Rant and Rave

John W. Rosa sent the following letter
(response sent from mail@cartalk.com).

RE: Speed Rant & Rave

Speed, in and of itself, is not dangerous. It's how that speed is directed...applied...and interfered with that causes problems. The nation's multilane highways were designed and built when there was no speed limit and cars handled like ham and swiss with extra mayo. Now our street cars are of better quality and handling than their racing counterparts of only a few years ago, and yet we are forced to stay at 65--or even 55--mph.

Fifty-five *IS* the dangerous part. At that speed, the visual input of your surroundings passes so slowly, your attention wavers from the road. You look around too much...play with radio...dig through your tapes. Maybe even tweak your makeup in the mirror. THAT person is where the accidents start. The person driving at 70 or 80 mph is fixed on the task at hand. Input comes quick, and his attention is focused. Another thing about "safe" drivers is the accidents they create. I've heard countless people say, "If I'm doing the speed limit in the 'fast' lane, there's no reason for me to move over for someone that's breaking the law."

OK, stupid, what about your own safety and the other law abiders around you? Your meandering in what is a PASSING lane (which means pass or get out of the way), not a "fast" lane, means the faster driver now must brake to avoid hitting you, and pass on the right. Yes, that's illegal, too. But so is continuous driving in the passing lane. You do NOT have the right to "block" the speeder. That is also illegal and is called "obstructing traffic." It's not your job to trap the speeder. It *IS* your job to get safely to your destination, and the safest way to do that is to avoid confrontational driving. There would be no accident if, when you saw a fast car approaching, you simply moved over. They'd be at the speed they are comfortable with, and so would you.

The main reason most of the 55ers won't do this is because they get embarrassed when passed, as if it's a race. The speeder is not competing with you. He's simply comfortable at that speed. And just like the myopic old lady who hasn't had her eyes tested since the depression--yet still has a license and crawls at 40 on a major highway, driving you 55ers crazy--so, too, do you drive the speeders crazy. Yes, they are breaking the law at that speed. But you break it when you block them...and you are the cause of the accident when the speeder collides while trying to get around you. Do you wanna stop him? Become a cop...or shut up and move over.

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