The other day, I published an article about passive passing. About how people have been conditioned to regard a safely executed fast pass as “unsafe” – and for that reason, most don’t even try to pass. Instead, they meekly follow, their pace determined by the pace of the car ahead of them, whose driver refuses to drive even the speed limit – which as everyone knows is the minimum speed for whatever the road you’re on happens to be.
If you drive slower than that, you are driving well below the speed most other cars are doing and – by doing that, you cause traffic to slow, often to a crawl. The obvious solution, of course, is to speed up to at least the speed limit and if that’s “too fast” for you, then the least you can do is take action to facilitate the passing of the traffic you’re holding up. As by briefly moving off onto the shoulder, for instance. It’s not even a minor inconvenience. But it is very considerate.
If only more people would practice such courtesy when driving, traffic would flow faster and smoother – and that would reduce the time we all have to spend in traffic as well as lessen the aggravation of it.
Instead, many just drive at their ow, solipsistically slow pace, indifferent to the way they are slowing up traffic. But as bad as that is, it is compounded when a driver behind the slow driver is too timid to pass. That makes it harder for the car behind him to pass – because he must now pass two slow-pokes. If he doesn’t pass, then it becomes three – and that often makes it impossible for the next car that rolls in behind to pass.
Sometimes, these refuse-to-passers will tailgate the slow car ahead of them. This is fascinating, given the refuse-to-passers will often say the reason they don’t pass is that it’s not “safe” for them to try – which is true, if the pass is passive. It is almost impossible to ever pass if one isn’t willing to “speed” – because of the time it otherwise takes to complete the pass and the limited (by time) opportunities to do the deed. They dread passing safely – which almost necessarily entails “speeding” – and so they squat. instead.
Often right on the bumper of the car ahead – as in the case of the video accompanying this rant.
It is arguably – no, it is absolutely – not “safe” to follow the car ahead too closely, that being defined as not leaving enough room to slow – to a stop, if need be – if the car ahead suddenly slows (or stops). As opposed to the purely hypothetical assertion that driving any faster than any speed limit, anytime and anywhere, is by definition “unsafe.”
That is absurd.
But tailgating a slow-poke you’re afraid to pass is both obnoxious and dangerous. It isn’t going to motivate the slow-poke to drive any faster. It may motivate him to drive even slower. It may motivate him to brake check you. The latter term referring to the deliberate slamming-on of the brakes so as to unsettle the driver of the car tailgating. If you end up not being able to stop in time – and end up hitting him from behind – it’ll be you that gets the ticket, the “points” on your DMV record and the bill (i.e., the premium “adjustment”) in the mail from the insurance mafia.
Wouldn’t it be better to just pass?
As by stomping on the gas?
Isn’t that what all that power (there has never been more of it) new cars come standard with is for? If you’re not going to make use of it, why bother why it? Isn’t it spectacularly stupid to spend money on an engine (and the gas to feed it) that serves no operational purpose? Is it not like building a battleship and floating the thing in a backyard pond?
At least in the once-upon-a-time, there was good reason for not passing that had nothing to do with legalities. That reason being the cars of the once-upon-a-time (this was prior to the early 2000s) often lacked the power to safely pass and for that reason it would have been actually unsafe to try, absent plenty of road – and time – to make up for the lack of scoot.
But here we are – in a time of plenty, as regards power – and many refuse to use it, even when it’s clear they’d like to.
Instead, they squat – and express their dislike of having to slow down to the pace of the Jab-addled Clover ahead of them by tailgating him.
Qualifying themselves for Cloverhood, too!
. . .
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