When I was young and (more) stupid, I took drugs. At one point, I was experimenting with amphetamines and smoking pot. This had an interesting effect on me; I waffled between laid back and uptight. I drove (I admitted I was stupid) on this combination and was successful in (a) not getting in an accident and (b) not being stopped by the police. The amphetamine would get my brain to believe we were moving too slow while the pot insisted we slow down as we were going too fast. It would seem to me that anyone watching my car roll down the street would have seen it speed up, slow down, and speed up; repeat seemingly endlessly.
Some people, few of whom I would suspect being under the influence of illicit drugs, do this on the freeway. Their cars drift some 5 MPH above and below some mean that the rest of us can only guess at.
My ex's father did this one time for some 80 miles as we rode with her parents to visit her brother's family in Whittier. Press the gas pedal, back off the gas pedal... again and again... I had a feeling of getting a low speed whiplash. And it wasn't all that rhythmic at times, the intervals of speed ups were sometimes longer than the slow downs... and vice versa.
Flash forward to present day and I was exposed to it numerous times on the 620~ miles from our home to Biloxi on Thursday. These were not old cars (such as I drove back in those earlier days in my life), they were fairly new ones. Ones that probably had that wonderful device: Cruise Control. Yet, few seemed to have it turned on. Only the ones slo-o-o-o-o-owly creeping up as I rapidly approach the slow moving truck in my lane. Obviously, theirs were on and set to, oh, one mile per hour faster than I had set mine. Yet, somehow, those same people had dashed up to get into my blind spot before turning on the Cruise Control.
Here's a suggestion: when you are approaching a slower moving car, press on the gas pedal just a bit... just enough to widen the differential in speed so that you move past him... especially if you see there's a slower moving vehicle in front of him.
It's just common courtesy. Really.
I have a suggestion for the whizzes at the car makers... How about setting up a synch control for the Cruise Control? That is, as cars pass a transponder on the side of the interstate, it reads the speed of the traffic and syncs all Cruise Controls so equipped to that speed as the pass. First, it would sample the traffic to determine spacing and effective speed (the speed at which traffic flows smoothly based on traffic density). After a sufficient sampling, it would start syncing all Cruise Controls to that speed, overriding whatever the driver had previously set. It would not turn on any Cruise Control units or turn any off. That would still be up to the driver.
Or would that be too Big Brother-ish?
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago