22 February 2013


For the second time in a week, today, I was on a highway in conditions that scream of imminent death. This time it was my drive back down from Gone West, and rain instead of ice.

I have driven in blizzards that I would prefer to that type of deluge. At least snow does not get kicked up by semis so that you cannot see even to the front of the cab to know where there might be another car. I finally had to slow down to stay behind the semi, but I couldn't get far enough back to avoid blocking both lanes of traffic (there was a car immediately behind me and one immediately behind the semi, and neither of them were going anywhere, not even to allow space so they wouldn't cause a pile-up if a car appeared in front of me or the semi). 

When I first started driving, I thought of highway driving as a dance: you move across lanes, you speed up, you slow down.

Now I've decided it's a dance to which only half the people know the rules. 

If I just moved over to let you merge smoothly, maybe it would be nice if you did not then drive right next to me at exactly my speed for a mile until I have to hit my brakes hard to avoid running into the back of a pickup? See how one gives and one takes? I let you merge; you drive fast enough to get past me when you move into the passing lane. Otherwise, just slow down a wee bit and get back in behind my car. 

No one should ever have to use their brakes except to tap off the cruise control. If you make me hit my brakes because you won't just pass me, you have broken the social contract of highway driving.

Also, if I ruled the world, there would be strict penalties for not getting back into the right lane as soon as you can see the headlights of the car you just passed in your rear view mirror (assuming there is not another vehicle you must immediately pass).

Manners, I tell you. Basic human courtesy. 

(I sound like a cranky old person. So be it.)

No comments: