Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No, Your Cars Can Not Hold Hands.

There is always a slowbie in the HOV lane. Usually it's a Prius. Sometimes it's a truck pulling a trailer. And other times, it's a full-size, dented, red Chevy pickup with no reason for going that slow.

Slowbies are a little annoying, sometimes, but I generally don't mind them too much. After all, I've got passing power in abundance. It's simple enough to wait for enough space to open up and scoot by them.

Sometimes, though, you get a slowbie and some kind of insecure dolt that insists on driving right next to the slowbie. Today, the insecure dolt was in a compact black pickup. This dark pickup spent a good while hiding out in my blind spot as I rode to work before working up the courage to actually pass me.

I moved into the next lane to the right in order to get out from behind the slowbie, since the black pickup was now moving at a good speed.

Except then the black pickup's driver decided passing was too scary and slowed down to keep pace right next to the red truck. So the slow, red pickup sped up - presumably to get some space. I moved back into the HOV lane and accelerated a bit since the red pickup was now hauling ass, relative to the black pickup.

It was still pretty slow.

The driver of the black pickup apparently decided it shouldn't be that easy for me to scoot by and resume an appropriate cruising speed. So, he sped up and stayed right next to the red pickup again.

Annoying. These two pickups created a traffic dam, restricting the two left lanes to 55 MPH. No one in Phoenix drives at 55 MPH unless they're in a school zone. Happily for me, the middle lane was wide open, so I zipped out from behind the trucks, passed them, and zipped back over to the HOV lane.

See, this is why CB radios need to come back. If they'd had CB radios in their trucks, these two could have flirted for the whole drive without restricting traffic. They could have arranged to meet for donuts and truck-snuggling, leaving the rest of us free to flow past their budding pick-em-up romance.

Also, if we did end up caught behind them, we'd be able to politely ask them to get the hell out of the way, since some of us have jobs to get to.

These problems all come back to a lack of communication...


David said...

If you hate slow drivers in the left lane, don't move to Portland or Seattle! Seems like folks there have a real problem with running the speed limit. Either that, or they think we're in England and should drive on the left.

BTW, my brother the drivers ed instructor tells me there is a reason people who aren't paying attention pace another vehicle in the blind spot. Something about how the brain wants to follow someone else and let them do the thinking. Pretty much the same part of the brain that soldiers use when marching in formation. Zero brain power required. Those two in the pickups were probably zoned out to the radio or on a cell phone.

Dave T.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Lucky you are much to kind to the Prius driver. I prefer to refer to that car as the Toyoto Penis because the people who drive them all drive like pr**ks.

They have the right to save their world, but not the right to ride my bike or drive my truck for me.

Chris Cope said...

We used to have similar drivers in California. My friends called them drones. But they would lock into your blind spot and just stay there for miles and miles and miles.

Lucky said...

David - I noticed people drove at a leisurely pace in Oregon. I figured it was because they were blissing out and higher speeds would be dangerous.

Also, the thing about not paying attention and zero brain power is very frightening.

Arizona Harley Dude - I'm constantly amazed that someone who is ostensibly worried about saving the world can drive with complete disregard for other road users.

But then I remember they didn't actually buy those cars to save the world.

Chris - "Drones" is exactly right! I'm going to start using that term when I'm in company too polite for the word "fucktard."

irondad said...

I think it's all those retirees in Phoenix. Passing other cars or going over 45 mph makes pace makers do strange things. Like short circuit electrical charges to the brain.

People actually drive pretty fast here in Oregon. You just didn't drive in enough passing lanes to see it. Suddenly, Granny Grunt driving at 32 mph and blocking everybody turns into Robbie Gordon when they come to passing lanes.

Baron's Life said...

Ride in WA (I5) or in BC and you won't see too many slow pokes..buddy...in fact nobody knows what the speed limit means in our neck of the woods...which is both good and bad cause neither the I5 nor the 99 is an Autoban...somehow though, we tend to think it is.

Lucky said...

irondad - Yeah, what is it with passing lanes and slowpokes discovering the gas pedal? That always kills me - the person holding up ten vehicles will stomp the gas to make sure they don't get passed, then slow down again at the end of the passing lane.

Baron - The trick about the Authobahn is this: people know how to drive on it. And the downside is when there IS a wreck, the Autobahn quickly turns into einen Parkplatz.