Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Driving is not hard, all it takes is a little common sense.

Something easy to make the roads a little safer, and irritate others a little less.

Driving is not hard. There is a few rules to follow and a few things to learn then everything will be just fine. There are a few rules that if not followed will cause problems.

The first rule every driver should learn is - Speed Kills.

Full disclosure, I have numerous speeding tickets. The issue is that speed requires faster and more appropriate reactions. Your car handles differently at 75 mph then it does at 30 mph. A sharp turn at 75 will result in total loss of control (especially in an SUV) while at 30 it is probably manageable.

But what really causes the danger in relation to speed? It's not that driving at 75 is inherently more dangerous (it might be I am not looking at research for this) it is the difference in speed that causes issues. So driving 75 may not be more dangerous, but driving 75 while everyone around you is driving 35 is definitely more dangerous; the opposite is as well (driving 35 while everyone else is driving 75). So speed kills, but it is the difference in speed that is really the issue. That brings me to my next rant - Freeway on-ramps.

Freeway on-ramps have been the bane of my existence since moving to Utah. On a regular basis I get on the freeway with someone in front of me that doesn't understand the purpose of a freeway on-ramp and thinks it is acceptable to be traveling at significantly below freeway speed. The purpose of these small stretches of road is to get your vehicle up to freeway speed, so that when merging onto the freeway you do so safely.

I don't really know if this is something that happened in Arizona and it's just that I started noticing after moving here but it drives me nuts. Here's why, as per above - a difference in speed is what causes an unsafe situation. By not getting up to freeway speed you are forcing those behind you to also not get up to freeway speed. When you then merge onto the freeway, cars coming up behind you (l traveling at freeway speed) are forced to slow down, when that happens the space I had to merge safely shrinks and suddenly becomes an unsafe amount of distance. Meaning? Your lack of proper acceleration (the difference in your speed) has created an unsafe situation for multiple drivers behind you.

Now you may be saying "well if people would just move over or slow down so I could merge I would get up to freeway speed and everything would be just fine" and if you are, please slap yourself in the face, hard - maybe even consider using some sort of wooden spoon to really get the message across (I'll leave that to your discretion). The traveling lanes of the freeway are not for accelerating they are for traveling, at freeway speed. The on ramp is for getting up to freeway speed. If you would use the road for the intended purpose everything would be fine. By not getting up to freeway speed you are creating a domino effect. It may not cause an accident every time; it does cause congestion and confusion EVERY TIME.

Notice I said 'freeway speed' not 75 mph, that is intentional. A skilled driver looks far down the road and is able to see the relative speed of traffic and adjust their acceleration accordingly. The key is that your speed match the traffic you are entering; don't expect traffic adjust to your incompetence.

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