Slow Going

If speed kills, why are people always  in such a hurry to get to the hospital? It seems to be the only time they’re in a hurry.

American drivers are marinated in the doctrine that any motorized movement  – not just acceleration – that doesn’t emulate the movements of a Galapagos tortoise is necessarily dangerous. This is based on the belief that most American drivers are so inept that allowing them to drive at all is dangerous. Hence the push to get them into driverless cars.

Meanwhile, they glaciate.

The guy behind the wheel of the car ahead of you puts on his car’s turn signal. After awhile, he begins to mosey over to the right. It is more like a senile drift than a turn. You could almost read at least the preamble to the Declaration of Independence in the time it takes for the lane change to eventually be completed. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 08:25 EST - Details)

As unbelievable as it may sound to the youth – to anyone under 30 today – it was once considered good form to signal and move at the same time. To complete the lane change in moments rather than minutes.

Even the signaling was quicker.

The driver controlled how many times they flashed. Once, twice – it was enough.

Most cars built since the early 2000s have taken even that freedom of action away from the driver. They automatically signal at least three and sometimes more times whenever activated – to provide a kind of visual goad to go slow.

Meanwhile, the driver waits for a space to open sesame.

The blinking signal serving as a kind of pathetic plea rather than a statement of intent. It is common for a driver – the term is used loosely – to just sit there, signaling. Neither increasing or decreasing his speed to make use of any openings which exist.

Turning off the road is performed with similar palsy. The driver ahead engages the turn signal a quarter-mile prior to the place where he will eventually depart from the main road.  You wait – and wonder. He begins to brake . . . slowly. His speed gradually decreases – until his car is almost stationary.

Only then does he begin to actually begin to  turn off the road.

It is not uncommon for “turning” drivers to actually stop in the middle of the road before beginning the laborious process of turning the steering wheel in the desired new direction. And then – after a suitable pause – gradually ambling off in the desired new direction.

People also take forever to stop.

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