Friday, August 14, 2009

That black thing under your right foot makes the car move…


While I’m used to being annoyed during my rush hour commute, I noticed a new, terrible trend taking hold while driving home from work the other night.

Now, I’m used to the typical hazards that plague the interstate around here. You’ve got people gabbing on cell phones and completely oblivious to the fact that they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s going 70 miles-per-hour in heavy traffic. You’ve got the punk kids zipping in and out of traffic who seem oblivious to their own mortality.

Closely related to the punk kids with fast cars are the motorcycle riders who also love to dart in and out of traffic. Oddly, the Harley-Davidson riders seem to be among the most level-headed bikers on the road – the reckless 20-somethings who go for those “crotch rocket” motorcycles are the ones you just know are accidents waiting to happen.

Ah, but a new kind of maniac has hit the roads. I flew by a Toyota Prius the other day that was going about 50 miles-per-hour while traffic was streaming into Saline County at around 70 MPH. The driver wasn’t old and straining to look over the steering wheel. The driver didn't appear to be in pain and heading to the hospital. No, he was just clogging up traffic and didn’t seem to mind that two lanes of cars full of angry drivers were zooming past him.

I know for a fact a Prius will hit 70 MPH as I once test drove a hybrid and noticed that it moved along pretty well. I figured the driver was just a random nut until I ran across another Prius doing the exact same thing. A bit later, I came across another one. I’ve noticed some other drivers employing the same obnoxious technique since then.

A friend of mine tells me that some of these folks are purposely driving like it’s Sunday morning because they’re trying to maximize their fuel economy. I won’t call those folks “hypermilers” as I understand the people who engage in that practice are rarely a safety hazard.

Hey, if I can drive my Toyota Matrix like a bat out of hell and average 35 MPG on a long, highway trip, then someone in a Prius ought to at least be able to at least acknowledge that there is a speed limit and try to get somewhere close to it. What kid of smug bastard would tool around at 50 MPH, get in the way of other drivers and feel perfectly justified in doing so?

The fact of the matter is I do like the Prius and hybrid technology. Higher gas mileage means that fewer dollars are going to those rascals at the oil companies and people in the Middle East who don’t like us all that much.

But come on – show some consideration and get close to the speed limit, huh? If this kind of nonsense continues, I’ve got the solution – simply designate one of those three lanes on the interstate as the “slow ass” lane and arrest any crawler that refuses to stay in it. They can drive along without annoying the rest of us and everyone will be happy, right? It would be like building a wading pool to keep the kids and the adults segregated.

That’s a hell of an idea, actually.


BK said...

I totally agree with you on the Prius. It can be pretty frustrating on the road with these people. All I wish for is for them to keep to the speed limit. They don't have to rush and become a hazard on the road. The worst are those not keeping to the speed limit and at the same time sticking to the fastest lane.

Sherry at EX Marks the Spot said...

I'm with you on this one. I've already written a post for next week about the same thing!

Harrison said...

They drive the I'm Better Than You car so that's why they drive like that. I pass with extreme prejudice and slam my brakes before taking off. Screw 'em!

The Natural State Hawg said...

BK -- Agreed, and a lot of those folks seem to stick to the center lane around here. That's the most effective way to just annoy the hell out of everyone.

Sherry -- See? That suggests we're looking at a national trend! Let's keep writing and getting that message out, huh?

Harrison -- That ought to be an ad campaign -- "Toyota Prius -- the car for the passage-aggressive."

Frankly, I figure I'm doing my "part for the environment" by driving a Toyota Matrix. I've got a bit of a commute (about 22 miles one way) and I wanted something that was stingy with gas -- averaging 35 MPG on the highway (about 31 in mixed driving) and flying around at around at about 80 MPH isn't bad.