Here’s a look at the result of 50 years-plus of “defensive” driving inculcation. Of the acceptance of the premise that taking any decisive action behind the wheel of a car – other than vigorously applying the brakes, stopping in the middle of the road and doing absolutely nothing further until the car ahead of you does it first:
The all-in-a-row parking lot you see did not form just before the blind curve just ahead of where the garbage truck is, at the head of this line of parked cars. It began on the straight section you can see just ahead of where things are when this video begins rolling. There is plenty of room to pass. Plenty of visibility to see whether it is safe to pass. But not one of the cars ahead attempted to pass – because that would be illegal.
There being a double yellow line. These having been painted over what used to be a legal passing zone – as has been happening all over the country, to make it illegal to pass, anywhere. And, thereby, to discourage active driving – a decisive pass around an obstacle in the road – by illegalizing it and by Catch-22’ing those who might try it, as by embedding the doctrine that no pass is allowable – leaving aside the double yellow – if it is done with alacrity.
That wouldn’t be saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe!
And so, they sit. One after the other. The more that accumulate, the more difficult it becomes for anyone to pass – even when it’s nominally legal to do so. One may swing around a garbage truck that has stopped in the road – and is going to keep on stopping once every 50-75 yards or so, at each driveway that has a trash can to pick up. The same applies to a cyclist in the road who cannot maintain the speed of the road – or 20 or more miles-per-hour below it.
You make sure the oncoming lane is free of oncoming traffic. You gauge the distance you’ve got to cover, how long you have to cover it – and how long it will take whatever you’re driving to cover the distance.
An active stepping down upon the accelerator yields acceleration – as much as needed to safely get around whatever’s ahead. Having gotten around it, other cars coming up behind you will have an easier – a safer – time also getting around it.
This concept was once taught – as both a courtesy and a competence. But that was in the Before Time, the era prior to the rise of Safetyism, which has little to do with safety and often, much that is contrary to it. The object of Safetyism was and is to cow people into a state of . . . passivity. Why? Because passive people are obedient people. They don’rt evaluate and act on their own judgment. They obey even the most stupid rules – and stupid rule-makers, too – because they have been taught to obey. It is what you might call the Prime Directive and it applies generally, not just to driving. This latter helping to account for its general prevalence in the psyche of the population.
Condition people to mindlessly “buckle up” – all the time, every time – and is it any wonder most of them Diapered up? The underlying reflex is the same. They say it’s good for us so it must be good for us to do it. And anyone who doesn’t is a selfish, awful person. Nothing like the drivers of the first couple of cars in this video, who passively followed the crawling-along garbage truck, making no effort made to pass it. Thus making it impossible, as the line grew to an eighth of a mile long – for anyone else to pass. They were in no hurry, apparently. So neither should anyone else be. Relax! Why not enjoy the view?
This is part of the mindset. It applies to electric cars, too. What’s your hurry? It’s only 30 minutes to charge up… .
The other part – which helps them to justify it, in their minds – is that it is the “safe” thing to do, not to do anything. Enter the learned passivity, much taught to drivers lo these last 50 years. Very little is taught – or expected – as regards skill behind the wheel, except as “skill” having been redefined as arthritic passivity. The turn off the road that entails gradual deceleration (as if on an ILS glide slope) followed by a near-stop in the middle of the road, just before the turn actually begins. The tepid tortoise crawl from a dead stop at a red light gone green.
When you come upon a stopped garbage truck or bicycle in the road, don’t go around. Go slow – and maybe put on your hazard flashers, too.
Passivity in motion is meant to have the same effect upon driving that a naked picture of Rachel Levine has upon the randy thoughts of sexually healthy men. Driving rendered a chore and a bore, such that people get tired of it and no longer want it. In order to get them to want to be driven.
This being the final etiolation of both Safetyism and its underlying goal, which never had anything to do with “safety,” or driving.
. . .
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