Mad Max

Story from Wisconsin, driving toward Milwaukee, several years ago:

I’m heading north on Rt 43, a divided highway with a speed limit of 65MPH. Two lanes going my direction. Light to no traffic. I’m cruising along in the right lane going 65 (give or take). I come up behind a guy going about 45.

No problem; it’s two lanes and I can easily pass him. I swing over into the left lane and accelerate. He accelerates with me, matching my speed increase so that I’m pretty much glued to his blind spot. I’ve seen people do this before of course, but usually they accelerate no more than about five to seven MPH before you can pass. This guy? No matter how fast I went*, he matched it. He accelerated hard if he had to — whatever was needed to stop me from actually passing him.

Well, Hell. If they guy wants to drive fast, I don’t care if I’m behind him or not; but I don’t want to cruise along in his blind spot. I back off and slip back behind him. He promptly slows to 45 MPH. I pull out to pass him again. Exact same thing. He accelerates hard to prevent me from passing.

This went on for about 15 minutes. Speed up, slow down, repeat. This clearly wasn’t that unconscious acceleration that many people do when passed. This was deliberate. For whatever reason, he was NOT going to let me pass him, and would only let me up to the speed limit if I was riding his left rear fender.

I finally managed to pass him by backing way the heck off (slowing down even slower than he was going, and falling back about a quarter mile), and then speeding up so that by the time I reached him again I was going 20 MPH faster than he was. No chance for his car to accelerate hard enough for him to keep up. Got in front of him, stayed at 65MPH. Strangely, or not, he made no effort at that point to match my speed, and fell behind quite quickly as he continued along at around 20 under the speed limit.

(This post was inspired by How to get on the Highway in SE Texas, via Mostly Cajun)

*: Of course I never exceeded 65MPH in my attempts to pass. Any reports that I was pushing 90 are strictly exaggerated.

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2 Responses to “Mad Max”

  1. Dedicated_Dad Says:

    Such miscreants should be drawn and quartered.

    When I am elected Emperor, one of my first orders of business will be to restore sanity and civility to our society.

    Believe it or not, this would be rather simple to do!

    Here’s how: A Lottery.

    Not just ANY lottery, but a SECRET lottery — the most well-publicized, secret lottery in history!

    We’ll have a computer pick a certain (Secret!) number of people to be “winners” — and their prize will be one (1) “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.

    The card will enable each winner to commit one (1) crime – of his choice – for which he’ll endure NO punishment whatsoever.

    As always, there ARE conditions: Winners *MUST* maintain TOTAL secrecy about their “prize” until it is time to use it!

    NOBODY will know even how many winners there are — not to mention WHO they might be!

    Ergo, the INSTANT return of sanity and civility!

    See, the jerk you described above would be forced to stop and think! “MAYBE this guy I’m jerking around is one of those ‘lottery winners’ — and MAYBE he’s having a bad day! If I keep this up, he MIGHT just pull out a gun and shoot me in the head — or run me off the road into that bridge-abutment up there!”

    Every person will be forced to stop and think whether their every action might have the potential to cause some “winner” to burn his card!

    Even the WINNERS will have to be careful – because for all they know they might be interacting with ANOTHER secret-winner!

    Of course, the better classes of people would be more inclined to save THEIR card for something really worthwhile, while the more easily-aroused might burn theirs immediately. These facts of human nature only serve to increase the efficacy of the solution — the early-adopters would serve to publicize, and the “hoarders” would help to keep the pressure on everyone else to maintain proper decorum!

    This would solve business problems too — no more ripoff artists…

    Think for a bit — I think you’ll agree that this is the cure for MOST of what ails our (human) race and our culture!

  2. Kevin Baker Says:

    Simple! Get a 400Hp musclecar that can accelerate from 45-90 in about 2.7 seconds, and suck the doors off his car as you go around.

    Works for me!

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