Thursday, September 13, 2018

Personal limits

People have little respect for speed limits, right? They will always drive faster. Five over, ten over, whatever they think they can get away with. So when the speed limit is 80 miles per hour, on a wide, smooth highway in the middle of nowhere, with very light traffic, and no cops in sight, everyone will go a hundred or more.

But they don’t. Most of them don’t even do 80. Sure, there’s the occasional dude who’ll fly by, but most drivers are cruising along five to ten miles per hour under the limit. I thought about possible reasons for this as I drove to Reno.

I think drivers reach a speed that feels comfortable, natural. Sort of a sweet spot. “Seventy-three is fine. I’m cool.” Going faster feels like pushing it for no good reason. It harshes their mellow.

However, I noticed something as I got nearer to Reno and traffic grew heavier. Instead of most people driving lower than the speed limit, the general flow increased to about five over the limit.

I don’t think it was because they’d been used to driving 75 and now the limit was 65, because the additional traffic hadn’t been out where the limit was 80.

I think it’s because people get competitive in traffic. They get this urge to pass others, to not be the slow one, to not be the loser.

I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. It’s the affect of crowds. You know the clich├ęs. A country person freaks out in the city because everyone is pushy and aggressive. The city person gets frustrated in the country because everyone and everything m-o-o-o-v-e-s… s-o-o-o… s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y.

Being out in the boonies most of the past five years, away from crowds and traffic and aggression, has been good for my mental health. I have plenty of room and an open road where I can move at my own pace.


  1. Yeah. I was never comfortable driving faster than 68 or so. I did drive faster a few times between Phoenix and Quartzsite to get parked before dark but I was not comfortable doing it. But my mother, brothers, and the Apple Store were all in Phoenix so what's a girl to do?

  2. Al, whaddya think abt forming a caravan, youself, me and maybe two others, to go down the Baja?

    You like to move frequently as do I. The biggest issue for me is noise, so I avoid campgrounds & RV Parks.

    I'm thinking of crossing sometime arnd mid-Nov...sooner if it gets cold earlier.