How “Defensive” Driving Killed Driving

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“Defensive” driving has killed driving in this country.

It is a regime defined by hypercautious passivity – that being fundamentally at odds with attentiveness and acting on it, expeditiously. Active-tense used to be associated with good (i.e., competent) driving. What is styled “defensive” driving turns the driver into someone who occupies a seat.

The distinction is important.

An example will illustrate it.

Many American drivers – the term is used generously – change lanes as slowly as oil pours on a cold day. If they even notice it’s time to get out of the way.

It’s really more of a gentle meander – initiated only after faster-moving traffic has already rolled up behind the car blocking the passing lane – and only performed if drivers in the right lane graciously slow enough to open a hole for the eventual lane-changer.

Who will signal – and wait – until it does.

Hitting the turn signal used to be a declaration of intent. Not a plea.

The “defensive” driver won’t take advantage of holes – nor assume the initiative. He will wait until someone else  takes it for him.

This assumes he will even make the attempt. Often he will simply carry on, passively-aggressively indifferent to the blockage he has created and will do nothing to unblock – justifying this because he is “doing the speed limit” and the cars he’s blocking seek to go faster, exceeding it. Which the “defensive” driver has been taught to regard as both illegal (which it technically is) as well as “aggressive” and synonymous with “unsafe.”

Which it is not.

At least, not necessarily.

Just as cooking can be done well – or badly.

It would be safer for all concerned if, in the first place, the driver at the head of the conga line had kept out of the passing lane if he isn’t passing – or at least going faster than the traffic behind him.

If he had anticipated the need to get out of the way before faster-moving traffic was compelled to slow down (and stack up) behind him.

That would be more than merely courteous driving. It would be safe driving. Proof of this being the better track record for safety – in terms of fewer accidents per capita – on the unlimited-speed German Autobahn, where the opposite of “defensive” driving is practiced. Drivers are expected to take the initiative, to act in anticipation of the need to act. As by staying out of the passing lane, unless they are passing. And to change lanes proactively – and quickly – before another car runs up the tailpipe of their car.

Attentiveness and preemptive action, based on awareness – are part of the German driving culture. A driver who does not yield is considered presumptively at fault if there’s a wreck. As well as someone who needs to learn how to drive.

Bottlenecks and frustrated drivers reacting to problems created by bad driving are the source waters of an unsafe driving environment; this polluted stream also creates more “drivers” who are in need of “advanced driver assistance technology” – such as brakes that slam on automatically to avoid the wreck that would otherwise have resulted from their inattentive, incompetent driving.

And Lane Keep Assistance – to electronically crutch a fundamental incapacity that ought to be considered prima facie evidence of the “driver’ having no business attempting to drive.

“Defensive” driving theorists respond with an injunction to be patient – and that the driver who is impatient with the “defensive” driver is the problem. This is topsy-turvy, akin to blaming the person walking down the sidewalk for being annoyed by the person just standing there, watching the birdies – oblivious to his being the cause of delays and compelling people to either wait for him or negotiate around him.

“Defensive” driving also teaches that speed limit signs are sacred totems, to be obeyed mindlessly – italicized to emphasize the fact it is mindless to obey a sign based on nothing more than it being a sign and because one fears disobeying the mindless legal requirement to obey it. (This being very much of a piece with the mindless obedience displayed toward signs requiring the wearing of Face Effacers, just because – and because Or Else).

Signs are sometimes stupid. There is often no harm in ignoring them – and it can be sound policy to ignore them, sometimes.  As, for example, a stop sign at the top of a steep hill – which if obeyed during a snowstorm will likely result in the driver sliding back down the hill. Also signs forbidding U-Turns and rights-on-red when it can be plainly seen there is no danger in ignoring the sign.

But it takes a mind – capable of exercising judgment in a specific circumstance; “defensive” driving counsels mindless, general obedience.

It is obviously not “safe” to pass slowly – but legally – when doing so results in not finishing the pass quickly enough to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. A safe pass may require “speeding” – and a technical violation of the law. But it is much safer to flout the law – to ignore the sign – than to attempt a slow-motion pass.

Of course, the “defensive” driving position is that the pass should not be attempted if it requires “speeding” to do so. In which case, almost all passing becomes “unsafe.” Which leads to the slowest-moving car defining the pace for all cars, leading to bottlenecks and frustrated drivers – who are gaslit as the “aggressive” ones for wanting to get where they’re headed rather than spend all day waiting on the “defensive” driver.

Another dangerous driving practice encouraged by the “defensive” driving school is eggshells-under-the-accelerator acceleration. But it takes acceleration to get a car from zero to whatever the speed of the traffic one is merging with is. The gap closes fast – and it is dangerous as well as discourteous to expect traffic to adjust to your (slow) speed. Good driving – as opposed to the “defensive” version of it – schools accelerating as quickly as is necessary to match the flow of the traffic one is attempting to merge with and to not expect the traffic one is attempting to merge with to accommodate you.

Such things used to be taught – and were part of the culture of driving – before this business of driving “defensively” became the culture. It’s as frustrating for people who can still drive as it is for those who still have their wits about them to see face-effacers everywhere.

Many of them driving “defensively.”

. . .

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61 COMMENTS

  1. This is the best line I read all day: “Hitting the turn signal used to be a declaration of intent. Not a plea.” It sums up so much of what is wrong with people now in general. Everyone waiting around to get permission before acting and not taking agency in their lives.

    • Thanks, Matthew –

      This passivity has become a typical characteristic of Americans; not all, of course – but many. I am convinced much of it is a function of the obsession with saaaaaaaaaaaafety that has also become a characteristic of this culture over the past 30 years. This obsession manifests as risk-aversion, divorced from any reasonable risk-reward analysis. Hypercaution – passivity.

  2. I understand and appreciate the Mike Rowe concept of “safety second” instead of “safety first” when it comes to practical matters of getting the job done.
    There are plenty of assholes on the road, some Biden-esque in their understanding of where they are at, some playing at defensive driving with holier than thou disregard, and also those that feel their bad aggressive driving decisions are justified by vague ideas of how everyone else drives horribly but them.
    It seems the article is mostly spending words pointing out that people don’t use passing lanes appropriately. I understand this as well and this frustrates me greatly. However, numbskulls who don’t use passing lanes appropriately and defensive driving are not the same thing.
    Being a defensive driver isn’t the art of being an unaware self-righteous asshole as this article seems to equate. I’m sure not everyone likes the Smith System of defensive driving, but mastery of it and applying it in a practical manner is a calm and determined art. 1) Aim high in steering 2) Get the big picture 3) Keep your eyes moving 4)Leave yourself an out 5) Make sure they see you.
    I think these principles can be applied without the enforcement of the state, while still maintaining the fun and real-time adjustment of whatever the current driving conditions are.
    “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

    • Hi Slug,

      “Defensive” driving is like “liberal,” a word that once meant a person who supports individual rights. It now means something quite different. Just so, “defensive” driving does not mean situational awareness, considerate/attentive driving. It means: Obey all Traffic Laws. Speed Kills. Wear a Seatbelt.

  3. Years ago, I read a book about motorcycling, and they talked about defensive riding in there. The way they described it was to conduct one self like a fighter pilot, with your head on a swivel and your eyes constantly moving around, figuring out your options, so as to be ready to act the moment a cager did something stupid to endanger your life. They talked about what we call situational awareness today. The way the book described defensive riding was to assume that the cagers out there were out to kill you, and to govern yourself accordingly. I use the same mindset behind the wheel too. That, to me, is TRUE defensive driving!

    • MM,

      They ARE out to kill you.

      Most people never heard of Bondurant.

      That leaves only the two Richard driving schools.

      The Richard Petty school and the overwhelming popular Richard Head School of Driving.

      Most everyone I encounter on the road is a distinguished graduate of RHDS.

      RHDS appears to have quite the scholarship program. It might even be subsidized by your local government.

      • It is in fact subsidized by government- federal, state, and local. South of the border there is the Ricardo Cabeza Autoescuela…

  4. Eric,

    Your video had me cracking up something fierce. You had a particularly cantankerous old lady voice today.

    I’d like to address a pet peeve of mine: Stopping at a light 50-fucking-feet behind the car in front of you. Often times it seems that this person also barely makes the light and I end up running it. I understand that this is built into some cars, is it not? Well, bullshit. Close in a little, will ya?!

  5. I had to go to what they call “Defensive Driving Class” in my state after getting more tickets than the government likes. It did not teach what I think of as defensive driving, but was basically a recap of the Indiana Driving Manual and a bunch of stories about people who died in bad wrecks.
    I think people who ride motorcycles instinctively practice true defensive driving, which is watching and anticipating the actions of the people around you to avoid a wreck. I’ve saved myself from wrecks by doing this in my car and none of these “saves” had anything to do with whether or not I was going the speed limit. For example, I watched a carload of teenage girls swerve off the highway. My speed would have taken me right in their path when they overcorrected, which I knew they would do. Just a good guess. So I hung back a minute and avoided that wreck. In another instance, I was about to get on the interstate, saw it was a parking lot, so decided not to. The lady in front of me, no doubt paying more attention to her phone than the road, got on the ramp, then noticed the backup and abruptly swerved back off. Since I figured she would do this, I made sure I was not in her way. That, to me, is defensive driving, which you can do no matter what speed you are going. Sometimes to defensively drive, you need to speed up or do an unsafe lane change, in fact.
    I am apparently very good at anticipating dumbassery on the road and avoiding it. I saw a meme once that said something about “you’re not the jackass whisperer,” but I think: No, I actually am the jackass whisperer. I can read their minds.

    • Went to one of those state point-reducing classes in southwest VA once several years ago, something like 4 to 6 hours in a room with the general public, everyone mending their law-abiding reputations by paying worship to the authoritarian at the head of the room, giggling along with the stupid jokes and taking their paddlin from daddy govt like good civilians, it was pretty intolerable.

      The goon on duty at least let us leave early once he marked our open-book tests. Guess he felt like he had better things to be doing that day too.

      But..he still encouraged their VA left lane dick “pass or don’t pass, the speed limit is fine, there’s no law about staying right, who cares” mobile clover speed traps, and also tried to brainwash us against flashing our headlights to warn other drivers about stuff at all. I wasn’t big on it back then but after I realized his “dont warn people about cops ahead” angle, I’ve been warning the shit out of my fellow oncoming 85%ers ever since. Couple guardian angels in my travels have tipped me off a time or two and saved me a world of trouble.. it is protected free speech and a courtesy that has proven critical to the financial and physical security of motorists everywhere 😎 His piggy revenue-grubbing opinions had no place in what was supposed to pass for a technical class.

      • Hi William,

        I watched the video; the driver was driving extremely recklessly – high speed, abrupt lane change – in a full-size SUV. The driver killed herself and the passenger unlucky enough to be in the vehicle with her.

        • Agree. But in the news report authorities say they doesn’t know what caused the wreck. Probably before they saw the video we saw of the partying going on in the vehicle.

  6. What you’re complaining about isn’t really defensive driving, which I learned on a bike involved going a little faster than everybody else and assuming they would do the stupidest least rational thing possible.

    The real issue (with due apologies to RG and the other exceptions that prove the rule) is the feminization of everything. Safety is simply not a primary virtue. It is something to be considered in context of whatever you’re doing

    • Ain’t feminization, it’s authority worship, statism.

      Plenty of people get one speeding ticket and from that point forward they decide the smart thing to do (and the thing that they feeeeeeeeel everyone else should do too) is obey, obey, obey.

      Sure is hard to convince grown men with reverence for the lawh that it’s safe to use their own judgment over what their govt claims is best for them.

  7. Around here it’s the joggers in the left lane rolling slow in their hoopties. They think that the “center lane” as they call it is just for the endangered species. Our local Sheriff won’t enforce improper lane usage because as he says ” it’s a divisive issue”.

  8. I always laugh when I’m watching a movie and the actor is driving a vehicle in the middle of nowhere and then he stops at a “STOP” sign… priceless.

  9. Defensive driving turned into timid, slow, rude, inconsiderate driving.

    People obstructing traffic are far more dangerous than “speeders”. Many bottlenecks wouldn’t even exist if people would just go!!!!

    The national 55 mph speed limit for two decades (and continuing in urban areas) resulted in most “drivers” aka meat sacks not even being aware of keep right unless passing. With most road planners today rabidly anti-car its amazing things aren’t even worse.

  10. The first car I ever owned was a new 1980 Chevrolet Chevette (affectionately referred to as a Shove-It, and yes, I’m dating myself). Believe it or not, at the ripe old age of 18 when I bought the car, I actually read the owner’s manual. In it, instructions were given on how to pass. It showed an example of passing a semi, accelerating smartly ’til you hit a top speed of 85 MPH. You read that right, 85 MPH. Apart from one highway in Texas now, and the state of Montana, briefly, after the 55 MPH nationwide limit was repealed, there has never been a “legal” speed limit in the USA of 85 MPH. (FYI – the reason 85 was so important is that the stock tires for the Shove-It were rated to 85 MPH.) Essentially, you were told by the manufacturer of the car to stomp on it and get up to a speed over the posted limit to execute a passing maneuver, when you needed to. Those were the days.

    Defensive driving used to be a good thing, and, done properly, still is. But that is only when it depends on the skill of the driver, not the paranoia of the driver. I’ve had defensive driving courses before, when I drove a semi (the Smith System). They taught me to be on the lookout for kids or dogs running into the road in neighborhoods, cars potentially turning out in front of you from a driveway or side street, be aware of obstacles or low clearances, etc. All good things. What you’re describing is not defensive driving, it’s paranoid and idiotic driving.

    • I drove one of those shove its from Indy to Nashville in 5 hours in a driving rainstorm, with 4 people in the car, no seatbelts, permission from the others, and we arrived safely without incident at our destination. Speed on the road averaged between 75-80 mph. It was not even my own car, it belonged to one of the other young occupants. The return trip was under much better conditions.

  11. I attribute my deft at all things driving to three experiences: 1) Driving a 25ft delivery truck one summer while in college, 2) Driving a motorcycle, and 3) Driving the autobahn. Those 3 things taught me so much. On a somewhat smaller scale, I taught my kids to drive a) a stickshift, and b) a Ford Econoline van. So, pretty much, they can drive any car well.

  12. Had a run in with a new type of Clover on Monday. The hyper-miler EV Clover. Coming up on a red light this “driver” will let up on the gas, with the regen braking slowing them down. It’s bad enough when the damn dump trucks do it because they don’t want to have to run up through all the gears, but it is like fingers on the chalkboard when behind a Tesla model 3. They’ll crawl along at 5 mph but never, never ever come to a complete stop at a red light. Because if they stop the have to get moving again, and this makes the red-green eco light sad. An object in motion vs an object at rest and all. And this was about 500 feet from the intersection. If I got over into the passing lane, inevitability there’s someone not paying attention in the long line of vehicles so the EV Clover will still get through the intersection before the rest of us. Damned if you switch lanes and damned if you don’t.

    I recall when I took my drivers’ test the officer dinged me a point because I did a taxi stop at the stop sign. Seems to me these hyper-miler clovers are doing just that and being “rewarded” for it.

  13. Junior Brown sings ‘Highway Patrol’ over at Youtube. Talented musician right there.

    Drove I-80 from west Iowa north of Omaha over to Des Moines, trucks traveling to Chicago every single mile of the way. Packed truck traffic that never stops. All were driving the speed limit, highway patrol making traffic stops every five miles or so. You travel the speed limit all the way across Iowa on I-80, there are rules. You just go the speed limit if you know what’s good for you.

    You didn’t bother to pass anybody, you were being watched every inch of the way. If you had to change lanes to allow room, you did and that was about it.

    After Des Moines, headed down south to Muscatine on the Mississippi River, one of Mark Twain’s old haunts, his parents lived there for a while.

  14. In my area, most of the speed limit on the main, non-highway roads is 35. And many people (maddeningly, to me, anyway) drive exactly at 35. Couple that with homes along the road displaying that green plastic turtle thing with the orange flag, which says “drive like your kids live here.” Last week, I watched (from my rear view) some guy holding a rake and shouting and convulsing at me to Slow Down! as I barreled past him. I’m afraid the prognosis is terminal.

    • I had an old man on my route standing outside with one of those signs in his yard. Speed limit is 35 on this rural road, but everyone does at least 45. As was I that day. As I passed, I noticed he had his camera out, recording. Dude, if you’re worried about your kids getting run over, teach them about the dangers of playing in the road, you know, where cars go.

      • Nothing more annoying than people who buy houses on main roads cause they can get the house cheaper than say a similar sized house on a cul-de-sac then complain about cars driving at main road speeds past their house. You made the decision to buy a house on a main road its not the driver’s fault, keep your kids in the backyard and you won’t have an issue.

        • Hi Antilles,

          In re kids/streets. I’m puzzled by the change. When I was a kid, we were either the responsibility of our parents or responsible for ourselves. We were taught to not run in the road. To respect traffic, not play in it.

          Today, as with so many things, it’s all upside down. Now it is the obligation of the traffic to watch out for kids too dumb to not respect traffic and parents who can’t be bothered to watch their kids.

          • Eric,

            “We were taught to not run in the road. To respect traffic, not play in it.”

            Who is this “we” you speak of kemotherapy?

            One of my mother’s favorite admonitions was, “You boys run along now and go play in the street”.

            I actually lived on Main Street.

            Another thing she was quite fond of doing was grabbing the longest knife in the drawer, holding the handle against her stomach and saying, “Come give me a BIG hug”.

            For some odd reason none of us ever got run over or impaled. Perhaps the larger lesson was to question authoritah.

            Before South Park, a popular bumper sticker was “Question Authority.” Anyone remember that?

            The first word mom taught me to spell was antidisestablishmentarianism.

            Might have had something to do with her being born in Scotland.

          • I’ve been driving down the neighborhood streets and sometimes there will be kids playing in the street and THEY DON’T GET OUT OF THE WAY! Parent failure.

            • Philo,

              How did you ever survive?

              I’m sure you followed your father’s instructions.

              “ there will be kids playing in the street and THEY DON’T GET OUT OF THE WAY! ”

              What about the ones walking in the middle of a street with sidewalks on both sides?

              I remember pulling out of my driveway and discovering five black yutes walking abreast in the center of the street.

              Patiently following them for half a block until I was right on their collective asses. They finally scattered and one slammed my hood and pulled out a Glock saying, “You want some of this mother fucker!”

              I yelled back, “Stay off the sidewalk! Sidewalks are for white people only punks!”

              As I drove away slowly I looked in the rear view and they had moved to the sidewalk.

              True story.

              He didn’t have the proper sights on his gun. If he had these I would have wished I was wearing Depends.

              https://www.glockforum.net/threads/homeboy-sites-for-your-glock.970/#lg=thread-970&slide=0

  15. Skill at anything is no longer a desirable trait. Hence “participation” trophies. No desire to be good at what you do. There is a vast difference between a good driver and a “safe” driver. We could all immediately become a “safe” driver by driving 10 mph below the posted limit. Never mind the accidents caused by doin so, since you won’t be the one paying the bill. I’ve ridden with a number of so called “safe” drivers, and been terrified the entire time. Because it was immediately apparent that any out of the ordinary situation would be beyond their ability to accommodate. Getting caught in a train of slow moving traffic is detrimental to my ability to focus. I find myself thinking about other things. Since moving so slowly requires little of my attention. Until something bad happens. At which time I’m not focused. like the plague, “safety at all costs” ignores the cost. “if it saves one life” ignores how many lives might be lost in saving one.

    • Kable,

      “Skill at anything is no longer a desirable trait.”

      Sometimes you come up the most beautifully prophetic shit.

      “Hence “participation” trophies”

      Never made that connection before. But that sure answers the how.

      Listening to something few days back. Either an airline or the Friends Against Aviation (FAA) had announced a new diversity program.

      Guy says, “As a passenger, I’d like the best people flying the plane and controlling the airspace.”

  16. Oh…don’t get me started.

    I grew up in Northern Va, where awful drivers from all over the country migrate. Over 20 years ago, I moved to North Dallas, where it was refreshing to find people driving properly. You didn’t drive the speed limit in the left lane because in short order there’d be a soccer mom in an Expedition or a local in an F-250 crawling up your ass. I knew better than to be caught there in my 4 cyl camry.

    But that’s gone now. Locusts have swarmed here from all over bringing their bad habits with them, chief of which is driving slow in the left lane. There’s another phenomenon that I cannot fathom, which is when pulling up to a light, the nobs stay one car length back. Literally enough for me to pull in front of them. This is especially stupid when they do this and they are first up. I want to get out and shriek at them pointing at the sensors in the ground they aren’t sitting above. The lights here aren’t timed mostly. Sometimes they don’t turn green if there’s no one waiting.

    I’ve also noticed an epidemic of the utter lack of common sense and technical skill. Each secondary road here is 6 lanes wide. they are on a flat grid of squares 1 mile per side. Plenty of turn lanes. Plenty of opportunity to u-turn, or simply turn where you need to go further down the street, yet a week won’t go by where I come up on a not of traffic caused by a doofus in the left lane, who I’ll go around only to see them turn hard right across the other two lanes. No one thinks to use signals and traffic lights seem optional.

    I can’t say how many times I’ve been first up at a light, it goes green and I see someone coming up fast, running the light. And theirs is hard read. The other day I was approaching a light which went green and watched a fool turning left, form the left side street, cut off the dude in front of me and scoot two lanes over. I had to see. A blue hair. And a foreign one to boot.

    I was going to a Dr. appointment one morning. Went through a school zone, I’m in the left lane. I clear the zone, speed up – no one is in front of me. Look at the clock on the dash to see where I am timewise, look up and I saw the car a second or two be before I smashed into her. She was turning from the left lane (with no turn lane – the opening was for a side street to turn). Said she’d been there minutes.

    Both cars I own have dashcams now. You have to have them. We’ve been lucky in the past that witnesses have stepped up. But you can’t count on that.

    When my son got his first motorcycle, I told him forget everything he learned about defensive driving. You have to drive like everyone is trying to kill you. Expect them to do something stupid. I said you need to be moving slightly faster than everyone else. People see differential speed, they won’t notice you if you are putting along like a granny in a car. Drive offensively. You want them to say – “Look at that asshole on the bike!”

    • I have driven, over the last 45 years, in Europe, Central America, and all over the US. Hands down, as of my last trip there in 2019, Dallas drivers are IMHO the worst, even beating Greek taxi drivers in Athens and bumper sucking drivers in rush hour on the North Freeway in Houston! I don’t have statistics to back the suspicion up, but I suspect a huge influx of people from third world countries is causing a lot of the mayhem. Particularly, the rapid, unexpected, and grossly unwarranted changes of lanes (across multiple lanes) points to a complete disregard for the flow of traffic, and the consequences of interrupting said flow suddenly. It’s as if there is no concept of consequences of actions thought out beforehand. I’ve seen it before in other countries. In most of them, however, the roads do not usually allow high speed driving, so the consequences are just horns honking and mad Greeks waving out the window, and cursing your family heritage. In Dallas, at 70 MPH, the results can be much worse.

      I taught my kids the exact same thing, assume the other drivers are idiots, do not know how to drive, and have no problem smashing into you. Assume they want you dead, and assume they will do the most stupid thing you can imagine, and you may come out OK.

      • I was going north on I-35 just past downtown, and watched a woman in the left lane do a few 360s and smash into the barrier for no reason. Sunny, dry day. Light traffic.

  17. Morning Eric,

    You say, “ speed limit signs are sacred totems, to be obeyed mindlessly – italicized to emphasize the fact it is mindless to obey a sign based on nothing more than it being a sign and because one fears disobeying the mindless legal requirement to obey it.

    How do you mesh that the reality that failing to obey those signs WILL, necessarily, result in the use of deadly force?

    Against the disobedient.

    If you fail to stop for the flashing lights, they will chase you down and kill you if necessary.

    Even back in the day, before all the electronic “tools” to assist the AGW, when you could go years or even decades with a suspended/revoked. If you steadfastly refused to pay up or go in the cage what would happen?

    Those signs really do represent a gun to your head. Comply or die. The “choice” is yours.

    I liken it to letting a plane run out of gas. 99.8% of the time you can glide to a safe landing. But the one time you encounter a sudden headwind (in this case some AGW hiding in wait to prey on you) you might end up in a tree.

    https://www.cafepress.com/planeinatree.800053216

    I’m not disputing the utter ridiculousness of having to stop or slow down when it is obviously safe to proceed.

    • Hi T,

      Luckily – for now – only may “result in the use of deadly force” if you ignore the signs. I am living proof, as I ignore them every day, serially!

      • Eric,

        Agree.

        But as the gestinja mobiles ever increasingly become more and more stealth…

        And electronic enforcement is more refined.

        That electric “Buckle Up – Phone Down” paired with a camera WILL become a sacred totem.

        Remember the Brady Bunch goes to Hawaii?

        The curse will be upon thee.

  18. Morning Eric,

    “Defensive” driving dogma has created a superabundance of extremely offensive drivers, self righteous and/or clueless twits like our dearly departed ur-clover; a creature who once bragged about crawling up to red lights, rather than maintaining speed until necessary to slow down, so he could save a little gas. He didn’t care one whit that, by doing so, he destroyed most of the natural gaps that occur, allowing a driver waiting at a side street to cross or enter traffic.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    • My son is learning to drive. Recently we were driving at night, and another driver approached from the other direction, with his high beams on. I told my son to flick his lights to alert the other driver. He did, but told me that his driver’s manual advises drivers who meet a car that is blinding them with their high beams to LOOK AWAY. That’s right, don’t provoke(?) the other driver by making them aware of their forgetfulness or inconsideration. The reason given in the manual was something like you will both be blinded.

      So, instead of using the obvious and quickest solution, drivers are being taught to allow themselves to be blinded and let the idiot go on his way, obliviously and inconsiderately blinding all of the cars after you, as well. But at least they won’t have their feelings hurt.

      I told my son he better flick his lights EVERY TIME he sees high beams approaching.

      • I used to dim my lights at the first sign of an opposing car in the distance. For my consideration, 90% of other drivers would leave theirs on high. Probably because not seeing someone else dip their beams, they don’t even consider which beam thy have on.

        Now, I drive with my high beams on until the other guy dips his. Rarely happens. Shitty behavior but screw it, I can be considerably ‘inconsiderate’ after considering the situation. Think I will add one (or two) of those moronic LED light bars soon too. I see lots of them now. May as well join the idiots. Can’t beat ’em. They would charge me with assault.

        Man, I used to be such a nice person too. Organisms adapt to their environment.

  19. ‘But it takes a mind – capable of exercising judgment in a specific circumstance’ — EP

    Independent minds are becoming a headache for Biden’s plan to vaccinate 70% of the population by the beginning of summer.

    NYT’s chart shows that in the past week, a 7-day average vax rate that crested at 3.3 million doses a day — to much whooping and hollering from the ruling regime — is now 3.02 million a day, and falling fast. See for yourself:

    https://ibb.co/tJ8KTBg

    This sudden decline is not because supplies ran out or nurses went on strike. It’s because the pool of motivated customers is reaching exhaustion.

    Now the task of Big Gov turns to persuasion: gentle at first, but perhaps escalating to various flavors of “Papiere, Bitte” much like the notorious Real ID Act which becomes FINAL in Oct 2021 — otherwise no more flying for you.

    Whether the vaccination decline will prove embarrassing for Old Corn Pop depends on whether he even knows what’s going on. Right now he’s too busy cheering on howling mobs to notice.

  20. Vehicles can effortlessly cruise at 80-100 with ease these days, most tires can handle buck thirty, roads are long enough that you’d have time to slow up for your exit… And you’re supposed to drive mostly 65-75 and like it.

    Sorry, hows going 100++ when the roads empty and no ones around me dangerous?
    Hows it reckless when on a busy RT where no ones around that I accelerate fast enough to hit 5 over and the distance between me and the next guy 2-3 bus lengths
    Why cant I pass up Karen or old man rivers or the masked clover going 30-35 in a 50 who wont budge and gives me the one finger salute when I flash and honk because it’s a solid line?
    (Etc.)

    Every day, we stray further from the way.

    • Most all technology is underutilized these days. Many of the reasons why have to do with regulation and barriers to entry for new players in the marketplace. The exception being infrastructure managed by Uncle. We’re facing a Colorado River pact “compact call” this summer because the Bureau of Reclamation has done such a horrible job of managing the Colorado river and the big storage dams. Every year is a drought year, even when there’s record snowfalls in the Rockies. Every year there’s a threat of a compact call, even though there’s never any talk of reducing flows through the generating stations or allowing the reservoirs fill. Roads are always backed up and falling apart. Everything is a crisis.

      • This is why Govt needs to be stripped to the bone.

        Always use the analogy of stuck in the 00’s with Pimp My Ride, Govt is an overblinged escalade with twin superchargers, spinners, enough Speakers and shit to fill a home theater with, scissor doors, etc. etc. that gets 8 gallons to the mile.

        Need to repo the car, strip it and sell all the parts to recoup some $$$, then give them some manual bare bones geo metro or civic that has ac and a radio as “Luxury options”

        Imagine how much more efficient things would be with the same equivalency… also why I’d never be a Pol, I’d make that happen, but they’d dig up all sorts of dirt on me, so rather just find someone with the same view points

  21. “”defensive” driving counsels mindless, general obedience.”

    So does accepting diaper mandates, sickness kabuki and belief in globull warming.

    The worst are the left lane drivers who will sit in the left lane doing the speed limit or less, not passing anyone and then after 7 or 8 cars are forced to pass this person on the right, having to weave in and out of traffic to get around the left lane hog the driver will then move over when noone is left behind them anymore.
    In my younger days i had been know to pass this person get back into the left lane and then slow down, ot jam on the brakes but just let off the gas, forcing them to move over to the right to pass me, then when they are over to the right i would slam the gas pedal getting back up to speed and allowing the cars stacked up behind the slow driver to blow past them.

    • Had that happen on Sunday, old man in his Jewcedes Benz (ES350) was going “just 70~” in the left and then had the nerve to look at me like IM the asshole when you see the line behind me on the highway

      Here in Dirty Jerzy, left lanes for speeding as well as passing, and with no AGW sitting in the divider, you damn well know everyone’s going over 80.

      Best are these clovers who flip ya off as you pass and get back to the left as they disappear in your rear view mirror.

      • Zane,

        Heading back home on the gsp on sunday night i was exceeding the ptb speed sign considerably, not in the left lane because there was no one at rhat time for me to pass and i got passed twice in succession like i was standing still. Both cars had to be in the triple digit speed zone

        • Sports cars, Muscle, super or just something generic like a Toyota or BMW?

          Meanwhile, AGW would go for you if he saw ya 3 as you’re the weakest link.

          We need to find a way to make being here in this Dump of a state tolerable, though it’s so corrupt, surprised they dont pressure more AGW’s to pull people over for revenue

          • 1 BMW 1 Acura and i was in the wife’s Traverse. Not so shocking i caught up to both right around exit 105 after the toll. All 3 of us and about 8 other cars got stuck behind a minivan doing no more than 68 in the left lane. My wife went to say something when they darted over 2 lanes to get around him but i cut her off and reminded her thst if the asshat in the minivan had kept right none of it would have been necessary. When i finally got by the minivan my assumption of a diaper wearing driver was confirmed. Yes, diapers on the face of the only person in the car blocking traffic in the left lane of the gsp. I wish i could say that shocks me but it doesn’t here.

            • Hey, im 105

              God, nothing I hate more than the Masked Douchebag who feels its their moral Authoritah to slow traffic down.

              Other best is 20 people in one lane and 0 in the next lane, like hi sheep’s.

              Curious, am I the only person who pulls from light’s like a speed demon or am I usually just around sheep and texting girls/women

  22. Good article Eric. It was so bad (pre-corona) on my local interstate in a metro area that snowflakes from the city would drive the speed limit in the left lane, many of them. It was countless and you couldn’t get away from the disaster they created because it was so crowded it really didn’t matter anyway. What always ensued was many drivers wanting to go a little faster would always pass in the right lane because the snowflakes would NOT move over, over 50% of them, oblivious or worse. us faster drivers would literally resort to driving in the right lanes all the time and taking our chances with the semi’s. Crazy right? It was maddening either way.
    Now during corona, a lot of these problems went away, guessing cause the snowflakes weren’t on the road at all. I was in heaven, driving comfortably at speed for the past year.
    Unfortunately, traffic is creeping back up and the problems are coming back. This is one thing I LOVED about corona………….

  23. Oregonians and Washingtonians notoriously drive at or below the speed limit in the left lane. So much so there are signs on the open freeway in the back country “Keep Right; Left Lane for Passing”-Dumbasses.
    Same people wearing their masks in their cars.

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