With the help of my cruise control, I drove the posted speed limit all day.
Dedicated observation, as well as careful analysis of the data, and I have come to the following hypotheses:
- I did not lose anything - fame, time, temper – by taking it easy.
- I raised my gas mileage nearly four miles a gallon (according to the 4Runner’s onboard readouts).
- Others are truly and vehemently pissed off that you are going so goddamn slow.
I get passed a lot. I get tailgated a lot.
I get flipped off a lot.
Tuesday was no different. A teenage girl in a P.O.S. Saturn nearly pulled out in front of me from a side street – then rode my ass until she turned down another side street and sped up to beat me to the access road.
Driving the limit – and observing all local traffic laws – I turned onto the access road behind a truck. And in front of the teenager at the next street.
She mouthed very bad things at me – and flipped me off, both hands.
She stayed behind me until we got to the freeway – and she cut through the onramp, cut off a semi, and got in front of me.
She took the same offramp as I did 10 miles later, and I pulled up right behind her – with me going the posted limit of 65 mph.
Telling. Very telling.
(I waved at her.)
The experiment also got me to actually look at posted speed signs. As I traveled down a minor highway, there was a “45 mph zone ahead” sign. About 100 feet later was the 45 mph speed limit. Dropping from 55 to 45 mph in 100 feet is impossible without serious braking. A mile later, the limit dropped to 40 mph, without warning, on a hill and a tight curve (I got a speeding ticket there last year – it’s a perfect place for a speed trap – doing 52 in a 40 mph zone).
Just before getting into the congestion of downtown, the limit drops to 35 mph.
And here’s where a guy in a Ford pickup had had enough. He shot past me, one-finger salute, as he sped by. I waved at him, too.
I got flipped off later in the day downtown as well (all of downtown is posted 35 mph, I’ve noticed) by another motherfucking Ford pickup driver. The dick in the trucker hat who kept getting caught at the same stoplights as I did – standing hood-to-hood in two lanes - for the next five miles.
My conclusion? Fuck it. Slow down. Take it easy.
And always give a big wave and a smile to those who are going to flip you off.