I don’t drive very fast. I also like to have at least two car lengths between me and the car in front of me. I am, in a word, a defensive driver and apparently a doormat for all the other drivers out on the highway to wipe their feet on. I hate driving. But what I hate worse than driving is riding with someone. When I am in the passenger seat of someone’s car I feel defenseless. Sure, it’s probably a control thing, but it is just the way I am programmed.
Over Thanksgivings we drove up to my parents house, about a three-hour trip for me, a two and a half hour trip for everyone else in my family. I drive the speed limit, not five over, the speed limit. Apparently that pisses off 90% of the other drivers on the road. And when I give two car lengths to the car in front of me that appears to be an invitation for the rest of the morons driving to “feel free to squeeze your car in front me”. It’s not.
What I don’t understand is why in the hell are we in such a hurry? Given all the technology available at our fingertips, to plan routes, and gauge traffic getting somewhere on time today is easier than ever. Even without all the technical advances I still figured out how to arrive when I was suppose too, it’s called leaving on time or better still, a little early.
I lived in a house full of females. Now before you ladies jump my ass, I am not blaming “lateness” on the female gender but in my house I really didn’t have any alternatives since I was the only male. If I wanted to push-off at 8 am I told the crew at 7:45 I was driving down the driveway. That fifteen minutes was the sanity or insanity difference for me. But ultimately the real conflict with my family is that I hate being late, while the rest of my household hated being early. To this day I don’t understand that. If given the choice of being late or being early why wouldn’t you pick being early? Certainly, at least for me, it is on the right side of being on time.
Despite gains in car safety 2015 saw the largest percentage rise in motor vehicle deaths in the past 50 years. The National Safety Council reported that last year, 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million were seriously injured making 2015 the deadliest driving year since 2008. The three leading causes of traffic deaths are, drunk driving, speed and distracted driving. Guess what, all preventable.
I survived the Thanksgiving highway experience again this year. I drove the speed limit, I gave other cars plenty of room and we made it home safely and on time. I have one more holiday to deal with in 2016, Christmas. Hopefully other drivers will remember “the reason for the season” as the good Christians like to say. I am betting, they won’t. So I will leave early and give everyone plenty of space anticipating a lot of angry and impatient drivers on this “holy and joyous” holiday.
People take your time, slow down, don’t drink, put your cell phones away and quit riding on other people’s bumpers (it won’t make me drive any faster I promise). There is only one Mario Andretti and you in your Dodge Charger weaving in and out of traffic at 75 mph, ain’t him. My safety, your safety, my family’s safety isn’t worth the risk of saving five minutes or impressing your girlfriend with your horsepower and lack of driving skills.