Driving – like walking – is an inherently individualistic activity. We each have our own pace, destination and timeframe. Some of us are faster walkers than others. Some prefer to take their time. The same applies to driving – or should.
Because government controls driving – and imposes an inherently artificial and one-size-fits-all regime on everyone – punishing any deviation from its rules, not because someone was harmed but only because someone deviated from the rules.
And the worst part is that many people think this is ok. Get mad when someone questions it. Cheer when someone is punished for not toeing the line. Some make it their business to impose the code on others, by refusing to yield as a notorious for-instance. Or speeding up (temporarily) to thwart a pass. Then resuming their slow-motion pace.
But it’s accepted when it comes to driving because of conditioning. Much in the same way that people are conditioned to accept the idea that when government takes your money and calls it “taxes” it’s not theft. Or that you have given your “consent” to an action of the government’s you weren’t even consulted about – but which nonetheless imposes an obligation on you to obey.
Let’s uncondition ourselves.
Is it a moral failing to drive faster- or slower – than others? Of course not. You may be punished for the statutory offense of “speeding” if you drive faster than whatever the arbitrary number on the sign happens to be, but you haven’t committed a moral affront because you haven’t harmed anyone.
The moral failing is refusing to accommodate others who prefer to drive faster or slower than our pace.
To avoid this requires paying attention – and taking appropriate action.
It requires, most of all, consideration for others.
If, for example, you notice that another car is coming up behind you, about to overtake you, the appropriate thing to do is yield by moving over to the right (or even briefly off onto the shoulder, if necessary) to enable the overtaking car to continue on its way. Ideally, without its driver having to brake/slow to get around you.
Similarly, if you are the faster driver, don’t tailgate or crowd the slower-moving car up ahead. If he is paying attention and isn’t conditioned (“I’m doing the speed limit!”) he will yield and both of you will continue on your respective ways at your respective paces – each of you happy and not causing hassle (or harm) to the other.
Government presumes the opposite. Which is why (among other things) legal passing zones are becoming very few and far between – and the few that remain effectively useless, because it is technically illegal to “speed” even when attempting to pass. Which of course makes passing legally very dangerous. If the car ahead is running 39 and the speed limit is 45 and you are not allowed to exceed 45 to pass the car doing 39, it will take a long time to pass. So long that passing is almost impossible, unless the passing zone is a half a mile long and there is no traffic coming in the other lane.
This puts the driver who wishes to pass in the position of having to risk a ticket for “speeding” to perform a safe pass – or not risk a ticket and attempt an unsafe pass or accept having to creep along at the slowpoke pace of the car ahead.
And they wonder why there is rage on the roads.
The situation is analogous to being required by law to walk no faster than the old man shuffling down the sidewalk in front of you – the old man having been conditioned not only to be willfully indifferent to others around him but encouraged to physically block other pedestrians with his body and get angry with people trying to get around him or walk faster than he is walking.
Libertarians have a different idea that takes account of individuals – and of individual differences. And the idea that flows from it of live – and let live.
It entails much more than yielding to faster-moving traffic (and not bullying slower-moving traffic). It entails consideration and anticipation.
You are driving on a road with two travel lanes. There are other drivers waiting to merge from side streets. You can see them up ahead. If you do see them, try to help them by moving over to the left lane (if you can) so that the right/merge lane is free.
You are waiting at a red light, with a left turn lane adjacent. Pull your car forward to close the gap between you and the car ahead, so that cars behind you can pull into the turn lane.
Don’t back into a parking spot if you can’t do it quickly and your back and forthing is making other people wait on you.
Use your turn signals well ahead of when you intend to make your turn.
It’s not necessarily “the law” (and often, it is against the law) but it is the right thing to do.
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