Reader Rant: Speeder Blockers and Virtue Signaling

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Here’s the latest reader rant, along with my reply!

Mark writes: If it ever got to that point re: speed governing, we wouldn’t even be doing anywhere close to the speed limit. 

The way that people speed up, pathologically that is, when one tries to pass them, would see to it that there’d always be some inconsideramus doing 38 in a 55 with miles of traffic behind them. Just saying. As it is, it appears to be a national pathology that American’s have emotional difficulty with simply being passed on the highways. The number of people that will speed up, which is considered “aggressive driving” in VA, while someone is trying to legally pass them is at epidemic levels. It’s truly astonishing. Who knows, perhaps it’s just worse in the DC region. Either way, it does not bode well for a “civil” society when the vast majority of people think in a way that spawns such sociopathic if not downright psychotic behavior. My two cents. The speed camera thing is obviously just a money-grab. I’m going to have to get a GPS detector if that happens. 

My reply: I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a function of control freakism. On the one hand, people are micromanaged and controlled to such a degree that they feel powerless in their lives; on the other, they have power when behind the wheel – to impede others, to (as O’Brien explained to Winston) make them suffer. And so they do.

There is also a virtue-signaling aspect of this. American society is a mass society, the mood of the mass largely controlled by the mass media and related organs – which are controlled by a small handful of entities. If these entities decide that – as an example – saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is a virtue, then most people (who wish to conform) will so signal (in order to conform).

Thus, enforcing the speed limit by blocking others from passing is a kind of virtue – signaled by the act.

It is of a piece with the act of stopping in the middle of the road to virtue-signal a pedestrian to cross when traffic has the right of way.

. . .

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20 COMMENTS

  1. “to impede others, to (as O’Brien explained to Winston) make them suffer. And so they do.”

    This. Almost everyone I know seems to delight in being a dick. Making the lives of others harder for no gain other than feeling the ‘high’ of frustrating others. Fun at the expense of others.

    I have had several do this to me. I take offense and explain to them how their action are not welcome and they should not do so. “You are to sensitive”, “learn to take a joke”, ‘don’t be so dramatic’.

    So I have made a habit of simply ‘getting even’. I am the guy everyone comes to when they don’t have the ability to figure something out. So now I feed the ‘dicks’ false information, send them on wild goose chases, delay replying their ’emergency’ calls for a couple of days.

    Won’t strike first, but will strike back hard enough that they should notice. Few notice. The ones that have just think I am an asshole while not noticing that it is just a mirrored and amplified response to their assholishness.

    Not exactly proud of this or happy it seems required, but when in Rome……

    • I have a short version. We live in a society created by assholes for assholes.
      Ever notice how everything is about giving the asshole advantage? Driving is a place where it really comes out. “Just let him do it” the phrase about yielding to every asshole because an “accident” isn’t worth it. What? That’s exactly what the asshole is counting on. That’s why he does it. He’s making the other guy avoid him. He gets ahead. Automatic braking is going to interesting to say the least once these people figure out they can force other motorists’ vehicles to panic stop.

      • This post kind of made me laugh, because it’s basically a tl;dr version of my rant against road bicyclists/hikers.

        • The assholes on bicycles are assholes in their cars too. I have frequently had motorists with bicycle racks on their vehicle if not the bicycles on the racks do assholish things towards me as I was bicycling.

          And again the ‘rules’ are that I should just back down and let them have their way. Never mind the actual rules of the road.

          When it comes to bicycling, bicycle hating motorists are some of the first that argue the size motor vehicles wins, therefore back down.

          • Well there is one advantage to driving an ugly old junker pickup: other motorists take one look and give you the right of way!

            I guess they figure “he doesn’t have anything to lose by hitting me” LOL

            • I had to go to a store in a large town one day and the strip mall had all these high dollar stores catering to women, rich women. There were no parking spots close to the store I needed so I pulled up between a new Caddy and a Bimmer. The old farm truck stood out like a diamond in a goat’s ass or maybe like a turd in a jewelry store. I told the wife, damn, I feel right at home here.

              We came out of the store later and people were cruising by in their richmobiles looking for a parking spot but the spaces on either side of old Red Dog remained empty. It was sure nice of them to give me all that room.

              I don’t get when you have a really nice vehicle and park out in a corner of a big lot as far away as possible from the stores why some ahole in an old broken down car has to park right beside you…..really close.

              A friend had a pit bull that he kept chained inside his Wagoneer and would always park way the hell away from everyone else. Sometimes you’d see one of those aholes pull up beside the Wagoneer and then beat a hasty retreat. Spike hated anyone to get too close to his Wagoneer. I think about the difference in society back then and it makes me ill. We’d leave our Hi Power’s stuck up between the seats, AR’s in the back and radar detector on the dash with the windows 1/4 way down so Spike wouldn’t get hot. No telling how many cops would be there when we returned these days. Everyone has become such statist pussies it makes me sick.

              We had a dog named Roy who sent people packing when they got too close to his pickup. He was 70 lbs of pit bull dynamite and would go off if you got too close.

              • Eight, I hate to sound like a broken record but it is the government schools. With my generation as adults I have seen how we were managed in school become how people want to manage to the country.

                For years I’ve seen it, the same way an early 1980s junior high is run is how people want to run the country. Of course now people who were in junior high significantly later are getting into things so it’s now they want how they were conditioned. Each generation it spirals further.

                I miss well I miss the pre safety mom world. I am tired of endless panics over nothing. I am by no means a person tolerant of high risk and I can’t stand this stifling environment.

                • Brent, it’s also the egregious laws congress never seems to tire of passing and it goes down to the state level too.

                  The sheriff used to tell us “Boys(minors), now I can tolerate everything but breaking stuff so the first one to throw a bottle at something in the street is going to ruin it for everyone else. Yall want me to call your daddy’s?” Enough said.

                  And to be honest, boys especially, risk is their raisun detree so to speak. Now they give so many drugs to boys to keep them from being boys we have a generation that doesn’t know if they’re male or female.

                  I worked with a young man a few years ago who was a bit rowdy in school so they started giving him Ritalin. At ten years old he started lactating at the supper table. He screamed “I’m not taking any more drugs” and nobody argued. He’s a great big old boy too and soft-hearted as can be. He bought a ugly but good KW a couple years ago and now he’s running a flat top Pete and a 53 foot drop deck trailer. I guess he’s living the dream.

            • That doesn’t work on everyone. I’ve had people with expensive and new try to make me avoid them when I am driving a beater car. I say try because I didn’t back down for them.

              • Maybe you just need a bigger and uglier beater? LOL

                Seriously though, I don’t drive like an @$$ but it is funny to see how folks give me lots of room the rare times I drive the pickup to town. In the little semi-newer car they just try to drive right over me.

          • @BrentP you miss the point of my post. Specifically:

            “‘Just let him do it’ the phrase about yielding to every ******* because an ‘accident’ isn’t worth it. What? That’s exactly what the ******* is counting on. That’s why he does it. He’s making the other guy avoid him.”

            This is exactly what bicyclists – and not just the so-called bad ones either – do on the road. They know they’re slowing everyone else down by being there, but they also know most people don’t really want to risk hurting them no matter how annoying they are, so they just keep doing it. This is perhaps the single greatest defining characteristic of an annoying road user, whether they have an engine or not.

            You mentioned automatic braking; I wonder how those systems will react to you riding just to the left of the white line? I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these systems reacted rather poorly.

            I’m glad you think the riding a bicycle on the Nurburgring wouldn’t be worth the toll, because if some hotlapper ate the wall trying to dodge you, you’d probably just say he was going to fast or wasn’t leaving enough safety margin or was too incompetent to pass properly, even though that same attitude is considered jerkish when someone with an engine has it.

            (I’m also very glad I found that out before I wasted my money on a plane ticket!)

            • If you’re slowed down by any amount worth mentioning by a vehicular bicyclist you’re incompetent. The only time I was ever delayed by an amount greater than that of what an ordinary motorist would do to my travels was a this woman who was a wrong way rider. Riding on the wrong side of the road. That was some time in the late 1990s.

              I face annoyances every time I get out on the road. Even horrible cheating anywhichway bicycle riders don’t reach the level of a typical garden variety clover in any objectively measured way.

              • You still don’t understand. My problem isn’t about having to slow down for people who are actually there. I can avoid a bicycle – as long as I can see them coming in time. What I have a problem with is slowing down for people who AREN’T there. You don’t have to actually be in front of me to slow me down – and I’m not even talking about racing, just driving casually with no competition intent. You are slowing me down every moment I’m out driving, even if I haven’t seen a bicyclist or hitchhiker in days. Roads that look perfectly clear cannot be treated as if they are clear because non-motorized traffic moves so much slower and hides so much better than motorized. Whatever you say about that, I think someone who claims to be into cars should be trying not to cause that effect.

                See, that’s the thing. You see bicycles as vehicles which can do almost the speed of traffic and take up little enough of the road that they can be easily passed. I see them as mobile obstacles which usually do around 15-25 MPH (except on downhills) even on 55PSL roads and whose presence or absence at any given time or place cannot be accurately predicted, and even under ideal conditions (straight flat road) will not be identifiable (or possibly even visible) from more than a couple hundred feet away at night. It gets extremely irritating when I’m out at 1:30 in the morning, there’s not another living soul in sight, and I still have to drive like a Good Little Boy because if you’re there walking or biking, you won’t be “in sight” until I’m right on top of you.

                Then add your riding just-barely-on-the-road to the mix and now I can’t even go any further right than the center of my lane unless I can see for several hundred feet. That, as far as I’m concerned, is way over the “asking for too much” line.

                And then what about corners where there isn’t even enough room for a shoulder? You probably think everyone should slow down to 20 MPH around these corners so you can continue to ride your bike on those roads.

                • Oh I forgot, your insane idea that you should be able to out drive your line of sight. Were you driving a Ford SUV on I294 SB on saturday? In the rain this guy was out driving the available visibility in the heavy rain and his brakes.

                  Anyway, you can pretend there are no bicyclists and out drive your sight lines. It’s legal to murder bicyclists if you are sober, stay at the scene and say the magic words. One example is “I didn’t see him, he appeared right in front of me”. But more likely you’ll hit a large animal long before you hit a bicyclist. That large animal could very well kill you in the process.

                  • “Oh I forgot, your insane idea that you should be able to out drive your line of sight.”

                    Whereas yours is that you should be able to put yourself in any blind angle you want at 25-35 MPH and expect everyone else to drive like a grandparent for you.

                    “It’s legal to murder bicyclists if you are sober, stay at the scene and say the magic words. One example is ‘I didn’t see him, he appeared right in front of me’.”

                    I can’t believe I have to say this again, but I really don’t care how easy that supposedly is to get away with legally. I’d rather not kill a bicyclist at all.

                    ” But more likely you’ll hit a large animal long before you hit a bicyclist. That large animal could very well kill you in the process.”

                    There are modifications which could mitigate that. And yes, I absolutely would run with a full cage on the street. Just because I don’t want a class rulebook building my engine, suspension, aero kit and everything else for me before I even get started, does not mean I’m entirely against safety.

                    “Oh and I forgot, since its pothole season, you could hit a hole and wreck a wheel or more driving in your preferred method.”

                    Potholes, unlike bicyclists, don’t move. If it’s a road I drive with any frequency, it’s likely I already know where the trouble spots are. Besides… replacing a tire is a lot easier than replacing a person. That analogy is utterly irrelevant.

                    “Save your out driving sight lines for race tracks…”

                    Closest one is a few THOUSAND miles away, with another entire country between me and it.

                    “…where it belongs.”

                    Oh wonderful, you and your kind will still let me enjoy driving a few times a year if I’m extremely lucky, in a closely regulated, expensive-to-access, completely and blatantly artificial environment. Wow, thanks!

                    On a more serious note, why bother with cars at all?

                    Oh, that’s the other thing that winds me up. You say you’re into cars, you own a Mustang, you’re on a car blog, and I’ve even seen you join in on the ritual “kids these days aren’t into cars anymore!” lamentations. Well, maybe the reason kids aren’t into cars anymore is because driving isn’t fun anymore. Maybe the reason driving isn’t fun anymore is because an excess of non-motorized traffic has turned fast driving into the moral-hazard equivalent of crossing a minefield without a metal detector! And yet any time I try to say this, you have a fit and tell me I’m the one who’s the problem. But in the end, you can’t deny – car culture, or rather what’s left of it, is an absolute wreck right now. Half the people involved are climate-safety-cult milquetoasts and the other half are weeaboos ignorant of their own cultural heritage who think tuning & racing were invented in Japan around 1995. Then, on the side, you have a few graybeards going to hot rod meets to show off cars they drive very slowly and not interact with young people. It’s a garbagefest. A calamity. A heartbreaking, gut-wrenching travesty of epic proportions. You know it, or at least seem to. But how do you expect to fix this when many nighttime corners (and some daytime corners too) are rolls of the dice because of an activity you actively defend and participate in?

                    I even see people walking down the freeway shoulder in the dark wearing dark clothes – maybe you can spot them from 150 feet if you’re lucky. Can you at least admit some part of that is not very smart?

                    • Chuck, I like my cars, therefore I don’t out drive my sight line. If I was on a rally course, driving a rally car, then sure, I would take that risk. First the risk on the race course is much smaller than on the public way, second it’s a race and a race car.

                      You talk about putting myself in danger from bicycling because someone like you may be out there. I could be driving one of my cars and someone like you could come along and hit me too. Maybe I am going the speed limit because there is a cop up ahead. I had that damn near happen once.

                      On a bridge over railroad tracks on a major arterial road there was a construction project. PSL is 45mph but traffic flowed more about 60mph. The construction zone speed limit was 25mph. I had spotted cops laying in wait on previous nights so I was once again doing 25mph. Someone like you crested the hill at maybe 65-70mph and found me there. He managed not to hit me but like you was angry at me. But what am I to do Chuck? Risk the severe penalties of construction zone speeding in this state when I know the cops have deliberately set up a trap just so you and those like you can out drive what you can see?

                      That night I fired off emails complaining to every government agency that could possibly be involved from those in charge of the road to the towns and counties that had their cops laying in wait* and the next time I went through there the 25mph construction zone speed limit was removed.

                      Even it was 1937 and you were on the road by your damn self you could come flying around the corner and hit a moose. One of my favorite films to use in automotive discussions was made for GM in the 1930s by “Jam Handy”. It is called “Wreckless”. The point made by the film is how good then new cars had become and the accused ‘speeder’ was not reckless because he had not out driven what his vehicle was capable of.

                      So my attitudes on the subject go back very very far. Much further back than driving being ‘ruined’.

                      *town and county border area. Everyone could take a piece of the action.

                    • “Chuck, I like my cars, therefore I don’t out drive my sight line.”

                      I get what you’re saying, but I still feel like babying a car is wasting its potential. It’s a little harder to enjoy reading about the high-dollar builds in hot rod magazines when I know most of those cars will never really get to stretch their legs (or, again, only a couple times a year).

                      ” If I was on a rally course, driving a rally car, then sure, I would take that risk. First the risk on the race course is much smaller than on the public way, second it’s a race and a race car.”

                      That’s the thing. To me, anything with wheels is a potential race car. What you call a race car, on the other hand, I call a car that was already built by some rules committee somewhere – probably hobbled and held back in the process – before its owner ever turned a single fastener on it. No freedom in tuning, no room for having an engine swap and a full interior at the same time unless you actually like being dead last by several laps in a really high class.

                      That, by the way, is the main reason I don’t like sanctioned racing and am trying to carve out a niche for street racing. Once you start bringing in all the trappings of sanctioned racing – time charts, trophies, classes, social acceptability, and so on – it stops being about the DRIVE and starts being about the WIN. Now of course, all racing is about the win to some degree, but sanctioned racing takes it far enough to start attracting Super Tryhards who build their cars from the ground up to a specific class and may not even have plates on them… and then you end up actually needing all those onerous class rules to keep them on some semblance of a leash. Even if you can find a class where your tuned DD will fit, and even if you are competitive due to no tryhards showing up in that class, there’s still the scheduling & accessibility issues (as far as I know there is no racetrack that’s “open every night from dusk ’til dawn” as the Mulholland racers used to say).

                      “You talk about putting myself in danger from bicycling because someone like you may be out there.”

                      Say what you want, but I’ve seen non-motorized road users do some uncommonly stupid stuff – and I’m seeing more of them every day, even way out in the boonies, as the weather starts to warm up. Too close to the road, dark clothes at night, WALKING ABREAST SPREAD OUT ACROSS HALF A LANE, the whole nine yards. Recently a bicyclist got a faceful of windshield in Anchorage; he was riding unlit, against traffic, on a dark, icy road, and blowing red lights to boot. Fortunately, TPTB saw through that one and aren’t holding the driver responsible, though I still wouldn’t like to be him. Some bicyclists (and some pedestrians too!) really do seem to have the mentality of a kid on a BMX playing in the street in front of their house, except they forgot the part where their mother told them to get out of the way when an adult came through. In fact, I believe most if not all road bicyclists have at least a little of that mentality – for example, take the “nine mile mountain road” I mention occasionally. Part of the hill is so steep that perfectly-adequate cars have to rev to the moon just to maintain speed, and it goes on like this for a couple miles at least. It’s steep enough that a bicyclist can coast down it at 45-50 MPH, but the flipside of that is that he had to have been making a 10MPH blind corner surprise of himself on the way up there. Not that the many annoying hikers on that road don’t already do that.

                      The construction zones, I do take seriously… despite a wonderful Alaska specialty, the Non-Work Zone. Work proceeds at a snail’s pace, and once it’s finished, the signs stay up for another three months just because. Apparently, stuff gets done during that period, but work is done very occasionally and you never seem to notice any difference afterward. After 5 or 6 months of this (with the signs finally coming down the day the snow flies, natch), you start to wonder if they couldn’t have finished literally everything in 2 months or less if they’d actually gone out and got it done. And they never bother to move the signs with the work, so enjoy driving like an octogenarian for miles on end because of two spots at one end of the, totaling maybe two miles, where work is actually occurring!

                      The cop is another exception I will grant.

                      “So my attitudes on the subject go back very very far. Much further back than driving being ‘ruined’.”

                      That’s another thing I was thinking of. TPTB don’t care about your being able to ride wherever you want any more than they care about my being able to race wherever I want, and you know that too. Promoting you over me just suits their purposes better for now. Once driving ceases to become a significant cultural force, you’ll outlive your usefulness and end up under the bus, and I gotta wonder what you’ll be thinking when, after what’s left of car culture has been completely gutted, you get forced off the road anyway so you don’t confuse the Shiny Happy Googlepods. Or do you really think the autonomopocalypse isn’t going to crush you too, soon after the rest of us become tortillas?

                      For deciding on my own use of roads, I would not consider any road suitable for nonmotorized use unless a racer could come through any corner or over any crest at limit-of-adhesion speeds, with two tires over the shoulder line and the other two right up against it, not knowing I’m there, and never be in any danger of harming me. A wall separating motorized from non-motorized spaces would be better. If I have to pull over for some reason, I try to apply the same heuristic even if I’m not getting out of the car.

                      Yes, all this means that there are certain (many) roads I can never let myself use without a car, but even if I was into bicycling… part of being a car enthusiast, in my opinion, is not to impede other people’s car enthusiasm where possible. I may talk a strange talk, but I do go to quite a lot of trouble to walk the walk.

                      That’s the other thing. I’m not necessarily driving everywhere at 10/10, however I do like to practice racing lines even when I’m not actually racing. Also, a lot of the roads I drive on, just for normal purposes, combine high posteds with narrow shoulders and no lighting. Also lots of dark-clad hitchhikers who basically do everything short of darting out into the road to ensure someone hits them. You would probably expect me to slow down and stay clear of the shoulders at night out of deference to them. I would prefer it if people would just stop putting themselves in dumb situations like that and then expecting everyone else to adjust.

                      The real backroads, on the other hand, that’s another matter altogether. Walking or biking on mountain passes, especially at night, is about the most un-car-enthusiast thing I can think of to do. Actually the second-most, after bicycling (or doing anything else except hotlapping) on the ‘Ring. When a non-car guy does it, it’s obnoxious. When a car guy does it, and by choice too, I just have to say… seriously?

                    • Blah blah blah you want the PUBLIC WAY as your personal race course. You accuse me of being too safety minded to use my car to its potential while being absurdly risk taking by using a bicycle. My risk tolerance is consistent. You are simply trying to make excuses for why you should have the public way as your racecourse.

                      You sound like one asshole who deliberately tried to kill me because I was on what he considered his road. It’s not your road, it’s the public way for GENERAL traffic.

                      I’ve been in driving forums and newsgroups for over 20 years and each and every time some clover babbles about people who just want to do 80mph in a school zone and I never found a person that is even remotely close to that characterization until you.

                      Promoting myself over you? I am general traffic regardless of my vehicle choice just like you. If I listened to every self centered motorist who just doesn’t want to deal with general traffic then I wouldn’t need the powers that be to make bicycling illegal, there wouldn’t be a got-damn’d place left to ride just from listening to motorists who wanted to out drive their sightlines, text on their “sail fawns”, not pay attention, not want to execute a proper pass, whatever. There is no road bicycling if I gave into everyone like you. There wouldn’t even be bike trail riding or trail riding. No matter where there’s someone who wants bicycling banished from a place they’ve claimed for their exclusive use or the exclusive use of people like them. That’s what bred these safety mom raised permanent children to demand bicycle spaces. And yes once again, I oppose them. Bicycling is general traffic.

                • Oh and I forgot, since its pothole season, you could hit a hole and wreck a wheel or more driving in your preferred method.

                  Save your out driving sight lines for race tracks where it belongs.

  2. Mark, I get your frustration and sympathize but a GPS detector is fairly much a goner these days. Back in the 80’s and 90’s we truckers could use GPS detectors to a fairly decent degree to locate state troopers, back when they were the only one who had GPS and rarely turned them off…and why would they since it was for their “saaaaaaffffeeetttyyy”. Some mean old person might off the dirty bastards for jacking them up.

    The problem now is every damned vehicle out there now has GPS…..unfortunately. And that is just another nail in the so-called coffin of why I will never have another vehicle newer than 1994. I have one now and hate it but I’ll find the good GM pickup again from way back and they’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands which I’m sure they’ll gladly do as soon as it becomes illegal to drive a non-GPS vehicle……or before.

    No doubt the dirty a-holes will outlaw vehicles of a certain age as soon as they think they can get away with it. Trump will be right there supporting it just as he’s done with taking away gun rights and mandating vaccinations. The MF has already gone against everything he said he “wouldn’t do” in his bid for the WH.

    Sometimes my knowing I won’t be around a great deal longer seems like a blessing. It’s nearly enough to make me get the old lady up out of bed and kick her ass for refusing to move to Mexico nearly 20 years ago. Now where did I put that quirt?

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