Q&A with Jimbo
||I'm in the
left lane, and this guy about 3 or 4 carlengths back is barreling down on me hard.
There's a couple of carlengths empty to the right, he could probably manage to pass me
there... but he's still charging at me! What should I do?
||Get the fuck out of the way, you moron!
No, really. You know how they say "always pass on the left, never on the
right?" That won't work if your sorry ass won't move to the right so that
faster-moving cars can pass you on the left. Duh?
already driving x mph over the limit! Why should I make it any easier for
him to drive too fast?
||In NASCAR, the first object of
the competition is to get around the track as fast as you can. The second
object is to prevent anyone else from getting around the track faster
than you are... even if they are faster. What you may or
may not be aware of is that NASCAR is also home of the catchy
phrase "rubbing is racing" - and unlike NASCAR drivers, you don't have an
integral rollcage built into a custom tube frame chassis, a Nomex (fireproof) racing suit,
and a five-point restraint harness with submarine belt - and you probably don't consider
the sheetmetal on your car "expendable and unimportant", either.
So why the fuck are you trying to drive like Mark Martin in the
lead with Jeff Gordon coming up strong on the inside? Get the hell out
of the way, dammit!
wasn't paying attention, and I didn't notice that guy barreling down on me until he was
only a length or two behind me. I think he's getting ready to pass me on the right.
What should I do?
||Hey, it happens to all of us every now and
then. If you're sure he's already begun a lane change
right, just stay where you are - swerving into the lane he's trying to pass you in is not
a good idea. If you're not sure he's already committed to
pass you on the right, then turn your right turn signal on, and look
in your rearview - if he's still coming on straight, move crisply to the
right long enough for him to get by. (If he starts to swerve to pass you on the
right anyway, turn the signal off and stay where you are.)
the speed limit, and I'm in the right hand lane. Two or three cars doing ten or
fifteen over are coming up behind me in the left hand lane, and there's a knot of three or
four cars ahead in the right lane doing two under. What should I do?
||Wait for the faster-moving traffic to
get by before you pass, dammit. It's a lot easier for you to wait for a
couple of cars going 12 to 17 mph faster than you are to pass you than it is for
them to wait for you to pass the folks in front of you at only TWO
||I'm in the
same situation, except there's a steady stream of faster-moving traffic to the left.
I really can't stand driving as slow as the people ahead of me, but I don't want to
drive as fast as the people in the left lane are, either. What do I do?
||Wait for a decent opening to get in the left
lane, then get in there and accelerate! You don't necessarily have
to go as fast as the left lane traffic, but you'd damned well better keep your foot on the
go-fast pedal until you're driving at least 5 mph faster than the folks
you're passing. As soon as you're clear of them, signal immediately
(to keep anyone behind you from getting impatient and trying to force a pass to the
right), and crisply change lanes back to the right lane.
ya, man! But I'm the guy in the left lane, and I'm barreling down on some dickhead
driving five under and pacing the traffic to his right. There's nowhere to go
around, but I see some empty space in the right lane, fifteen or twenty cars up - and
this schmuck won't get there before next Christmas! Now what?
||I'd suggest that if the guy isn't speeding up
any, you get at or just barely short of one carlength behind
him, and stay there - this is just close enough to psychologically infringe his
"personal space". Most people will briefly speed up when you do this...
which, of course, is the idea. Flash your lights very briefly twice when he's about
one carlength behind the empty space to the right - odds are good that if he's dull enough
to need to get his personal space infringed upon just to go fast enough to pass the
traffic, he's also going to need a hint before he's aware that he needs to move right to
let faster traffic go by. Don't make a huge production out
of riding his ass incredibly close, or attempting to use your
highbeam/lowbeam toggle fast enough and repeatedly enough to initiate an epileptic seizure
- that's a lose-lose situation. After all, if he's too dull to get the point
already, he's still not going to get it when you do your little
routine - and if he did get the idea already, why are you trying
to piss him off? Give him a chance to get out of the way, already!
driving close is unsafe. They taught me in Driver's Ed that I'm supposed to maintain
one carlength per 10mph of speed. How can you tell people to tailgate?
||Well, they say driving close is unsafe... and
they're right. But what they won't tell you
is that bigass knots of traffic snarled up behind some jackhole that won't get out of the
way are just as dangerous, if not worse - because when people get frustrated,
they start doing dangerous things. Keep in mind that if there's a
really big knot of fast traffic stuck behind some jerk that's barely moving faster than
the traffic in the right, and you're maintaining six or seven lengths between you and him,
they're going to start passing you on the right just because they're
frustrated. The worst mistake you could make now would be to try to
put six lengths in between you and the guy that just passed you
on the right... because now, you're going even slower than the guy causing the
original problem, and there's going to be a steady stream of people trying
to pass you on the right until you finally get the hint and close the distance enough to
keep the people behind you happy.
a steady stream of traffic to barrel around you on the right is considerably more
dangerous than closing the gap is.
However, with that said... yes, getting close enough to cramp
somebody's "personal space" and make them speed up slightly is
dangerous. So take your cruise control off, and maintain a very
sharp state of readiness and alertness until you can get around the rolling obstruction in
front of you. If you are extremely tired and can't
maintain razor-sharp alertness, then you need to move right and
let the frustrated people around you. (You might also consider getting the hell off
of the Interstate for long enough to chug down a couple cups of coffee or glasses of tea
or coke, or even taking a nap in a Waffle House parking lot. Highway hypnosis is a
Bad Thing, mmmkay?)
what do you do when you want to drive fifteen or twenty over and the asshole in front of
you won't do more than five or ten over, and there's nowhere to the right for either of
you to go? Do you flash your lights at him, or crowd him, or make little speed runs
at his bumper and then hit the brake, or what?
||How about none of the above,
you fucking asshole? Now look, if you wanna go fifteen or twenty over, I'm the last
motherfucker out there wanting to stop you - hell, I've been known to drive that fast
myself, although I try not to anymore for police-and-insurance related reasons. But
if there's nowhere to the right to go, and he is moving considerably faster than the
traffic on the right, then you're just going to have to slow the fuck down until there's
somewhere for him to go.
two-and-a-half to three carlengths behind him, and flash your headlights twice. Do
not repeat. Now he knows that you really do want to go faster, as
opposed to just closing a gap between the two of you for some retarded reason. Wait.
Hopefully, as soon as there's an opening, he'll happily
get out of your way - after all, if nothing else, you're going to make him a lovely
front-guard against the inevitable speed trap. If he doesn't
go right when there's a reasonable opportunity, then you can
begin treating him as a rolling obstruction as outlined above.
But this is America - so he's innocent until proven guilty,
not the other way around, OK?
it really irritates me that you're making all these comments about people driving the
speed limit. Why do you act like there's some kind of shame in driving the legal
||You've got the wrong idea. Every now and
then, I see somebody driving the speed limit - or five under - in the right hand lane, who
encounters somebody moving more slowly than they are - gets in the left lane, accelerates
to crisply pass the obstruction in front of them, and then immediately shifts back into
the right lane. And you know what?
Every time I see that happen, I wish I could shake that person's hand.
There's not a damned thing wrong with driving the speed
limit, if that's what speed is comfortable for you for whatever reason. I don't want
to try to tell you what speed to drive any more than I want you to tell me
what speed to drive... I just hate it when people get in the fucking way. I didn't
like it in high school hallways, I don't like it in the mall, and I don't like it on the
interstate. But hey, if you want to drive slowly and competently...
more power to you, and I sincerely wish there were more on the road like you.