Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Driving in the Fast Lane

Most of my morning drive is on Hwy 78/I 22 with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. Being in a particularly zippy mood today, my cruise control was set on exactly 70. I was in the left hand lane, aka the fast lane, and driving as fast as the law allows. Since I think 70 mph is fast, as does the MS Highway Patrol, I was confident that I was earning my place in the fast lane as I zipped down the highway. 

I actually prefer to drive in the right hand lane, aka the slow lane, but as traffic would have it, there was already a car in the right hand lane.  As best I could tell, I was going about 3 miles per hour faster than the big black right-lane SUV. In fact, I have calculated the whole business out, and I was traveling 264 feet per minute faster than the SUV. It is a simple matter of physics to see that I would fairly quickly overtake the SUV and be clear to move into my dearly loved right hand lane. 

Apparently the people in the three cars behind me did not understand the high level calculations abounding in the blue Altima at the front of the line. Perhaps they had several problems. First of all, they must not have known what the speed limit of 70 mph means. No faster than 70 means you can go less, but not faster. I think they may have skipped out on Physics class, too. Actually, a basic math class could have provided the information they so desperately needed. If one car is going faster than another car, the faster car will move ahead of the slower car. 

That was exactly what was happening. My car was going 264 feet per minute faster than the car in the right lane. Since I was already going so much faster, I saw no need to increase my speed any further. It was apparent I would soon be able to move to the right hand lane.  Those grouchy people in the left lane behind me were not happy. They had less than a minute to wait before their NASCAR audition, aka date with the Highway Patrol, but they were in an insane hurry. 

It is pointless to try to hurry me along by riding my bumper. I do not like that and there is just no telling what could happen. I can envision several scenarios and none are good. For more reasons than one. It is also pointless to try to thread the needle with your car, especially if my car is nearly parallel with the car in the right lane. Again, a basic math class could have been so helpful.  

Just so you know, I am not likely to be hurried, especially if I am already traveling  264 feet per minute faster then the car in the right hand lane! It is also not likely that I can move over into the right lane when my car is almost completely PARALLEL with the car in the right lane. Duh. If I move over, there will be a crash. Give me at least 60 seconds. 

I understand the need to get to work on time. That's why I get up at 5:05 every morning. It's why I follow a very tight schedule and leave on time every day. Well almost every day. On those days when I am late, I figure the patients will understand as they are often late, too. 

I do not understand this need to break the speed limit laws the first thing in the morning! What kind of day do they expect to have if they start by being a law-breaker? Being grumpy and sending not-nice hand signals are also not the way to start a happy loving day. 

If you are one of the bumper-riding, math-forgetting, speed demon maniacs behind me, I have this to say: QUIT IT. Pretty is as pretty does, and what I saw this morning was not at all attractive. If you slow down a bit, you could smile and wave at the driver of the blue Altima that will mostly be in the right hand lane.  You could also arrive in one piece, save a few cents on gas, and avoid an expensive ticket.

Tomorrow, try driving in the right hand lane.  Obey the speed laws. Use your hands to hold the steering wheel or to wave (not the other! What would your mama think?) Just be nice - in your car as well as out. 

Have a safe ride!