Driving Observation – It’s hard to get pulled over for anything done on the highways now it appears. In some ways really kind of funny and sad at the same time. It’s like we are in charge of our own highways and just like in other facets of life some will take advantage of that to the point where it endangers others for no other selfish reason than it is for their own fun or sense of self-importance.
Think about it, are you seeing anyone pulled over now? Do you see as many police patroling or speed traps or general equipment stops? Hasn’t the average speed increased by 10-15 mph? And on the top end, the number of people hitting triple digits is higher than ever before.
During the pandemic when roads weren’t as crowded a lot of people just got used to cruising faster. Think about it, you have been driving on choked beautiful roads for decades and then all of a sudden the gates are open and there is minimal traffic it naturally trended higher. But as people came out and roads started getting more crowded we didn’t change.
And while the roads may be designed and built for speeds greater than 55mph and the natural flow of traffic elevates to those levels when you take away the enforcement of 55. It still doesn’t take into effect that the margin of error is now reduced.
The thing I find most dangerous now is the disparity of speeds. You have groups that will do the 55-65mph, then there is the vast majority now that hums along in the 65-80 range. But there has been an ever-expanding group in the 80mph to infinity range.
With speeds increased and disparity in speed increased on the same roads, and you take into account some people’s driving abilities even at the reduced speeds were questionable are now trying to cope and maneuver with higher speeds and you have more serious accidents.
Did I miss hearing Michael Buffer announcing “Gentleman Start Your Enginesssssss” because it certainly feels like a race at times? As highways in this congested area returned to normal pre-pandemic times traffic volume certainly reduced speeds but when they open up even slightly now it seems its pedal to the floorboard for a lot of people still.
I always found the logic I used while riding a motorcycle for a few decades taught me and proved useful. Pretend everyone is an idiot who doesn’t look around them before doing anything. Pretend you are invisible to everyone else. In other words, be very alert, use your mirrors. Next is to pick your position. If you see the madness in front of you, drop back and leave some room, so when they start crashing into each other your well back. If you see madness behind you accelerate and get away from it.
You know what I’m talking about, people switching lanes abruptly, people tailgating, someone brake checking, the guys coming up on you from behind at double the speed limit, passing on the shoulder or exit lanes, and the increasingly older population who forgets where they are going half the time. We are all in such a rush we don’t give that space anymore.
And even if you do give space you got some selfish prick who will take advantage of it and cut you off. I think it’s only a matter of time where you’re going to see increased violence on the roads with either their own cars as weapons or actual fights and guns coming out.
It’s almost inevitable now. Even if 80% abides by some general format the 20% independent part will do whatever it wants because of their freedoms. And that is a large enough percentage to disrupt the whole cart.
So even though I enjoy driving very much, I find myself picking different roads, different times when I can, and sometimes a different vehicle. For instance, if I have to drive downtown in the future I have an old beater now where if someone wants to chicken which is always the case in D.C. I have no issues at all, bring it on. I don’t think a Jag is going to try to cut off a 2008 Chevy Cobalt on its last legs.
Yeah, I still chirp the tires for fun once in a while. Or hit 70 or 75mph when I’m not paying attention and find myself going with the flow of traffic on an interstate or beltway. But most of the time I’m the guy getting passed on the road because I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere. And even when I am in a hurry now I THINK and say to myself, is it worth it to be in a hurry, the answer is no.
I’ve always believed a car is like a gun. It’s a loaded weapon. And as we see with guns there are a lot of people who don’t have any respect for life. And it’s the same on the highways.
I wonder if we will start using technology to get control. Probably won’t happen till I stop driving. It certainly lends itself to getting some kind of control.