squawked loudly about other women’s driving habits.

Next to speeding, another popular complaint was about motorists who fail to signal or those who give improper signals. This category accounted for wight per cent of the peeves.

Six per cent of the contestants had a lot to say about the guys and gals who weave in and out of traffic, and it wasn’t complimentary.

During the life of the Traffic Gripe contest, close to $300 in cash and almost a hundred pounds of Folgers coffee were awarded as prizes.

Ed Quinn, contest coordinator for the co-sponsoring Catalina Post 4903 and the VFW, checked each one of the thousand and four entries as did out contest judges, Cast. Frank Keefe, of the Tucson Police; Undersheriff Art Grande, and Lt. B. D. Velasco, of the Arizona Highway Patrol.

We received peeves from Kansas, Iowa, Texas, California, Mexico and many points in Arizona.

To get back to the breakdown of the gripes, four per cent of the contestants were aggravated by other motorists clocking their attempts to make left turns at traffic lights, or drivers making improper left turns.

Another four per cent were bitter at bad parking habits of their fellow citizens.

Three per cent were highly disgruntled by the slowpokes — the motorists who sightsee from their vehicles, window shop or just plain stop and “chin” with discharged passengers.

Another three per cent were more than slightly annoyed by the horn blowers.

And each of the following gripes account for two per cent each of the peeves:

White line straddlers.
Pedestrians criticizing motorists.
Motorists criticizing pedestrians.
Uncoordinated signal lights, and no signs or hard-to-see signs.
Improper right hand turners.
Bright light blinders.
Bumper riders.
Dust raisers and mud splashers.
Drunk drivers (a one per cent gain over last year).
Perhaps this would be considered unusual: only one per cent of the men complained about female drivers.

Others in the one per cent category:

Road hogs.
Parking tickets and police procedure.
Children jumping around driver or driver trying to tend kids while driving.
Litterbugs.
Drivers pulling out from curb without looking.
The driver who steps out of the car into the traffic lane.

And if this isn’t enough griping just wait until next December when we promote our fourth annual Traffic Gripe bonanza.

 

The Morgue Lady read a survey once (in 2016) telling what wives most hate about their husbands' driving. They didn't complain about their husbands' driving at all. They hated most that the husbands yelled at other drivers (who, no doubt, couldn't hear them yelling anyway).

Johanna Eubank is an online content producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

About Tales from the Morgue: The "morgue," is what those in the newspaper business call the archives. Before digital archives, the morgue was a room full of clippings and other files of old newspapers.