I’ve observed changes* in my driving over the past couple of decades–maybe “few” would be more like–mostly for the better.
For one thing, I’m more conservative in my driving now than in previous decades. Part of that–a large part–is due to conscious changes to my habitual driving behaviors. For example, while I never had my first car (1953 Chevy Bel Air, 6 cylinder, 3 on the column manual transmission) above 110 mph (to my knowledge; the speedometer pegged at 110 😉 ), I did, of olden days *heh*, regularly and habitually travel at whatever speeds I thought I could handle in whatever vehicle I was driving. . . without getting caught. Yeh, I did get a speeding ticket one time, but that’s a long story.
Now, I habitually travel at posted speeds, only exceeding the speed limits for passing, or when keeping to the posted speed would seriously impede traffic, or a few times when I zone out, as it were, and do not maintain conscious control of my lead foot.
And “more conservative”? Yeh, I just noticed this morning that a turn-off on a 55 mph-posted highway that has a 25 mph posted “recommended speed” cautionary sign that I used to take at the posted 55, I now, apparently, have a “new normal” 45 mph turn-off speed. *shrugs* That one seems to have happened all on its own.
Or perhaps it was just an effect of a coffee deficiency. *shrugs* It felt “right” though.
Some old patterns remain, of course, and some older things I was taught when I first started driving are reasserting themselves, or I have decided they are worthwhile patterns to re-engage. For example, I do still have problems with some slowly-moving roadblocks. Oh, I don’t so much mind slowing down for horse-drawn carriages or farm or road maintenance equipment that are occasional “slowly-moving roadblocks,” and especially the school buses on two lane roads and highways here in America’s Third World County™, but folks who cannot even manage a double nickel on roads that were originally designed and built for faster travel, simply because “Hills! Curves! Scary!” or other mental handicaps really irk me.
And it does take some serious self-control, still, to not answer some asshat’s high beams with the same.
But overall, less agressive driving is my new norm. The old “one car length for every 10 mph when following another car” does make passing “slow-moving roadblocks” a bit more challenging when on two-lane highways, but it’s my renewed norm, and, in fact, on some roads here in America’s Third World County™ where I know I can expect some “slowly-moving roadblocks,” I tend to drive even more conservatively than my ancient “Driver’s Ed” instructions dictated.
But more gripes still abound. The aforementioned “slowly-moving roadblocks,” folks who think the ONLY setting for their headlights is high beam, wanderers (“Hey, doofus! Find your lane and stay in it! That double yellow line before that blind hill/corner is there for a reason. I don’t want to have to avoid your head-on collision with someone in oncoming traffic!” *sigh*), people performing a “GHETTO STOP” on two lane highways (in 55 or 60 mph posted speeds) having conversations between their cars blocking the highway, etc., have convinced me that Lovely Daughter’s dream of taking the cars away from 80% of the drivers on the road is a worthy dream. *heh*
Other things: I used to find cruise control to be useful. No longer, not even on Interstate highway driving. I find it a barrier between me and the road. I want to have to think about what I’m doing a bit more than just pointing the car in this direction or that.
All our current vehicles have automatic transmissions. I really miss manual transmission driving. The engagement factor, again. I may address that lack sometime in the coming year. . . or not. Something to think about.
I simply cannot understand folks who apparently drive no further ahead of themselves than their noses. IMO, folks who do not “drive” at least a quarter mile ahead of their own position (while maintaining observation to everything between their position and the distance they drive ahead) should have automatic “dope slap” mechanisms installed in their head rests. Really. Continue reading “A Musing: Driving”