EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

Speeding Ticket.

Ever hop in your car to go for a drive and come across someone that pushed the wrong damn button?  Someone to make you wish a cop would just jump out of the bushes and pull them over?  I saw one on my way home from work last night: three lanes wide on the Florida Turnpike and here comes Pokey doing 50mph in the center lane…

Yup.  This one’s going to get ugly.

There’s a couple of different ways to look at this thing: on one hand he’s under the speed limit so he’s obeying the law and therefore all is well; on the other hand he’s basically blocking the center lane while the flow of traffic literally blows by him on both sides at 75mph!  Although Pokey wasn’t speeding he was easily the most dangerous person on that highway.

Let’s define Speed as a parameter – it’s simply an undefined measurement like Height or Size, it can be defined either in relative or absolute terms.  For example, many people I meet refer to me as a big guy but standing in an NFL or NBA locker room I’d surely be considered small.  It’s relative, and speed is the same way.  That which would be considered fast on the street is slow on the highway, and what’s fast on the highway could get you killed on a racetrack.  The terms fast and slow, therefore, can be defined as a combination of what is appropriate for your location and what you’ve been acclimated to.

The term “speeding”, as we’ve come to know it, refers to breaking the law by driving faster than 55mph – the maximum permitted speed as ordered by Congress back in 1974 in response to dramatic energy concerns.  Despite these energy concerns having come and gone the general public still uses this rate as the watermark for how fast they can drive safely – but one thing has nothing, and never had anything, to do with the other! 

If speed alone was a singularly dangerous element then how could Richard Petty, who made his living by driving as fast as possible at every available opportunity, how could he possibly have survived his profession and retired???  There’d be no such thing as a retired race driver because they’d all die in horrific wrecks. 

The danger comes from contrast.  The same way I’d stand out at 5’10 and 225lbs in an NBA locker room (“hey! who let the little guy in?”), a driver doing 35mph on the highway and 70mph on the street would also stand out.  If safety is really your concern then your goal as a motorist should be to fit in, not to stand out by obeying an obsolete 30-year-old rule.  Take a gentle stroll during rush hour amidst commuters running for a train and you’ll see exactly what I mean; slow and safe are not synonyms.

 -E

February 9, 2006 Posted by | Driving | 3 Comments