Sunday, March 28, 2010

Police Perpetually Stuck Behind Me

I was wondering yesterday if police officers always get annoyed by having to drive behind slow people. I was driving behind a police car (actually two) with another car in front of them. Most people drive the speed limit when a police car is behind them. That means that whenever a police car is behind someone, it is going to have to go the speed limit. From the police car's perspective, it is like they are always behind me. I figure that must be really annoying. And to confirm that the police car didn't want to be going that slowly, I watched as the car in front turned off and the police car started going much faster.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hanging out on the Left

The other day I was driving in the left lane (40 m.p.h. road with two lanes in each direction) because I had about half a mile to make a left turn. When there is a lot of traffic on that road (as there was that day), it is difficult to get from the right lane to the left at the last minute. A big yellow Hummer had gotten stuck in the right lane behind some cars making a right turn (that is the point I went to the left and passed the Hummer along with a bunch of other cars). I guess the driver of the Hummer was already angry because when he finally got out of the right lane, he got behind me. At the first opportunity he zipped into the right lane and back to the left in front of me and started gesturing that I should get over to the right. Right away, I turned on my blinker because my left turn was approaching. I hope he saw it and felt like an idiot...but I doubt it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Change the World

I have noticed that there are fewer cars behind me on my morning drive. I don't mean fewer tailgaters; I mean fewer cars at all. More and more often, I find big stretches of my drive with no one behind me. This morning, for half of my longest 30 m.p.h. stretch, the road was empty. For the rest of the drive, I generally had one person behind me.

Let's assume for a minute that I am somehow the cause of this (I'm sure I'm not, but I can still dream). Are cars realizing that this route is slow and picking alternate routes? Are cars slowing down so fewer are catching up to be behind me?

In reality, I can't imagine I am making that much of a difference (if any at all), but I was thinking, how many cars driving the speed limit on the same set of roads would it take to make a significant change? I could imagine that if someone had a similar schedule and ended up behind me a lot, that person might choose to do something different (drive more slowly, take an alternative route, enroll in an anger management program...), but my driving wouldn't have that big an impact on that many people (if any). Now, imagine there were 2 or 3 or 10 cars that drove that route around the same time at the speed limit. How many would it take before the route got a reputation for being slow?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Late for a Haircut

I got a haircut today. I was not running late, but I remembered driving to get a haircut a few months ago when I was late. I was driving behind someone who was going really slowly, and I was really frustrated. On the whole 30-minute route from my office, there are only a couple of places to pass, and there were cars coming every time. I was angry and frustrated and late. The way I remember it, the old woman was driving well below the speed limit.

Well, today, I was that old woman (I'm not old; and I'm not a woman). I'm sure the people behind me were mad and frustrated and sure I was driving well below the speed limit even though I was driving just above it.

How's my driving in front

On my way to work today, I was driving in front of a couple of commercial vehicles, the kind that might have a sign on the back: "How's my driving? Call 800-xxx-xxxx." These commercial vehicles weren't really too bad; they got a little too close but not scary close. But I was thinking that it might be nice to have those "How's my driving" signs on the front so someone could report a commercial vehicle that was a really bad tailgater.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun with Chevy

I picked up a yellow Chevy as my tailgater for the most of the first part of my drive. When I turned onto the 40 m.p.h. stretch, I lost him. It wasn't until halfway through the next 30 m.p.h. stretch that he came up behind me again. I wonder if he stopped for a cup of coffee or just drives 40 all the time so he couldn't catch up with me until the speed limit went down.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Driving Alone

For half of my longest 30 m.p.h. stretch, I was all alone. I couldn't see any cars in front of me or behind me. You would think that this would be relaxing, but I kept thinking that either I could drive really slowly, or I should drive a little faster to make sure that no one caught up with me. I did just keep the same pace, but I was worried the whole time that someone would catch up and "ruin" my beautiful "stress-free" private drive. I got all the way to the traffic light (about mid-way through this road) and no one caught up to me. At the traffic light, cars came in behind me, and it wasn't until then that I realized how relaxed I had been. It wasn't even that the car behind me was tailgating, but I was collect a bit of a line of cars, and I was much tenser. I realized that even though I can't completely relax with no one behind me, it is much better than the alternative.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

50 is the new 40

I was driving with my wife, who, by the way, is an excellent driver. However, she does not always obey the speed limit as much as I do. That is to say, that, when it comes to the speed limit, she drives like everybody else. We were driving down a road near us with 2 lanes in each direction and a 40 m.p.h. speed limit. She was driving about 50 m.p.h. What amazed me was that, if I hadn't looked at the speedometer, I would have thought that she was driving 40. I would have thought this by the way the cars were zipping by her. It wasn't amazing to me that cars drive fast but that 50 seemed like 40 because cars were still zipping by. I wonder if anyone would have tailgated or given her the finger if there wasn't a lane to pass.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I couldn't imagine doing this

My daughters had a Sunday school teacher who said that whenever her kids catch her going over the speed limit, she had to pay them 50 cents. I don't know if this was really true, but I always thought that that was crazy because everyone drives over the speed limit. The average speed on highways is at least 10 m.p.h. over the speed limit and probably about the same on other roads. I could never imagine driving the speed limit. Now, look at me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Texting While Driving on My Tail

I was driving along at 30 m.p.h., and a black Honda SUV came up behind me pretty close. I have been tailgated more closely, so it wasn't anything unusual. When we pulled up to a red light, I looked back in my rear-view mirror to try to see if she was on her cell phone. I was pleased to see that she wasn't. Well, at least she didn't have anything up against her ear. Then I noticed that she had the cell phone in her hand next to the steering wheel, and she was texting. Once the light changed, I couldn't tell for sure if she continued to text, but I did notice her glancing down at the cell phone regularly. Then, to top it off, after the light, she started to show all the signs of being really impatient. She put her hand up (in an exasperated, not obscene, gesture) and even went over to the shoulder like she was going to pass, but I don't think it was really wide enough. Maybe she got an urgent text at the light and was more anxious about getting to work.