Road Hog

I have a particular area of giftedness in determining the maximum safe speed for a given road, taking into consideration the weather, road conditions, posted legal limit, and freqency of law enforcement patrols. Therefore, the maxim that some quote as a joke is actually true for me: anyone going slower than me should speed up, and anyone going faster than me is a maniac.

Take, for example, my daily commute to work. For most of the way, the road is a narrow, winding, two-lane highway. The calculations work in this way:

Posted speed limit: 70 mph (+ 9)

Road conditions: no shoulder, frequent sharp turns, possibility of sudden
animal obstacles, limited long-range visibility. (-10)

Police Presence: rare (+ 10)

Conclusion: Safe driving speed for normal driving conditions is between 75-80 mph.

I share my highway with a black truck whose driver does not utilize the same thoughtful planning when it comes to driving speed. Every day he passes me like I am an overized combine. It doesn’t matter if the yellow line is solid or dotted, if we are on a curve or a bridge, or if the weather is inclement. This never fails to offend me. (And, regrettably, he will never be caught, because of aforementioned policing of said road.)

One recent morning, I had slowed down to the low end of the maximum safe speed for my highway, because it was foggy and raining. And I was passed by not only my arch nemesis, the truck, but by a minivan, as well! What I really want is to be given authority to make citizen’s arrests in such situations. (The option of making citizen’s arrests came up months ago in a heated game of Imaginiff and has fascinated me ever since). I would love to slap a temporary siren atop my SUV and chase down the irresponsible driver and deliver justice.

Instead, justice works in this way: one day I failed to slow down according to the posted speed limits as I entered the great population center of China Spring, and I got slapped with a ticket. I had to make a special trip to a very depressing temporary building/court in the middle of the sticks (I missed it on my first time past it on the road because it looked like a storage building belonging to the gas station next door). There, I found out that the county does not take checks, and so I had to make a special trip to my bank in Waco to get a cashier’s check, and then deliver it back to the court trailer.

Today I spent six tedious hours at Ryan’s Steakhouse for Defensive Driving. The idea that the six hours of instruction have any redemptive effect for the traffic violaters in attendance is a joke that we all play along with. We the convicted filled in the blanks of our booklets and watched video clips, and the little old lady who runs the whole operation enthusiastically delivered the information, and we all pretended that we were not just there for the certificate of completion at the end. This filled the requisite six hours only because Glenda announced at the beginning of class that she encouraged class members to share their personal driving stories as they became relevant to the topics that we were discussing.

And then, when my penance was finally complete, I sped home. Ha!

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13 responses to “Road Hog

  1. Lydia and I attended a Defensive Driving at Ryan’s with that same little old lady. At least she is somewhat entertaining. And did you know, some insurance companies will give you a discount for having attended a defensive driving course. Ironic isn’t it? Since they are really giving you a discount for getting a ticket.

  2. Nah, you get the discount because you’re “educated”in safe driving. That’s an even bigger “HA!”

    We took DD several different times to get the insurance discount only (no tickets). According to the attendees, we were clearly weirdos. Why would someone sane actually give up a Saturday to attend DD?

  3. A-ha! Teresa’s on to something… attend the classes with a friend! (It might make it an eentsy weentsy bit more fun. Misery loves company.)

    I love on I-35 when I see cars zipping through the traffic and once we get to Alvarado, I see them pulled over on the side of the road. Sometimes justice is served.

  4. ah yes, karend, but only sometimes. i hate it when someone is being a maniac in front of you, then you get pulled over like you’re the crazy one.

  5. Where does the initial +9 come from?

  6. That means speed up 9 mph. -10 means slow down 10 mph.

  7. The initial +9 comes from being a crazy driver!! 75-80 miles an hour? Holy cow!

    I’m the old lady driver who actually goes the speed limit. 🙂

    Actually, my calculations usually start with +5, unless I’m on I-20 from FW to Arlington, because if you only go 5 miles over, you’ll get creamed.

    However, on the flip side, I’ve found that if you go the posted speed limit (60 mph), everyone will go around you, and you don’t have to freak out trying to keep up. That’s what I did when we first moved here, and I didn’t know how to navigate city traffic. I’m sure, if I had looked around, I would have seen several irate drivers as they whipped around me, but I don’t think they would have wanted me to try to keep up at that time.

    Still…80 mph?? Remind me never to get in a car with you! 🙂

    (I really am known as a “slow” (ie: law-abiding) driver, but my last ticket was for going 87 in a 65. That’s redeemed me for awhile.)

  8. 80 is the high end. I only go that fast when I am running late for work because I’ve wasted time getting pulled over.

    And, even Glenda at DD says that the safest thing to do is to drive with the flow of traffic. That is not 60!

  9. My opinion on following the speed limit is based on who’s driving. If Sheldon’s driving, he’s supposed to go the speed limit (maybe 5 miles over) and not ride someone’s bumper. On the other hand, if I’m driving, I feel in complete control of the situation and I’m allowed to go 10-15 miles over the speed limit and tail anyone I want too. I’m a little bit more cautious if it’s raining…I’m not crazy! 🙂

  10. I generally go about 5 miles over the speed limit… 65 on Hwy. 6 in the morning and 75 on I-35. I used to speed on the highway, but I usually put the cruise control on to keep my speed in check on longer trips. In Hewitt or Woodway, there is no speeding.

  11. I tend not even to look at my speedometer sometimes so I just go however fast I feel like going, but I do try not to go much over 95 or 100. Just kidding, I just wanted to say that.

  12. I cruise a lot too, usually at abou 6 over. Although I got stopped once when my cruise was set at 5 over. I only got a warning though because I had stuck a notecard with a Bible verse over where part of my speedometer was as a way to look at it often, and the cop said…”well look at that, that’s why you were going to fast. just slow it down litle lady” and moved it out of the way. 🙂

  13. Ha! The Bible verse trick, gets ’em every time!

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