Thursday, June 2, 2011


This song is dedicated to the black Toyota Camry who followed me halfway to work:

It's summertime
And the driving is easy
The road crews are working
And the traffic is light

Your fuel is rich
And your car is good looking
So slow, little baby

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Therapy Couch

This morning I was driving behind a black Honda that was driving near the speed limit. I was very excited. I kept hoping the car wouldn't turn off a different direction than I was going so I could stay behind it. It lasted three-quarters of my ride to work.

However, I started thinking: Why am I so excited about this? Since this blog is my therapy couch, I'll share and hopefully have a breakthrough. My excitement stemmed from the fact that the line of cars behind us couldn't blame me for slowing them down. I was excited that their anger would be directed at someone else, not me. Since this is therapy, I'm coming to understand how foolish that is. What difference does it make whether if the other drivers direct their anger at the anonymous driver of this black car (me) or that black car (the driver of the Honda). Why should I really care?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Self-Righteousness Alert

When you do something like driving the speed limit, it is easy to get overly self-righteous so it is good to get reminders not to do that. This morning, I passed a stopped school bus. A woman had stopped coming the other direction and gave me a look that could be either horror (like I had just run over her son) or righteous indignation as she screamed "NO" at me through her closed window. The problem was that the school bus was not stopping to pick up kids at a bus stop. As it pulled over to the side and put flashers on, I waited a few seconds, but it never put it's stop sign out and there were no kids in sight. It was just stopping for some other reason, and it is perfectly legal to pass a school bus that is just parking. This is great reminder to me to remember that even when I'm right, I'm not always right. I need to keep in check any indignation or horror over someone going a bit faster than I am going or even someone passing me in questionable circumstances. Sometimes, I might not be right.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Illegal Passing Epidemic

I think it's been about four times in the last week that I have been passed illegally. I wrote about a couple of those times here and here, and it happened again this morning. This was the least dangerous one, but it is still a disturbing trend. This time it happened within half a mile of my house. He got behind me on one of the 25 m.p.h., and I knew he was trouble when he started shaking his head, but he seemed to be distracted by his coffee so I thought he would back off. We turned onto a 30 m.p.h. road, he got close, and took another sip of his coffee. Then he went around me on the right. The road is pretty wide at that point, but it is still one lane--if they painted narrow lines, it possibly could be two lanes, but it is only that wide for about 500 ft so it's not worth it. Of course, like the others, his passing didn't buy him more than 5 seconds. We got to a light that happened to be green, and he turned right onto a road with two real lines in each direction. Even if I were turning ahead of him, he could have legally passed me immediately in the left lane.

Even though this episode was pretty minor, it is part of a really disturbing trend. My whole point of driving the speed limit is to drive more safely. It's as if these people are trying to balance out my added safety by driving more dangerously.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Red Infiniti pulls up behind me and tailgates me most of the way to work. At some point she started driving a bit erratically. It looked like she had pulled out her cell phone and started texting. I can only imagine what she was texting, but I imagine it was something like ILBL8 to let someone know she was driving behind some annoyingly slow driver. Finally about two minutes from my office (and 30 seconds from a spot where the road widens to two lanes in each direction), she passed me on the right shoulder. Just past where she passed me, there is a speed trap about once a month, but it wasn't there this morning. Too bad. She could have been nabbed for speeding, passing on the shoulder, and texting while driving.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gamifying Speed Cameras

I heard a story about a new idea: gamifying speed cameras:

Apparently, in Sweden they have tried this. Instead of the money collected from speed cameras going to the government, the profits go into a lottery. The lottery winners are selected from the people who drove by the speed camera at or below the speed limit. The way it works is that the cameras not only take pictures of speeders; they also take pictures of everyone going at or below the speed limit. The story said that it has been quite successful in Sweden.

Looney Lexus Lady

I can understand that people want to go faster than I go and don't want to be stuck behind me. I've been there. Even now as I drive the speed limit, I get frustrated when I get behind someone driving slower than I am. What I don't understand is someone taking stupid risks to get past me. On my way to work this morning, a lady in a blue Lexus got behind me. I could tell there was trouble because she kept slipping over toward the lane for oncoming traffic. We got past my accident scene (it's now been almost a year and a half) to a stop sign. Just after the stop sign is a slightly windy uphill road. She took that opportunity to cross the double-yellow line and whiz by me. I wouldn't say that the visibility is zero at that point, but it is pretty low. If a car had been coming (perhaps, someone driving as fast as she wanted to), she would have never seen it coming. She was very lucky.

Then, of course, comes the best part. The road ends about a quarter of a mile ahead of that, and she got stuck behind five cars waiting at the stop sign. I wonder if she saw me laughing as I pulled up right behind her (and if she knew I was laughing at her). As we both turned the same direction she tried to go fast, but, alas, the traffic would not allow. I mostly kept her in my sight for another 10-15 minutes when I saw her turn off at a traffic light. Had she stayed behind me, and not risked her life to pass me, she would have been a total of 10 seconds behind where she was.