Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Cross to Bear?

Today, I was tailgated much of the way to work by a woman with a big cross hanging from her rearview mirror. I found it oddly amusing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Foggy Day Ramblings

Today I don't want to talk about the guy in the black Lexus who tailgated me most of the way to work (and then when he passed me got stack in the other lane as I drove by). Instead, I want to talk about other driving annoyances. It is very foggy this morning, and I am surprised at how many cars are driving without their lights on. As I watched cars coming in the other direction, I noticed how big a difference it made; I could see the cars with lights coming long before I could see the ones without lights. Given that there are virtually no negative consequences to driving with the lights on, I can't understand why people just don't do it. By the way, in case you think the fog's not dangerous, it was pretty obvious that it is from listening to the morning traffic report: far more accidents than usual.

That got me thinking about what to do when traffic lights aren't working...and this is more related to tailgating. Everyone should know that if you come to a traffic light that is not working, you are supposed to treat it like a four-way stop. But no one ever does. This reminds me of driving the speed limit because if you do stop at a broken traffic light, you get the same dirty looks and gestures that I get when driving the speed limit. And given that no one else is doing it, it is not clear whether it is safer to follow the rules or not.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Penn Jillette Drives 55 and Likes Stupid

This article by Penn Jillette (from Penn and Teller) caught my eye and fits here because he says, "My little Mini doesn't go way fast, but even in drive-fast-take-chances Nevada I rarely go faster than 55 miles per hour." He also lays out an interesting argument why freedom and stupid go together.

Three-Car Pileup

I wasn't in a three-car pileup, but I was imagining it last week as a car was tailgating me, and the car behind him was tailgating him. I imagined that if I had to stop suddenly for any reason, two cars would have plowed into me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Serial Tailgaters

Last week I was driving on the highway, and I noticed a common phenomenon: serial tailgaters. I have come to expect a little tailgating (less on the highway than the back roads because no one wants to go 30), but I realized it's not just me. At least a couple of times, I would be driving along in the right lane going the speed limit, and a car would pull up right behind me. The traffic in the other lanes would be moving along at a much faster pace (probably 5-10 m.p.h. more in the middle lane and another 5-10 more in the left lane). After about 30 seconds, the tailgater behind me would make his way over into the next lane...and sit right on the tail of someone going 5-10 m.p.h. faster. Then, after another 30 seconds, the tailgater would make his way to the left lane and sit right on the tail of someone going another 5-10 m.p.h. faster.

I don't like it, but I can understand someone tailgating a slow-poke like me (although it's pretty rude when I'm in the right lane and not below the speed limit), but on more than one occasion I've seen these serial tailgaters simply tailgating whoever is in front of them even if they're going more than 70 in a 50 zone.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I'm gonna buy me a big yellow bus

I spent a big chunk of my drive this morning two cars behind a big yellow school bus (fortunately, it didn't stop to pick up any children while I was behind it). The school bus was doing something amazing. It was driving the speed limit without being tailgated. There was a big line of cars behind it but no one was tailgating. I guess everyone was expecting the school bus to drive the speed limit, and no one seemed too upset. What if I were to buy a school bus, maybe just one of the van-size ones. I could drive around, and no one would bother me.

I think I'm losing it...having fantasies about driving a school bus.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Automated Speed Sign

A couple of weeks ago, they put an automated speed sign up just past where my accident was. It is one of those signs that tells you that the speed limit is 30 and then tells you how fast you are going. They took the sign away yesterday. I'm sure the sign makes a difference while it is there, but I wonder if it makes any difference once it is gone. Because there are no consequences, is suspect that this has less of a long-term impact than a speed trap. With a speed trap, it comes and goes and people don't want to pay a fine. I'm sure people don't want to be reminded that they are speeding, but when they are not being reminded, they don't care. With the speed trap, some people will get to know that speed traps are sometimes in that area and make an effort to slow down at least for a little while.

In our neighborhood, they built some new houses and widened a road nearby. The speed limit remained 25. A couple of years ago, they regularly had speed traps there although they are rare now. I don't know if the speed traps had a lasting impact, but I think people slowed down for quite a while after they were gone. I'm guessing that by next week, any lingering effect of the automated speed sign will be gone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gender Issues

This week I'm exploring (in my head) whether I'm more comfortable being tailgated by a woman or a man. So far, as I have been paying attention to this, I seem to be more relaxed when a woman is following too closely. Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that I have never been gestured at by a woman. I've seen the look of exasperation from, but never directed (directly) at me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Slow Down for the Speed Trap -- Slow Way Down

I was driving on I-95 in a 65 m.p.h. zone. The traffic wasn't going much faster than 65 (maybe averaging 70). All of a sudden the brake lights came on and traffic slowed down to 50. Why? There was a police car on the side of the road, probably a speed trap. I can understand why everyone would want to slow down to 65, but I still can't figure out why we had to go all the way to 50.