Monday, July 25, 2011

Quirky Drivers

I actually have several other descriptive words for them that I use from time to time, but for the sake of being a little nicer on here, I'll go with "quirky."

So here's my question for today: Why do people get so weird about someone passing them on the highway? And I'm not even talking about getting "cut off." That I can at least understand getting irritated about. (Not to the extent that some people do. It's annoying, sure. But not worth raising your blood pressure. But that could be a whole different conversation for another day.)

No, I'm just talking about when one car is going faster than another, and simply gets in the other lane to go around the slower car. Why on earth does that bother people so much? Do they feel threatened? Challenged in some way? Does it somehow make them feel inferior to suddenly realize that they aren't going the fastest? Seriously - I don't get it.

I live in a small-ish town 16 miles (via one of the smaller highways) from the nearest major metro sprawl. So we drive that highway quite a bit (any time we want to go into "the city" for anything.) And it turns out that this highway is a great place to see this weird, "how-dare-you-go-around-me" behavior.

It happened to me just this evening on my way home. Driving in the right lane, I came upon a car that was going slower than I was. So naturally I moved over into the left lane to pass. The minute I changed lanes, the other car sped up. (Been there? I bet you have.) I actually had to speed up quite a bit to get past him (so that I could move over and let the car behind me, who was going even faster, pass.)

As soon as I was able to get back over, the other driver slowed back down. I resumed my previous speed and went on my way, leaving him well behind (presumably doing his original speed again.) It was as if he just had to make it harder for me to pass - for some reason - and once he had done that he was satisfied enough to get back to his own driving.

A few weeks ago, on that same highway, another driver took it even further. My husband went around a car whose driver apparently did not appreciate it at all. He actually sped up, went around us, cut us off, and then break-checked us. And, because all of that apparently wasn't enough, he flipped us off while doing it. (Insert confused expression here.) I totally felt like I was missing something.

There are plenty of times in life when being competitive is a good thing. But there are also times when it just honestly doesn't matter. The key, I think, is to recognize the situation for what it is. I'm sure I've been guilty in the past of trying to be the best, or the first, or the fastest, or whatever, when there was absolutely no need for it. But I have discovered that life is a lot easier (not to mention more pleasant) when I let go of the unnecessary competition. I hope, for the sake of their own health and well-being, that some of the other people I've encountered recently can learn to do the same.


  1. I used to live in a small Southern town. And, that was the norm- it was even a game. They deliberately drove slowly just to be pains in the .... (kind of like what certain 80 members are in Congress).
    The only thing I did was to hold back an extra 100 feet, wait for a grand straight-a-way and then floored my car (yes, it went from 50 to 100 in 4.5 seconds) to leave them safely behind. :-)

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