Thou Shall Not Pass . . .

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This country is painted over with double yellow bars – a sort of rolling-ribbon prison, from which escape is not possible. Legal passing zones – always rare – are becoming almost nonexistent. Painted over – for no readily discernible reason.

Well, actually, there is a reason:

It is the purposeful discouragement of active – as opposed to passive – driving. This to pave the way for automated cars. To acclimate people to soporific transportation. To get them used to being meatsacks.

Superficially, the effacing of passing zones is justified on the claim that the act is inherently unsafe – and within the straightjacket idiocy of the laws as they exist, this is absolutely true.

Car “A” is moping along at 42 in an (underposted) 45 MPH zone. The driver of car “B” (and cars “C” and “D” stuck in the conga line) would like to proceed at a reasonable speed – at least the speed limit. But – legally speaking – the act of passing car “A” is almost an impossibility.

To do so would require temporarily exceeding the speed limit of 45 MPH – at least, if it is to be done safely.

To perform it legally means attempting to pass car “A” – traveling at 42 MPH – at a pace no faster than the maximum speed limit of 45 MPH.

A difference of 3 MPH.

The passing car – if you can call it that – will need an eighth to a quarter of a mile, at least, to execute this slow-motion maneuver. Not many such straight stretches – free of traffic in the opposing lane – exist.

A legal pass is thus rendered effectively not-doable. Might as well paint it double yellow.

The safe pass, meanwhile, entails risking a ticket for “speeding.” Possibly – these days – a “reckless driving” ticket.

Catch 22.

Most people, therefore, do not even try to pass anymore. Whether nominally legal or not. Rather than risk the ticket, or attempt what is palpably unsafe, they will queue up in a conga, accepting their fate.

This is exactly as intended – the object of the exercise being to make driving a boring, frustrating experience such that most people will not miss it once it’s been eliminated entirely. Give them gadgets to peck, email to check. 

Why bother with driving when you can’t anymore?

This is why the young, especially, are largely indifferent to cars. There’s not much fun involved and very little in the way of freedom. Indeed, the opposite. Cars, to them, are a boring encumbrance. An expensive boring encumbrance.

It is also why the emphasis of new car design has shifted away from what the car can do – in terms of its performance capabilities – to the techno-gadgets it touts. To keep people’s minds off driving.

Which has come to suck – unless you drive like an outlaw. Few are willing.

And so, the slow-pokey.

Log-jammed traffic now exists almost everywhere – even in rural areas. Not so much because there are more vehicles using the road, but because of the soporification of drivers, who have been cowed into such a state of drone-like passivity as to approximate unconsciousness.

The light turns green and they eventually notice. The cars gradually creep forward – each invariably keeping exact pace with the car to its left or right.

None shall pass. Because most won’t.

It only takes one to jam up the works.

The systematic painting over of formerly legal passing zones is just confirmation of a fait accompli. It is of a piece with accepting that you’re 80 and can’t get it up anymore. Except in this case, the wilting is not natural but artificially imposed on a man of 35.

Once upon a time – it is hard to imagine this –  new cars touted their passing gear performance. Drivers were taught to use that performance.

One applied downward pressure to the accelerator pedal. The transmission would kick down – and the car would accelerate.

The object was to quickly – and so, safely – pass the slow-mover.

The slow-motion pass is a modern idiocy, along with the Pilot Car.

Well, idiocy is the wrong word given the intentionality behind it. From the point of view of the “nudging” technocrats behind it – the acolytes of Cass Sunstein, who are determined to render driving as much a part of the past as smoking (but high fructose corn syrup is just fine) it is working exactly as designed and so far from idiotic.

The technocrats are not stupid. They are making people stupid. it is an important distinction.

The corrective is simple.

The double yellow should be the exception, not the rule. Applied to the pavement in blind curves, perhaps. But otherwise? Passing should be legal whenever it can be done safely, which is most of the time – provided the driver is given leave to exercise his judgment, use his skill – this assumes he has some, of course – and is not punished for passing efficiently and safely.

Most would learn how – and those who couldn’t handle it could simply be . . . passed. Without the passer having to worry about a buzzcut government thug extorting a ransom from him.

Traffic would flow. Driving would be fun again.

This fantasy exists in actuality – in many European countries – where, despite the general suffocation of liberty, some remnants of the old ways remain, at least when it comes to driving. Which for the Europeans has ancestral charm.

Most roads over there are “pass at will” – broken yellow rather than double yellow. In these countries, the driver is still expected by custom as well as law to know how to drive.

People here are admonished that it’s “safer” to just sit behind the slow-mover – no matter how slow – and “be patient.”

The automated car is almost here.

. . .

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70 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, this is the ultimate goal of jerk-offs like Crass Cass “The Ass” Sunnstein and former Secretary of Transportation Ray “The Hood” LaHood. Two butt-holes that have no place in the realm of creating policy and laws.

    Then they bribe a technocrat like Elon Musk to develop cars that can be controlled remotely, so that the “driver” can snooze in the power seat. After all, the United States military can operate drones from the other side of the world; why not cars on our streets?

    • Any car whose steering wheel is not connected to the steering gear box with a shaft can be remote controlled, regardless of its source of power.

  2. A few years back I got pulled over for speeding while passing. The “Armed Tax Collector” emphasized the speed limit is not changed to accommodate passing. I asked how he would recommend passing safely without exceeding the speed limit and said the law needs changing because it is wrong here. He actually agreed it’s a dumb law and admitted my driving was proper in his opinion. No ticket or even a warning. He said “you are correct, it is a stupid law in need of change and you are free to go”

    That said, there are those that floor it when they see you trying to pass is one of the reasons for my affinity for V8’s.

    Side note: Back in the day we used to call the downshift when flooring the pedal in an automatic transmission a “PASSING GEAR”

    • So, you are willing to bear false witness against an officer that pulled you over so he could tell you he agrees with you and isn’t going to act like the “Armed Tax Collector” that you accused him of being in your second sentence?

      • Bill, the “Armed Tax Collector” used the threat of use of lethal force to get Travis to pull over and stop. Furthermore, it is almost impossible for the “Armed Tax Collector” not to have been 1. armed and 2. collecting taxes at or near that point in time over other no-victim-non-crimes.

        Yes, the “Armed Tax Collector” was aptly named.

  3. Years ago, 60 Minutes interviewed a GM engineer, asking him why automotive manufacturers are installing all of the extra features in cars, (ABS, lane proximity detection, backup cameras, etc.) and trucks.
    In his honesty he said, “We’ve learned that the cars have to be smarter because the drivers are becoming dumber.”

    • I recall when “passing gear” was an event and conversation would stop while the engine howled and the tranny grabbed another and it was often, literally, off to the races.

    • KB, truckers, esp. old truckers consider many things to be “suggestions”….and motoring laws in Texas are just that. Most people don’t know this so they think they are the “law” but it’s not so.

      Say I’m coming up on a stop sign and you can see a finite distance, the same distance or greater than you can see at the stop sign. So why stop there when all you can do is be in dangers way after stopping? I rarely do.

      I’ve had DOT get behind me with lights going and wait for me to stop somewhere….and knowing what it says in the handbook, allow me to pick my place where I think it’s safe for everyone. If you want to give them a hard time you can stop on the shoulder but I don’t like to start with an intimidation tactic since it won’t serve me well in the end. I have cruised past many stop signs with the engine WOT to avoid being out there for longer than necessary. I’ve yet to have one even mention it.

      They give me that look like “How long you been doing this?” and I give them that look that says “Long before you were ever a gleam in your mama’s eyes”. I had one ask me when I started driving and I said “When I was 14 and got my license”. No, I mean a truck he said. Yep, that’s what I meant I replied. He’s looking at my CDL and doing a little arithmetic. Yep, it means before your mama was a gleam in your granny’s eye.

      • Its a lot safer to run a stop sign when its safe, especially in old underpowered trucks I drove, it was either that or drag ass way below the speed limit those old Macks weren’t very fast and didn’t have enough gears to do much splitting. A requirement for people getting an operating license should be protocol around trucks.
        VDOT was giving me the what for about my Physical when it was their own sloppy system that was incorrect, I pointed out their error around a week ago and haven’t heard from them since , if I catch too much grief, I will just drop out of the rat race .

    • People form means around the expectations. They form means around an acceptable perceived risk level. If either are lowered people will take shortcuts that lower the level of effort they put in leaving these two factors more or less constant.

  4. The double solid is just a reference…the dotted line does not mean it’s safe to pass…
    I am a long long time touring motorcycle person.

  5. My kvetch is a kind of flip side to the close double-yellow line passing ban.

    When driving a roadway with a center turn lane (wide double-yellow line), I go quickly and entirely into the lane at no less than the speed limit before slowing/stopping to make a left turn. My experience is that I am a rare exception.

    I typically observe this in other drivers: 1) They slow down to around half the speed limit while still in the thru lane (signal optional), 2) slow down even more as they painfully drift halfway into the center turn lane, 3) come to a complete stop straddling the yellow line (half turn-lane, half thru-lane) before turning left, and 4) give me dirty looks and digital salutes when I honk at their utter, clueless stupidity at making me unnecessarily stop or swerve.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!

  6. It’s the drivers who are becoming automated into stupidity. It is happening here in Oz, though the no passing zones are being left untouched. It’s just the stupid drivers who are so afraid of accelerators.

  7. Since most speed limits are non-regulatory, there is nothing illegal about exceeding them for the purpose of passing in legal passing zones, as long as it is done with safety and reasonability, and followed by a return to the posted limit afterwards.
    A good friend of mine routinely cruises the highways of Wyoming at over triple digit speeds, and even though he outdrives his radar detector occasionally, he never gets speeding tickets after he and the arresting officer have their mutually respectable banter. It helps that he can call most of the LEOs in his part of the state by their first name, having worked with them when he was a police volunteer in Cody.

  8. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I get your posts from the Lew Rockwell site. Agreed on just about everything you have to say. Well said.

  9. A few weeks back I was traveling a busy, hilly 2 lane highway in Texas with few places to pass and the Clover I had been following for about 10 minutes at slightly over the posted limit decided to park behind a semi that was running 5-7mph under the limit. The driver thought it was a good idea to hang about 10 feet behind the trailer meaning I would have to pass both he and the truck at the same time, so I gave him some space and waited for him to make a pass. After about 10 minutes and a couple of missed chances by said driver I pulled up to his rear bumper, then pulled back thinking he would get a clue, drop back and give me enough space to pass his ass. Nope, so I did the maneuver a couple more times to no avail and decided it was time to act. I pulled up to his bumper once more and when the road was clear I put on the signal and mashed the gas, but so did he and he pulled out right in front of me, so I figured it was time to pass him as well. When I looked at the speedometer after I cleared them both it was in the triple digit range.

    After the pass I set my cruise 5mph faster than the Clover had been driving while in the clear before hanging off the back of the truck, but the pass pissed him off and he immediately flashed his brights and started hanging 5 feet off my back bumper. This went on until I came upon another slow truck and promptly showed Clover how to correctly pass, and to my amazement he did. He kept up with me pass for pass just so he could hang off my bumper, maybe to thank me for showing him the correct way to pass? It’s amazing what a little motivation can do for some Clovers.

    As for me, I’m just glad there were no Texas Heroes on that stretch of road at the time. I’d hate to think of my fate being stopped for 45mph over the limit for those 10 seconds, found with a large amount of cash and a loaded pistol in the center console.

  10. Great and timely article, considering I just spent two weeks in the Philippines. Guess what. Very few if any traffic laws there. In a fairly large city, there were very few traffic lights or stop signs. There were no designated passing lanes. Traffic was bumper to bumper most of the time, but it was moving. In the middle of the city, if there was no oncoming traffic, you could pass. Not only could you pass on the left, but if the road was wide enough, you could pass on the right, even if there was only one lane. Even when traffic was bumper to bumper in both directions, if you needed to turn left, just put your blinker on, and people would stop and let you turn. They use their horns a lot, but not in anger. It is to let the vehicles near you know you are there, or about to pass. There are lots of motorcycles, motorcycles with side cars, and jeepneys that they use for taxis. I saw 9 people piled into and on top of a motorcycle with a side car. At night, I saw many vehicles without any lights or reflectors. Guess what, I didn’t witness a single accident. Yes, you had to be on your toes, and fortunately, we had locals doing all of our driving for us.
    Another point I want to make is that I teach, and every day, we watch the news at the beginning of class. We watch CNN 10, a ten minute news program for students. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week they had a feature on self-driving vehicles. You are correct, they are pushing it as a safety issue, but I believe that it is really a government trying to control us issue.

  11. IMHO, the conga line as suggested by the author could mostly be eliminated by educating more drivers (at least here in Texas) about the 10′ improved shoulder. It has several purposes, most importantly, a driver CAN LEGALLY use it to allow a car traveling at a faster speed to pass. If this one little thing were used more often by drivers who insisted on driving below the posted speed limit, a lot of the conga line would disappear. Just my two cents. I do miss the days of the muscle cars and the big V-8s…

      • Hello Eric- yep, I’m afraid courtesy is in short supply these days. And the rear view mirror? Isn’t that for people to look at themselves when they’re driving? ;-). Oh, one other thing…if the driver would just turn their heads once in a while to clear their blind spots, they might be able to navigate traffic 100% better…

    • Hi Charlie. I agree also, but the State is partially at fault as well. In earlier times, slow semi-trucks would drive on the shoulder on highways while climbing hills so that the faster traffic could utilize the other lanes. You don’t see that happening anymore because in many states it is illegal to drive on the shoulder.

      • Brian, I had a friend get ticketed by the DPS for driving on the shoulder and letting faster traffic around his truck. The DPS told him “The shoulder isn’t for travel”….whatever the hell that means. So…..what’s the shoulder for? I never quit driving on the shoulder. BTW, this was in Texas…..near Ira to be specific.

        • It has never been legal to drive on a shoulder. The problem is those who drive on the shoulder don’t know what a fog line indicates.

          • It’s legal to drive on the shoulder when government decides it is and by who it decides may do so and when. I have seen various signs to that effect in different places around the country.

        • Eightsouthman- I am terribly dismayed to hear this about one of my fellow troopers…(I’m retired from that organization) and I used to instruct the recruits in the Academy. I would like to know who the trooper was that said that, because he/she must have slept through the Texas Transportation Code, specifically this one: http://codes.findlaw.com/tx/transportation-code/transp-sect-545-058.html
          I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll let you or the others look it up. You are LEGALLY allowed to use the improved shoulder in Texas…

          • Charlie you should know troopers and other cops do what they want. We recently had a driver stop at a 4 way stop and make a left turn. Halfway through an idiot runs the stop sign and hits the trailer. DOT occifer cited the truck driver sine he was “changing lanes” which was a bunch of horseshit. I would have taken the guy to task right then. But this trooper(Big Spring)has an agenda of his own and recently got another driver for letting someone get inside him turning….which was amazing since he had it covered and who knows how the woman got up beside him(speeding) since I wasn’t driving. The boss told the driver to take the opposite path to avoid this in the future and everybody did after that. The trooper commented that path was dangerous too since we’d have to cross the traffic on 87 coming North to our traveling south….hence, no good or safe way to go so unsaid, but meant by him, why didn’t we just go home?

            I don’t feel a great deal of pain for the boss since he’s such a statist and has DPS buddies at home and takes their word for gospel.

            I’ve actually had one DOT tell me he didn’t know everything about a truck for sure and asked me to point out a problem. I declined to do it but did later after it was fixed. Next time he stopped me it was to tell me to fix the truck and cited me for no back up light since it had just been punted and was missing with dangling wires. I pulled off the interstate and across the barditch illegally leaving and he didn’t bat an eye. It was late, I was hot….swelteringly so, and went to the parts store and replaced a brake line there before leaving, got home and replaced the back up light…..again.

            Then you have troopers such as Jeremy Usner at C City who stopped me for a Level 2 inspection and said my brakes were simply horrible and there was no excuse for them. The truck was filthy being the weather was filthy but the brakes? They were brand new, not just the shoes but everything including the slack adjusters. He said I was wrong. I said I had picked up a pickup load of parts, taken it to the yard and helped the mechanic re-brake the entire tractor(thousands of dollars). I had to make another trip since the fools at Rush gave me the wrong drums. He’s a rookie, or was then and was nothing but a smart-ass…and still is.

            OTOH, trooper Mathiss from Big Spring stopped me for a level 2 since the trailer didn’t even have the 3 clearance lights on top, obvious tip-off. He pointed out my air leak and wondered how the compressor made enough air. I didn’t say I how used my 3rd foot to keep the engine revved as I stopped the last few mph since I had to gear down every gear. It was one of those emergency week-end things and the driver before me let the air lines get on the driveshaft bobtailing with no trailer. He let me go on to Western Trailer to get parts to fix it. It was closed but the bookkeeper was there and let me come in and get the parts which she wasn’t even gonna charge me for since there was no register. I gave her a $20 and said go get a couple margaritas and she laughed. I fixed the truck and Mathiss didn’t redtag it and let me go home. I really didn’t want to be stranded 100 miles from the house and appreciated hell out of it. Some I suppose are decent and some aren’t. I don’t like the sign of the times though with the new Hispanic guys who have an attitude. They haven’t figured it out we’re all out there and don’t need to be a-holes to one another. I have never and will never talk trash since it’s a negative that doesn’t need to be introduced and if I ever do it will probably be to Jeremy…..still the know-it-all.

    • Charlie King,

      If I am out just leisurely motorvating or cruising on the bike, in no particular hurry with no particular place to go, I do this on a regular basis, slow down, flashers on, move to the shoulder, c’mon by.

      Nothing is more frustrating to be stuck in a mile long conga line, with one clueless clover holding up the whole works for a whole score of people.

      Especially when I AM in a hurry, WITH a particular place to be.

  12. Three things I have done in my life that have taught me immeasurable driving skills that I keep to this day: 1) I drove the autobahn, 2) I drove a 25ft delivery truck one summer in college, 3) I ride a motorcycle. I think everyone ought to do these things. So, needless to say, “I don’t obey dumb rules”.

  13. Every time the government bombs a country, bans free speech, confiscates guns, wiretaps people, seizes property, tortures, and kills people then you are responsible.

    Silence means consent.

    You would be naive to think that the government won’t get worse or that you will never be a victim of government abuse.

    http://f2bbs.com/bbs

    • What I find interesting is the concerted collusion to make all or most cars electric by a certain date in the near future. I hear virtually no opposition to the idea of being forced to own or drive one, when that is all that will be offered one day soon. That, and there is virtually no screaming about the auto ‘shut down’ at every traffic light or when the car brakes and stops. it is a pain in the butt in 97* 100% humidity or in below freezing weather. Everything quits, the defrosters, a/c…everything. What is the point of it? It saves no gas and less ‘climate carbon emissions’ is pure stupidity. I buy/own a car for fun and pleasure of driving, not have it control what I do, where I go, and what I want. Let alone a drone car that ceases to be under my control, but at the mercy of some programmer who will make ethical decisions for me. Matter of fact just bought a jeep without ‘drive/lane assist’, multiple cameras, auto breaking and engine ‘shut down’ at stops/lights etc before they shove all that into EVERY vehicle on the market. Are people just accepting of all this this being shoved on them?

  14. I’m visiting my parents in Florida right now, and one thing I love about the cops here is that you have to be moving fast enough – or aggressively enough – to be a genuine public danger before they’ll come after you.

  15. I am frequently seeing people overtake a big semi truck on the interstate, just stuck in cruise control, taking a full minute to get clear of the truck. All the while, a gust of wind could push the big trailer right into the sap driving the little Honda. Or the truck driver could just change lanes, not noticing the little Fisher-Price car next to it. It is very dangerous. I just punch the gas when I am about 10 feet behind the truck, and I am generally doing about 93 when I clear the front end a couple of seconds later. There are some numbers on the side of the highway that say “80,” but I try to ignore them. There was a semi-slow car in front of us yesterday when my wife was driving, so she started to overtake it, but refused to go faster than the speed limit. The other car sped up when she started to pass. She just stayed off its port stern. I asked her to please get out of that driver’s blind spot, and she dropped back. I would have just punched the gas and gotten past the darned car. It is just not safe to pay so much attention to speed limits. It drives me nuts.

    • I’ve been busy enough in traffic I forgot about a car beside me. Thank somebody for spot mirrors. The problem has already begun with new tractors bein(g went away in the niht)made with skinny sinle arm mirrors you can’t attach a bi spot mirror to. There is an interated spot mirror but it’s benefits are dubious.

      I mostly run with an overweiht permit so when I run over one I don’t see it’s onna be abi thin…..shit!

  16. Double yellow lines here in w Texas are more suggestions, especially if you’re not at the very least, doing the speed limit.

  17. Ok, not to hijack the discussion, but a couple more extremely irritating trends in driving are 1. the explosion of traffic signals, everywhere, including rural areas with generally lite traffic. And 2. left turn arrows where you sit, and wait….and wait… for the green arrow, even though there is no oncoming traffic. I grew up in Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s. They have always had traffic, but in those bygone days there were no left-turn arrows and signals only at major intersections. It worked fairly well. You could actually get somewhere. But I will not go anywhere near that place today, for many reasons, but one is certainly the (lack of) traffic engineering seemingly designed to keep people at a stand still. It is really all about dumbing down the driver to the intelligence of an ape, and that doesn’t give the ape justice.

  18. Removing the passing zones only makes it more “unsafe”. Yet another irony of our safety at all costs society. Because at some point, an impatient person will ignore the no passing zone and pass. Many, who have little idea about how to do that correctly, will chose a bad place to pass.

    IMHO, double yellow lines should ONLY be in places unsafe to pass. They should be otherwise prohibited for safety reasons.

  19. I am one of the mentioned that ‘drives like an outlaw’… a courteous outlaw.
    I hit 90 mph in my wife’s 2011 Xterra daily in my Houston commute (95 mph is a common cruise speed on I-10 between Houston an SA). But I use my blinkers as well and I don’t tailgate as much as before. I ironically have only been pulled over in this car and never my truck, to my wife’s amusement. Passing and ‘polite’ maneuvering in the Xterra is much easier than the 20′ truck. I think only because the Xterra’s growl doesn’t kick in till 4000 rpm’s where the truck kicks in from 2000 up when accelerating that my wife only screams to slow down when passing in the truck. Back in the day in high school I had a canadian 92′ ford explorer that had a rebuilt yet limping transmission. 65 mph/120km lol, was its top speed but passing was never an option as the tranny would never kick in. So on longer drives I was forced to sit behind those 18 wheelers, cow trailers, or mobile homes on one lane roads. The explorer also had bees that lived in the AC for some reason, quite hilarious turning it on in the summer…

    • Hi Brazos,

      You and me both! Plus lots of others here. 🙂

      I particularly enjoy a deft pass executed in my Trans-Am, chirping the tires on the upshift as I blast by a Clover… it really sets them off!

    • Drove to Houston a few years back and Wow! That place is like a giant bowl of asphalt spaghetti.
      Worse, those who use the vines are mostly insane. Wow! again.
      No one was doing anything remotely close to the “speed limit”.
      Me doing 10 to 15 over, garnered single finger accolades from the locals.
      I think they like people from Washington State because they didn’t shoot at me. Or they might realized I wasn’t from the Prius driving, dope smoking, looney left side of the state.
      I ran into a badge packer (unlike a Seattle blue suited fudge packer) and jokingly asked him why they didn’t curtail some of the worst violators.
      His reply was “Are y’all kidding? Stepping out of a (patrol) car here would get y’all’s name in the obit column quicker than y’all kin say “grits”, if they could identify yer remains.”

      • Texas natives are fully aware that there is only one state on the west coast and it gets more liberal, as it does everywhere, as the population gets denser (not necessarily stupider).

  20. Man Eric its like you somehow write about all the topics that piss me off… ….
    From Europe, some years ago, me and an old friend went to climb mt Snowdon in wales, a couple hours from London – it was so painful. beautiful bendy roads through the welsh countryside…. driving along at cruising speed (ahem ahem) then suddenly a long congo line of people behind one lazy driver doing 40 on a 60 road…… what was most shocking is that nobody would be bothered to overtake!!!

    Its like years of socialism, over regulation and saaaffeetttyyy have sucked the joy of driving out of the average person – which is the really scary part because at least in the US people still demand the freedom to do things….. here, they are more than happy when the state regulates and controls them, and says its for their own benefit. Can you imagine, here, people drive just below the speed limit… in the FAST lane…. and to make it better “undertaking” as its called here is “illegal”!! People like me who step out of line because we have fond memories of when life was different are presented as the “cold selfish and evil” people!!!

    Your comment about overtaking abilities of cars – I remember when car reviews used to talk about that – not anymore! Infact most people my age dont even seem to realise theres a wonderful little “click” at the bottom of the accelerator on most modern autos, and would have no idea what its for!!

    • Funny the Brits are nigh unto comatose. Seems they were the ultimate motoriing lot back in the day. Anyone that could take a dead stock 850 Mini and drive it full on, passing most others out there, particulalry wiht its tiny five inch breake druns all round, KNEW how to drive. Same with the Morris Minor with the same anaemic power plant. Either would be totally transformed by the casual fitment of the twin SU inlet manifold and carburetters fitted to the 948 Sprite.

      Never having had the wherewithall to afford the more amply powered roadsters (though I did, for a season, have a Jaguar Mark VII as my daily driver) I had to learn how tp push whatever I DID have to its ragged edge. The look on someone’s face as they got passed by a dead stock LandRover 109 right drive on a twisty mountain road, diving into the next turn in a four wheel drift, was fascinating. Or a Mcrcedes 190 D sedan… gutless, but theyb really handled, so one could make good time if one eschewed the use of the brakes most of the time. Accelerating out of the turn is somehwat easier of one did not slow overmuch going in.

      Driving like that these days would likely have one’s government issued Mother May I Card “allowing” one to drive lifted…… a rather inconvenient prospect.

  21. You’re spot on about how “passing gear performance” was once a big thing.

    Soooooo many iconic automotive technological advances, particularly during the performance heyday of the 1950s and 60s, came about and were touted as the ultimate in said passing performance: Hemi head engines, high-compression engines, cross ram induction, compound carburetion, and the bevy of transmission gewgaws from variable pitch torque converters to overdrives.

    That could also be another reason for the decline of V8s and V6s…why have all that passing power if you can’t use it?

  22. It sucks for sure. It’s not all conspiracy though. I’ve lived in Albemarle County for 45 years and have watched rural roads turn into suburban roads as what used to be farmland and woods is turned into large lot residential.
    It’s hard to have passing zones when the road is peppered with driveways from which the clueless emerge without bothering to look…

  23. In some smaller European towns, they’ve eliminated all road and parking signs and markings, and guess what, in that “anarchy”, traffic moves both more smoothly and safely. Something to do with drivers, bikers, and pedestrians actually paying attention and making eye contact. Anarchy will never work, though!

    • That was the work of Hans Monderman or a copy thereof.
      A quote of his that goes along with mine about building better idiots: “When you treat people like idiots, they’ll behave like idiots.”

  24. One reason the yellow lines exploded in VA, was the Federal mandate. If you do not comply, you will not get FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDS!, its extremely, silly places were it used to be safe to pass are now blockaded in the “Yellow Line Prison” and there are plenty of nice new “Buzz Cuts” to write the tickets for “dumbass’. Even the “County Mounties” in this secluded piece of “Hardscrabble” have the ability to run radar and write traffic tickets now( we actually have seventeen Deputies for a sub 5000 population( I think the number is even smaller now, the young people have to leave to find a decent job thanks to the Luddites and Fruitbats)
    I am like “Jonah Hex ” now “It’s not my country”, when it comes it will come ,total control-the Frogs have waited too long to get out of the warm and warmer water.I admit I blow by these slowpokes on Double lines when I feel I can get by with it and I help others break the “Law” when my truck holds them up and I think it is safe( you wouldn’t believe the BS I am starting to receive concerning my CDL)

    • Hi Kevin,

      Same here. My rural SW Va county got radar detectors for the local “heroes,” who didn’t have them until last year. Now the “heroes” run speed traps, just like everywhere else. On the stretch of Blue Ridge Parkway near where I live, there were four legal passing zones back in 2003. Now there is one.

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