There are at least two good reasons to not cut off or impede forward progress of other drivers. Number one: to enhance traffic flow; number two: to curb potential road rage.
Road ragers seem to have time issues — they regularly cite driver behavior such as not departing when lights turn green, failing to take “free” right turns on red, or blocking the left lane as impetus for their anger. Congestion, traffic jams and slow flow take a toll on all drivers, and getting in someone’s way can be the last straw for some.
I know of drivers who purposely block others. One woman told me that if she is going the speed limit, she feels that other drivers should be content behind her even if she blocks the left freeway lane. That’s not only illegal, but I flatly condemn such defiance. In fact, if a speeder closes in from my rear when I’m passing slower vehicles, I will speed up my pass a bit to avoid possible confrontation caused by blocking them.
And while I don’t condone flagrant speeders, I know it’s not up to me to enforce their actions. I think that allowing them plenty of “free reign” and not holding them up is the least stressful plan for me. If excess speed is their habit, officers of the law will eventually take notice.
Even when in no hurry, we all resent being “cut off” or blocked by other vehicles. Last night, an “extra safe” driver in a Jeep pulled out in front of me on a 35 mph arterial going less than 10 mph. There was some slush on the roadway, but even a reduced 25 mph speed would have been abundantly cautious. I followed him for two blocks to see if he would speed up, but finally had to make a timed pass amid oncoming traffic. His perceived safety was making it less safe for everyone else in his proximity.
Using my “can’t control the actions of others, but can control my reactions to them” mantra, I simply rode out the slowdown, and wondered what triggered such driving. As implied before, it was likely influenced by the surrounding winter landscape, but a driver who could not determine that the road was safe for any speed up to the limit that day should leave their vehicle in the garage until spring. Maybe it was a medical condition — you never know.
Sometimes, I feel that these “designated blockers” are somehow orchestrated to test my patience. Okay, I realize there is no actual conspiracy against me, but it sure seems that way at times; as if all the drivers ahead of me are blocking and all the ones behind me are speeding. Other drivers feel the same way, and many have a short fuse, so try not to be that “last straw” impediment that sets you up as a victim of someone’s rage.
The best course of action to accommodate those who seem to be in a hurry is to get out of their way. On two-lane roadways, I often pull to the shoulder to allow the most brazen speeders/tailgaters a free pass. Try it — you’ll like it! That action will not only get the perpetrator out of your rear view mirror, but you might even see one of them subsequently pulled over by police.
Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at email@example.com.