Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Right-Lane Tailgater

I got a good laugh on Monday. I was driving on the highway during rush hour, but traffic was light because of the holiday. I was in the right lane, and a car came up behind me and sat on my tail. Did I mention I was in the right lane with two lanes to my left? After a couple of miles of this, the car zipped into the next lane over, passed me, and got back into the right lane. Did I mention that he could have done this two miles earlier? Immediately, after passing me, he got "stuck" behind another car in front of me, still in the right lane. Did I mention that I put "stuck" in quotation marks because traffic was light? A little while later, the right lane slowed down so I easily got into the next lane and passed the right-lane tailgater. I thought that, perhaps, he just needed to get off at the next exit, but I kept an eye on him, and he passed at least a couple of exits before I lost track. I think he just like the right lane and still wanted to go as fast as possible. I'm sorry it didn't work out for him, but I got a good laugh out of it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Car Talk Used to Drive the Speed Limit

This week's Car Talk (, call #7) featured a caller who drives the speed limit. He was looking for a way to signal to other drivers that he is driving slower than they might like. One of the car talk guys said he used to drive the speed limit but fell off the wagon recently and started speeding and driving in the breakdown lane. I sent him this letter (in case you don't listen to the show, calling them "knuckleheads" is par for the course and not the least bit insulting:-)

Dear Knuckleheads,

This week you were talking to someone who drove "slowly," and one of you (I can never tell which of you is which) mentioned that he had just stopped obeying the law while driving. I have diagnosed his problem, and it is Exo-self-righteous-itis. He fell off the wagon because he is too concerned with other people. The trick to obeying the law is not to be a self-righteous jerk and try to make everyone else do what you do; it is to worry about yourself and lead by example. Now, his example is being a knucklehead and driving on the shoulder to save two minutes at great risk to himself and others. I have been blogging about driving the speed limit since I have been doing it for about a year and a half. Check it out at:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Speed Cameras: How Do They Know?

I was driving on the highway last night through a work zone. The work zone speed limit is 50 m.p.h., and I was going 40 (the car in front of me was going slowly so I couldn't get up to 50). We passed by a speed camera, and I saw the flash of the light in my rearview mirror as it caught someone speeding (probably the guy next to me who hit the gas at just the wrong moment). However, I'm really curious as to how (and if) it knows whom to cite. The camera seems to take a still picture of a whole range of cars. My (not speeding) car must be in the picture right next to the speeding car, but you can't tell from a still picture. I guess (I hope) it is sophisticated enough to know who is speeding and who is not.

On a related note, I'm finding the speed cameras in this work zone to be very curious. First, I have noticed that speeds are generally down in the work zone, which is a good thing. When they first started with the speed cameras, the light would flash like flashbulbs at a rock concert, basically constantly. Now, they only flash occasionally.

However, the speed cameras are not there all the time (they're mounted in special trucks on the side of the road and can move around). I have noticed that they are almost always there at night and rarely there during the day. The goal is to increase safety, especially of the workers, in work zones. However, in this particular work zone, they are not working at night so it seems like they are there at the wrong time.