Monday, October 11, 2010
How to Drive
It never ceases to astound me, how I can be driving at the speed limit, or even well over the speed limit, and there's still somebody behind me who wants to go even faster.
I see this at all times of day and night, but especially during the rush hours in which people are frantically headed to work, frantically headed to lunch, frantically headed back from lunch, and frantically headed home from work. Me, I'm not the frantic type, so I can't really relate.
That doesn't mean I don't drive fast occasionally; I mean, who among us has not at some point? There are roads - and I'm sure we all can immediately think of some in our own experience - where the speed limit has been set to some arbitrary and unnaturally slow level. Straight stretches of desolate road where everyone ignores the speed limit and drives like they're on the interstate basically because we can and because there's really no compelling reason not to.
But in town, in a fairly populated area, these drivers that I can see in my rear-view mirror, quadrupling in size as they approach in just two seconds, barrelling towards me like some kinda nut in a Mad Max movie, well, they're a problem. And like the old maxim says, "There's never a cop around when you want one."
They're an even bigger problem after they veer around me without braking, duck into the other lane, then quickly swerve right back in front of me, weaving in and out of traffic like the Tasmanian Devil on diet pills. This behavior has a depressing effect on traffic for the rest of us, because all us sane people slow down and hit the brakes when one of these nuts hurtles through our airspace. And it only takes a few seconds of accumulated braking for a ripple effect to take place, compounding traffic congestion as this "bubble" of slowdown bottlenecks backward.
Something else I see at all times of day and night, but especially during the rush hours: wrecks, accidents, pile-ups, causing further traffic jams for all us good drivers. To be sure, some were caused by morons yammering on their cellphones or distracted by their three screaming un-seat-belted brats that they should never have had. Some may even be hypnotized by their own lame modern hip-hop music that they have blasting at such a ludicrously high volume that it is barely recognizable as anything but a subsonic roar. But I'm pretty sure that most of these wrecks are caused by the aforementioned reckless-driving speeders. I don't have any statistics to back that up, but I could probably find some if I really cared about backing up my words (and I don't, because I know and you know that I'm right, even if I'm technically not.)
So, whenever I have the opportunity, when I see these fruitbats flying towards me at a truly retarded rate of speed, I get parallel with a car in the other lane and hold my position alongside it, effectively creating a roadblock that shuts down the Unser-wannabe from being a further public menace. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the sound of steam emitting from their ears as they weave back and forth from lane to lane, trying to figure out which is moving faster, and realizing they're both moving resolutely at the exact same speed.
Don't tell me I shouldn't do that. Don't tell me it causes more problems. Tell it to the guy who wants to go 80 mph on a 35 mph road, and honks his horn at me because I'm "only" going 50mph. I'm already speeding myself, what the hell more do you want? I'm saving people's lives here by putting a stop to this kook's road-rampage, yes I am.
(I once looked into the idea of marketing a device like a giant Lite-Brite that one would mount on the back of their car, with programmable messages for the car behind you - like "Get off my ass or I'll drive even slower" or "I'm doing the speed limit, fuck you." Unfortunately, someone else already has a patent on such a device, and it isn't street-legal in all areas.)
- - JSH