Passivity in Motion

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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.

And then, you do it.

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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  1. I pass on double yellows all the time, especially on my bikes. If I have room to pass and can see then I am going to get it done. I smile at the thought of distress I bring to the mentally challenged drivers.

  2. Well, Eric, at least ya did me a HUGE favor w/o realizing it, by posting that portrait of that freakshow that masquerades as our Surgeon General. To think that…that…THING (and I’d rather get ‘frisky’ with Chewbacca, not that I’ve a hankering for Wookies, mind you…) had the RANK of a Vice-Admiral in the US Public Health Service. Salute THAT? ‘Fik that! I’d have risked a general court-martial!

  3. I had a great defensive drivers’ course in the fire department.

    I remember “12 steps to a safe pass”. The only step I remember is step number one: “Is it necessary?”.

    I’m retired, so for me, it’s not.

    Plenty pissed off impatient worker bees. I let them pass.

    And I ain’t slow, I do 5-10 over. Anything more than 10 over is “criminal” according to Arizona Department of Safety (Highway Patrol).

    Aloha Nui!

  4. I have passed in similar circumstances. Heck, for that matter, a couple few times when some freaking dumb ass was pissing me off. I’m like… “watch this shit… asshole!”…. ZOOM! Along with a little “see ya!” wave! 👋

  5. Being a cyclist, I can’t stand the people who won’t pass bicycles. If it is clear to pass there’s no reason why not. Yes, on a tight turn downhill (but then again, you probably won’t need to anyway) or if there’s a lot of oncoming traffic, but most of the time cyclists aren’t on busy streets. Exception being the convicted DUI cyclists but they are usually on the sidewalk. I wave people on, and there they sit. I pull off to the edge of the lane, and there they sit. I pull off the road and stop. Only then will they pass my extended middle finger.

    Why are they so infuriating? Because they’re an unknown. They could pass anytime, but won’t. Or will they? I’ve had cars sit on my rear wheel all the way uphill, only to shoot past me at the crest when I start to pick up speed. They might try to pass by crowding me out because that double-yellow is a force field (or, you know, Jesus is always watching or something). At least with Cummins-Ram coal rollers I’m fairly sure I know what’s going to happen.

    • Yes. I used to cycle quite a bit. With all of the people using their phones, it has gotten decidedly worse for cyclists, therefore, I don’t ride much anymore. The people who hang behind us are the same kind who wear masks, are members of the sierra club or have some kind of “support” bumper sticker (“=”) on their Subaru wagon. They are infuriating. A cancer. We can’t coexist with them.

      • Hi Anthony,

        Yup. I sympathize with cyclists. They aren’t (usually) the problem. The problem is the drivers who can’t. Unable to deal with passing a cyclist unless they have the whole of the other lane, across the double yellow – and at least five minutes to execute the maneuver, too.

    • Re: ReadyKilowatt May 9, 2022 At 8:37 am
      I hate it as well. They sit there behind me far too close if something should happen. But there’s a worse kind that won’t pass. They’ll do the same thing but lay on their horn for me (the bicyclist) to stop, dismount, and then carry my bicycle off the roadway. To them I respond by taking the lane (this typically happens on four lane roads, where there is a passing lane). I am not going to hop a curb or risk wiping out on gravel for their sake.

  6. They don’t know what to do, because the public schools teach them that they don’t know what to do, without the Psychopaths In Charge telling them what to do, or more vigorously, what not to do. When they graduate, they are primed and ready to swallow what the Psychopaths say as gospel, along with what corporate media says, as if their lives depended on it. If there’s one thing I simply cannot stand, it’s a “law abiding citizen” that will attempt to abide by each and every law. Including the one against crossing a double yellow. Including crashing into something they could easily have driven around, because of the double yellow force field. I actually had a “driver” change lanes, crossing the double yellow, to keep me from passing on the double yellow. Forcing me to go from full throttle second gear to standing on the brakes to keep from hitting them, barely. Once crested a hill on two lane where a “driver” was not only stopped in the middle of my lane, but was BACKING UP!

  7. Allowing that amount of traffic to get backed up behind you is illegal in Nevada, and possibly in other states. If three or more cars are waiting to get around you, you must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and let them pass. Failure to do so can get you a ticket for obstructing traffic, if the fuzz happens to witness it.

    • Hi Scott,

      I don’t fault the garbage truck’s driver in this case because he’s not out of line; i.e., just being a dick/deliberately being an impediment. He was picking up the garbage. The driver of the cars behind the trash truck could have gone around it. They just chose not to. When two or three so choose, it becomes almost impossible/dangerous for anyone else to get around. It’s the the thus the drivers of the first and second cars behind the garbage truck who are causing the problem.

  8. Rachael and Lia made a date, one made in wherever it might be. Pete Buttigieg is hoping for a whatever it might be.

    Joe is hoping for the Thing, whatever that is or will ever be.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Make up all the stuff you want, you still can’t make this stuff up.

    Are we there yet? Be here now and all of the zen involved with the nonchalant jazz of where there is.

    Whatever that is.

  9. I had a similar experience years ago in littleton assachusetts. Everybody was stopped for a truck wrangling a trailer into a parking lot. He had been out of the road for a full minute when I just said fukkit and gave’er all she got in my tiny suzuki sidekick. I passed at least 6 droolers and as soon as I was clear FINALLY some coont shot up behind me with her sail fawn snitch device lunged to her windshield. Got my plate bish? Good luck with that. Mwhaha! Commuting into massive-two-shits from new hamshit was like entering the twilight zone. I even saw some soccer mom in a mini van stop dead in the road to wave someone out of a driveway (a common occurrence) and almost get liquified by a loaded dump truck. Guy laid on his air horn and made an expert dodge into the oncoming lane which I was forced to shoulder or get creamed myself. When I passed the twit she was still sitting there in the road CRYING. I wish she got pulverized. No doubt this “driver” made it a habit to stop without any concern for others as many do in central mass. I hope they all got their boosters.

    • Hi FtheNE,

      I feel your pain. Often. Just the other day, I was on my way to pick up a repaired window sash in Christiansburg, Va – which is about 45 minutes to an hour away from me. I needed to get to the shop before it closed at 5 and left my place in plenty of time to get there. But I found myself behind a big bluto F150 dawdling along at about 44 on the road posted 55. As is my practice, I did not tailgate or crowd the guy. I just waited for line-of-sight/opportunity and passed him when I could. This enraged the Freak – who then tail-gaited me all the way up to 75-plus MPH, after which I lost the Freak in the curves.

      What is this all about? Ape dominance ritual behavior. It infuriated him that I passed; that I wanted to drive faster than he thought appropriate. Because – mark this – he was all of a sudden fine driving much faster than the speed limit, in order to “teach me a lesson” or some such.

      The thought flashed through my head to stop and see what he’d do. But, you never know whether you’re dealing with a true crazy – and besides, while it is fun to think about it, I am old enough and wise enough now to not get into a roadside fight with some idiot over some ape dominance dispute.

      It was easier (and quite fun) to just leave him fuming in the rearview… Freaks such as this almost invariably being unable to drive fast in the curves.

      • Same happened to me on the way home from work a few weeks ago when I passed a dawdler. Guy was honking, on my tail, and snapping cellphone pics at 75mph on a 2 lane. And, yes, was all over the road trying to keep up when the curves hit.

      • I’ve had that happen a few times too, I think your term “ape dominance” is a good description. Self appointed law enforcers thinking they can enforce the “rules”.

      • Since I’m short and what not, I don’t mess with anyone. If I was bigger and stronger, I would have stopped to see what the asshole would do. No one has been able to catch me on 4 wheels except for Officer Unfriendly. No civilian, that is.

        • I’ve thought about it, Swamp –

          But, these things can escalate to insanity these days. I carry. I don’t want to get involved in a gun fight over what, 20 years ago, would have been a fist fight (at worst) and probably just cussin’ and yellin’. Besides, I take great pleasure – as you do – in just out-driving them. This infuriates them to no end because they think they are the “good driver” and we are the “reckless” ones. They try to follow – and can’t. Who’s the better driver now, dickface?

          Ho! Ho! Ho!

          • Yeah, it’s been this bad for a while. Remember the car shooting in LA? It happened in 1988. Society began it’s controlled demolition sometime around 1984 when we were listening to some trans dude at the time talk about being a chamelion and when Michael Jackson began changing skin color. In any case, remember also, in 1989, two redneck broads at Wal Mart got into a fistfight on Black Friday over some kid’s doll. They started this melee.

            In 1974, we were treated to systematic abuse on the highways with the 55 mph speed limit. In 1984, NY enacted the first seat belt law. By 1989, every state save for NH enacted belt laws. Followed up in the 1990s with kids chairs.

            It’s been a long bumpy ride downhill. I want off this crap

      • Well, since you’re in VA, and at least for NOW you have a “Gubernator” that indicated respect for 2A…can you at least “carry” in your ride, so if the control freak driving the F150 were more than merely annoying, you could either “persuade” him to bother someone else, or, if he was that “obtuse”, give him some “hot lead therapy”?

        Me, I don’t seek any fights, let alone with firearms, but someone that gets road rage over being passed is already misusing a potentially “deadly weapon”, as 4,000 pounds of steel, glass, and rubber, with 20 gallons of gasoline on board, can become. “Safety” isn’t necessarily being unduly timid, it’s about having RESPECT for the laws of physics and what can go wrong if they’re disregarded!

  10. I get this a lot being out in the country. I will give them a chance, but if they don’t take it, I will pass whoever is behind the truck; I’ve never seen a line this long waiting on a Biden fan club truck before though.

    • Hi Dan,

      I see it more and more often. Maybe it’s something in the water? Or the Jabs? Seriously – it waxes worse. This vehicular torpor. This Novocained “movement.” It is because generations have been conditioned to “drive” this way – and cars made over the past 10-plus years encourage it. The trend toward meatsacking transportation is evident. If not derailed – and it probably won’t be – within ten years, torpor and passivity will be the new paradigm, because that’s exactly what is wanted.

      • The technology for meatsacking was being developed in the 1980s and the word “telematics”, whatever the fuck that is, began in the early 1990’s. I used to read “Automotive News”, which was a publication for automotive professionals mainly dealers, but it was for OEM product planner types as well. Keith Crain, remember him? He was/is a complete jerkoff. He helped lead the jerkoff movement into the auto industry, of course abetted by idiots at the top. Like Ed Polling, some guy named Peterson from GM and Iacocca, a PR schmuck from Lehigh University.

        Back to telematics, as early as the mid 1990’s they were talking about cars that could be unlocked by scanning your driver’s license. The slippery slope started early. Since the mid 2010’s we have been reaping the poison from it.

        Telematics, shit.

      • Ep,
        Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but a recent Farmers Insurance TV ad had to be the most asshole commercial I’ve ever witnessed!

        A bunch of Clovers stop at a 4way….and spend the rest of the commercial trying to get one of the assholes to go first…with all this waving and “I insist”…you go first…all the time sitting at the stop looking totally stupid.

        Wow, just Wow!

        • Hi LN,

          Yup – I’ve seen. And my reaction was similar to that of Elvis whenever he saw Robert Goulet come on the tube. But – as I am not Elvis – I can’t shoot the TV when it offends, alas!

  11. Interesting question – would an “autonomous” car be able to pass a trash truck or bicycle?

    Something I’ve noticed – the people who can’t seem to drive faster than the posted limit also cannot seem to stay between the lines, particularly around curves. They also tend to randomly tap the brakes. I’m guessing these are the same types that can’t or won’t pass a trash truck, bicyclist, front end loader, mowing crew, or other impediment. DWV.

  12. My record is 11 cars in one pass, on my 450 Honda. Straight road, open sight lines, no one would pass. Some old couple doing 45 in a 60. There were wide shoulders so on the bike I had an out if someone finally made a move. This was about 45 years ago on the state highway up to Mt Rainier.

    Soviet of Washington with moron drivers since forever.


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