Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving travel

Well, we're at Grandma's house for Thanksgiving again, a topic I'll revisit tomorrow on Thanksgiving day. Today, I'll just touch on the topic of driving. Specifically, drivers. More precisely, bad drivers. As in: there's way too damn many of them. I have always believed that getting behind the wheel of a car makes you more than a "driver." It makes you a pilot of the vehicle you're now in control of and a pilot is responsible for both the safe operation of his ship and the actions that ship takes in response to his controls. That responsibility does not stop outside of a 120° arc centered on the nose of the vehicle.

I am, apparently, severely in the minority in this opinion. On open highways today as I traveled at 65 mph with clear spaces as large as a mile in front of me I counted a dozen instances where drivers of other cars passed me and then cut over into my lane at distances of less than 2 car-lengths. At the speeds we were travelling, we cover nearly 100 feet per second. At a range of less than 50, a quick brake reducing the speed differential by just 20 mph or so would cut the reaction time of the trailing driver to between 1 and 2 seconds.

All unnecessarily.

Excessive speed (highway speed limit +15-20 mph), erratic and unpredicatable behavior, failure to maintain a safe distance, failure to maintain a consistent speed, and one example after another of a driver far more interested in their cell phone keypad than in what was going on ahead of their car. Fun driving, to put it sarcastically. Here's hoping you, gentle reader, are safe this holiday, and not one of the aforementioned "drivers."