On keeping distance

Sometimes I wonder if (some) Kiwi drivers hate me. Because here's the deal:

I frequently drive on a road that hugs a hillside, and so it is a curve upon a curve upon a curve there. If there were no other traffic out there, I could probably get away with driving a little faster - I know the bends pretty much by heart by now - but... there is other traffic, and so I stick to posted "suggested speeds" instead, and a little bit of common sense, too. The fact that I know the road doesn't mean that everybody else does also. (And how many times have I come across oncoming traffic in my lane because they're attempting to overtake someone, or give space to cyclists? Hello!)

Every now and again I catch up with cars that are going slower than I am: usually campervans, trucks or maybe gray sedans with rental stickers on them. They make their way around the bends with caution and because I know that we need to cover several kilometres before there is an acceptable place where I can pass them, I just slow down to whatever they're doing, give them space and cruise along.

But almost as sure as a pavlova-pie on a Christmas morning there will be a car behind me also, and on occasions where I am not that lucky it will have a driver who is not that good at patience, or brains. They'll get behind me, sometimes only 2 car lengths apart, and keep driving like that - at, whatever, 60 km/h. Maybe 65. 70. Depends on where we are.

At 2 car lengths!

I don't know if this topic got covered in your physics classes, or driving school, but I am well aware of the fact that the greater the speed of an object, and greater its mass, the longer it will take for it to stop if need be - and, khm-khm!, 2 car lengths at 60 km/h is not even a reaction time, let alone a stopping time. I've got two children on the back seat - if something happens ahead of me making me hit the breaks, that car behind me is going to be, how do they say it here... "Up my ass?" Well, it's not even going to be that - first it is going to be in the back of my children's car seats.

Think about it for a moment.

In a situation like that, what would you do? There is no passing lane, there is hardly even a shoulder to stop on. Stopping and letting that a$$hole of a driver pass is not often an option.

Which is why I - and it may not make sense to that other driver behind me - slow down a little more.

If you're going to "sit" behind my car at 60 km/h, well, good luck with that - because I'm not having it. You can see perfectly well that I cannot go any faster - there is a car ahead of me. There is no place to pass. There is no place to pull over. You are driving so close to me that I can barely see your numberplate in my rearview mirror. If something were to happen and I were needing to hit the brakes suddenly, your car would be up the back of mine, and I've got two children sitting there. I am not okay with that, and so because of that, I slow down. You may think that I am being an a$$hole, but I am not - you are. I am not slowing down to piss you off - I am slowing down in at attempt to make it safer, for me.

That - something like that I would probably say to that other driver if we were connected via some driver-to-driver communication system, but we're not, so what usually happens is that that a$$hole of a driver behind me honks at me, then passes me when there is some even minimally acceptable space available (meaning: pray to God there isn't a concrete truck coming 'round the corner, mmkay?) and then, guess what? Then they get stuck in front of me at exactly the same speed, waiting for an opportunity to pass that slower car, too.

Most of the time we get like that to the official "passing straight" where everyone gets a chance to pass the slower driver, and so by doing that honk-speed-stuck maneuver described above the a$$hole driver doesn't gain any time - all they do is put a few lives in jeopardy, including their own, and I really can't see how I am the one to be honked at. Really.


  1. Liska7.11.14

    I have always dreamt about an app that would let me send messages to drivers using their plate number. Yes, these messages would mostly be in caps lock.

  2. LOL I noticed the change of blog title... :) I am 100% on your side with this one. It's madness to drive like that even. I was a passenger in a friend's car once, who was following another friend who happened to be on a motorcycle... he was driving about 1 car length behind the bike... it was SCARY. I was sure he was going to try pass the biker, but he didn't. He just stayed that close. I was so scared for our friend on the bike. Stupid isn't a strong enough word to descibe it.

  3. Anonymous10.11.14

    What would you do? Aeglaselt sõitmine on üks variant. Teine variant on paar korda pidurdada, siis mõnele jõuab kohale, et võiks pikivahet ka hoida.