October 25th, 2014
| | Posted in Musings
Yesterday I realized that I have been hating the wrong group of people, or maybe it was the right group of people but for the wrong reason.
I’m on side streets most every day driving someone somewhere, going to the gym, or going grocery shopping. Mind you I am not unaccustomed to life in the fast lane, and I mean literally in the fast lane on the 10 in Los Angeles, cruising at 60-70 MPH in commuter traffic, everyone watching 2 cars ahead because we’re only 2 car lengths behind the car in front of us. Lots of trust in one’s fellow man. Of course, that was 20-30 years ago and I can’t really speak to what traffic conditions are like in LA nowadays, much less whether my nerves would handle the wild driving I used to routinely participate in on the way to work.
So I certainly can understand that most driving behavior is contingent on several factors, not the least of which is the posted speed limit. Hence, tailgating is a forgivable offense when in traffic where leaving the “suggested” 1 car length per 10 MPH would result in cars repeatedly diving in front of you. What is not so forgivable in my book is not the California roll-through stops, the late left turn on reds, the aggressive lane changers…no, these are irritating, but close enough to legal that it’s clear the drivers were just looking for a little edge or convenience. Instead, what deserves a special place in hell are those people who speed down the emergency lane/right shoulder past dozens of cars stopped and waiting legally to get to the off ramp. Bad people. Bad, bad people. I’m guessing they are drug dealers or users, hit men, or other low life.
Sorry…I got off on that one a bit. But it really does get me riled when someone views they are more important than the rest of us and and willing to break the law to prove it. Not far behind in my book are tailgaters in every day side street driving. I try and drive close to the speed limit. No tickets for me since 1975, other than a bogus trap executed by the Nevada Highway Patrol wherein they ticket those people who don’t move out of the right lane when there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder of the road. In my case there were 3 of Nevada’s finest playing leap frog on the last day of August, filling their ticket quotas. The kicker is they weren’t even in the emergency lane but a good 10 feet from the edge of the right lane. STILL NOT HAPPY.
Back to the tailgaters…I have been cursing the speeders all this time, mostly because I’m driving close to the speed limit and can see ‘em a coming in my rear view mirror. They are closing the gap and typically end up about 1-2 car lengths off my rear bumper. Their message is clear…MOVE IT SLOWPOKE! Only one lane so they can’t legally pass and their frustration is palpable. As for me, I’m wondering where the fire is and who in the heck do they think they are that they can blast down the road at 5-10 MPH over the posted 25 limit?
I could pull over and let them pass, and in fact did recently in Las Vegas, where admittedly I wasn’t as certain that the average resident there was as “safe” as I might find on the streets of Orem. I did chuckle a bit when despite his driving 10 over I caught up to him at the next signal. But if I start pulling over for every bone head speeder that comes charging up from behind I might be pulling over an awful lot. So I don’t.
Yet I am certainly aware that the speeder is there, oh baby do I know he/she is there. Lurking like a land shark, cursing me for my insistence on driving 25-28 in a 25 zone. Has it ever occurred to them WHY that is the speed limit? Like maybe barreling along at 35 in a residential area wouldn’t give them adequate time to stop? And it’s not just Orem. I’ve been at my mom’s house and seen what I bet are folks headed to the temple blasting up her 25 MPH residential street at 40 so they can make it to the session on time. Sheesh.
I recognize that my own driving might actually impact those behind me at times, especially around traffic circles. I rarely use my brake, and in fact occasionally speed up for certain traffic circles. Some of the most fun one can have safely in a moving vehicle. (For those who live locally, my all time most favorite traffic circle is just south of Nielson’s Grove at 2000 South and Sandhill Road in Orem. Yee haw!) So, after I zig and zag my way through the traffic circle, I check my rear view mirror and lo and behold my shadow is now 8+ car lengths behind…at least for the moment. (Side note…why is it so many people can’t drive traffic circles very well? Sad.) Then old Lead Foot comes a roaring up to my bumper again in no time at all. Miss me? Where’d ya go big guy?
Clearly they were speeding, and perhaps I damaged their egos by zooming through that traffic circle and leaving them in the dust, legally. Maybe they perceive that I’m a player and the game is on. Sorry to disappoint…I just love curves, but prefer to keep it legal.
The epiphany was this: I’m not really bothered by speeders, it’s when speeders become tailgaters that it gets my attention. And true…they are probably the same group of people because it’s rare that I see a speeder come up from behind and stay the correct distance off my bumper. Oh, it does happen, and maybe more than I realize because they wouldn’t get my attention until they are filling up my rear view mirror.
I used to tap my brakes when someone got to close, just like my mother does at age 81. Well, at least she did until last year she got followed home by an angry tailgater. I have utilized the sun roof to salute the occasional tailgater too, although I’ve had to rethink that strategy since getting a custom license plate KYANI4U and a Kyäni sticker in the back window. Bad for business. I’ve wished for some of 007′s tricks, like being able to blast oil onto the road or maybe just a well placed missile. Truly, I have no sense of humor or even decency when it comes to tailgaters. Please. Just. Die.
I was griping about tailgaters with my mother today whilst we were out driving around and mentioned that I wished that I could shoot them. With a gun. Her response was “that would be murder.” Yes, Mother.
I’m not really a violent person and I don’t own a gun. My son Kevin has a better coping strategy than I do when it comes to speeders and tailgaters. He just assumes they are on the way to the emergency room. That has now become a bit of a joke when he is in the car, yet I know that he is wrong. They aren’t going to the emergency room. As far as I’m concerned they are all going to hell.