Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Notes From The Road...

Five and a half hours behind the wheel gives you time to think about lots of stuff. For example, just yesterday I was thinking that the penalty for doing 15 under the limit in the left-hand lane should be getting dragged out of the vehicle and beaten senseless with a lead pipe right there on the side of the road, pour l'encouragement des autres.

A little harsh for a first offense, maybe, but it would certainly discourage recidivism.

(To be fair, though, the person who triggered this train of thought may have set out for their destination back in '79 and didn't realize that the 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit had been repealed since they left. Boy, won't they be surprised when they finally get where they're going!)


Phil K said...

Hi Tam,
As a guy who puts on between 3 and 5 thousand miles a month, it has become quite evident that most folks are not competent to drive the posted limit on the freeways, far less capable or competent to exceed the limit by the amount that I routinely see on the roads.

I have also come to the conclusion that those who live in the left lane and go well over the limit usually are the most dangerous drivers out there as they constantly drive too close behind folks who they consider to be driving too slowly.

I do agree that people who are passing should speed up a bit so that they do not spend an excessive amount of time in the left lane if they note that someone is behind them and clearly going faster than they are.

The only time you should be in the left lane is if you are passing (on an interstate). If you find that this is inconvenient because it causes you to have to change lanes too often, this is a clear indication that you are going too much faster than the overall traffic for safety.


Bob said...

I like how you worked in a Voltaire quote.

Tam said...

Phil K,

1) On the open interstate, I set my cruise control at 80-81 indicated, which is 79-80 actual. Since probably 85% of traffic is doing 3-5 over, this has me overtaking at a fairly sedate ~5mph differential at a speed low enough that I don't have to even react when I drive past Johnny Law engaged in revenuin' operations on the side of the road. He knows that bigger fish to fry will be along presently.

2) I don't tailgate. I signal my lane changes. Driving is a task like any other, and any task worth doing is worth doing well.

og said...

As someone who also drives thousands of miles in a month, I can with confidence say that the worst are trucks who pass one another in cruise; both are set to 55 but one has tires worn 3/32" smaller in circumference so the pass takes four miles.

When I had small fast cars, (bmw 2002, Probe GT) I drove them, because there is no point whatsoever in having a small, light car with a decent engine and a responsive suspension unless you DRIVE IT. I looked at maps for roads with twists and turns and threw the car down them over and over again, because that's what you DO with those cars- or motorcycles, for that matter.

I accepted the occasional ticket as the price of my enjoyment.

Aint it funny, as Carlin said, that everyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and everyone driving faster is a maniac?

skidmark said...

There are several thoughts on driving above the posted speed limit, as well as driving faster than the actual flow of traffc.

Then there is . Latest reports are that he is expected to live, and that he might have been attempting suicide after getting caught with weed and a 15-year old about an hour earlier.

I prefer to toddle along in the right lane about 3 mph over the posted limit. Several old studies suggest I'll arrive no more than 10 minutes after you after a 100+ mile drive.

stay safe.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

The Voltaire quote is correctly, "pour encourager les autres".

Yes, they forced me to take French in graduate school. And it was one of the instructor's favorite lines.

Tam said...


I didn't know there was a Sports Car Owner Purity Test. ;)

When I was younger, I used to take long roadtrips by state highways, now I find I'd rather just get there and save my pleasure driving for when the trunk and passenger seat aren't stuffed with ammo cans, rifle cases, range bags, and suitcases.

Besides, when I'm back in E.TN, just running to the grocery store involves more hills and curves than there are in this whole frickin' state. :D

Tam said...


The T/A in that video is doing at least a buck-ten-and-change and is passing on the shoulder, so I'm not sure it has much of anything to do with what's being discussed here.

"Several old studies suggest I'll arrive no more than 10 minutes after you after a 100+ mile drive."

Without delving into boring Time/Speed/Distance stuff, I'll just say that I like 60 and 80 because they make the math easier in my head. ;)

MaddMedic said...

100 miles a day through the always under construction I35, 494, I94 system in the Mpls/STP metro will drive a person to this!

Remember reading the short story years ago. Need to find it again.

Anonymous said...

There was a soul out here on the steppes whose retirement was heralded with great joy. Not by his co-workers, but by other people who regularly drove the same state highway as he did, and by the county and state patrols. Why? This cautious, careful driver always did 55, even when the limit was 70. If it was foggy, he did 40-45. He probably caused two fairly respectable chain-reaction wrecks because of people coming up on him, slamming on their brakes and . . . In good weather or bad. I always wondered if he also drove like that on the Interstates, or if he picked it up to 60?

Anonymous said...

I really don't care how fast you go just get out of the left lane when your not passing someone.

No the fact that you will eventualy pass that truck 2 miles ahead of you does not count as "passing".

Jersey drivers are terrible about this but Hoosiers are pretty damn close.


Unknown said...

"I really don't care how fast you go just get out of the left lane when your not passing someone. " - Amen

If I had lots of money I would personally fund a nation wide billboard campaign telling morons to stay out of the passing lane. Around here, there are folks who feel that it is a lane like any other, and will ride for an hour abreast of the car to their right while a half mile of angry drivers are right on their bumper.

The VSP has flatly stated that they look for these folks and can't wait to write them a ticket.

og said...

"I didn't know there was a Sports Car Owner Purity Test. ;)"

::wobbita:: wha..?

I musta not had enough coffee when I wrote that because I sure didn't intend to write anything of the sort.

There are two kinds of people who drive little sports cars: people who
a:"save my pleasure driving for when the trunk and passenger seat aren't stuffed with ammo cans, rifle cases, range bags, and suitcases."(but at least USE THE CARS THE WAY THEY WERE INTENDED TO BE USED ONCE IN A WHILE)


b: Old people.

The same is true of SUV's, imho; If you have a land rover or a Gwagon and have never had to hose mud out of the wheel wells, you have missed the point. This is not as purity test, it's just the way things are. Nic e thing is, you're still (for the moment) free to buy any vehicle you want if you can afford it or not.

GuardDuck said...

"they constantly drive too close behind folks who they consider to be driving too slowly."

Which wouldn't be an issue to begin with if those folks were using the left lane properly.

Bubblehead Les. said...

"...... Surprised when they reach their destination." The same old fool will have a stroke when they find out it's also LEGAL to make a Right Turn on Red!

Anonymous said...

People going a mere 5 OVER the limit in the left lane should be beaten to death. 15 UNDER should involve intense torture first.

CGHill said...

"Senseless" is redundant in this context: they're already senseless, as evidenced by the fact that they're going 15 under in the left lane.

Not that I feel compelled to brag, but maldrivage of this sort is illegal in Oklahoma. It says "Slower Traffic Keep Right," and they will enforce it. (After about the 22nd of the month, they will enforce it with vigor.)

Ed Skinner said...

A paint ball gun for every driver. When you see someone do something good, give their car a green mark. Something dumb gets a red splat.

And when you see a red car, watch out!

Stingray said...

And the ones who do 15-20 under when there is no chance to pass until you turn into a different parking lot should be locked in a room with hungry ferrets and a bag of chicken livers in their underoos. Normally I encourage folks I like to visit my hometown, but I think in your case if the two of us were in one car it could lead to an appearance on the evening news with NATO and UN involvement.

Anonymous said...

The left lane hogs are sort of like socialists, in this sense; you could beat them senseless, but they'd never understand why they're being beaten. -- Lyle

Darrell said...

In CO there are "Keep Right Except To Pass" and "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs along the highways. There are laws on the books, but they're not enforced. Grrrrr.

Anonymous said...

When I see someone coming up fast, I get out of the way. I'm not in their car, I don't know why they're going fast, and I am NOT justified in playing at sanctimonius righteous traffic blocker. Especially since I don't know their circumstance. I actually know someone who was a long way from a hospital, had limited time to get a relative there, and had no access to one of those nice brightly colored emergency-room-on-wheels-siren-equipped units that make other drivers get the heck out of the way (at least the ones that are conscious and aren't fresh off the boat). The person who was belted horizontally into the back seat lived because the person driving broke every single speed law in the books by VERY wide margins.

Stop the proselytizing about going too fast, and just get out of the way. Save the moral judgements for those whose circumstances you know. Intimately.

I sign off with a professional drivers lament:

The world is full of people who
Don't know where the're going,
Don't know how to get there,
Have all the time in the world to do it,
And drive like everyone else does too.


perlhaqr said...

Yeah. I got a ticket this last weekend for speeding when I went to pass someone who had been doing 50 in a 55 (on a two lane road) decided that the moment I went to pass was the time to start doing 60... which led to me doing 80 just to get around him, which was of course the precise moment the cop in the oncoming lane came around the bend. FML.