Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Driving "tips"

As I've mentioned before, James Lileks is one of my favorite bloggers. He also writes a daily column called The Quirk for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. I've found that since his quota was upped from a couple days a week to seven, he sometimes strains for material. But today's was a gem and a half, on the topic of driving. I just drove four and a half hours to Alleghany County, Virginia, so his observations are ringing especially true for me. I'm going to reprint it here because I want everyone to have a laugh, and if I just put a link, well, no one would click it.

Today's How-to Quirk Tip: driving home after a weekend trip. Traffic heading into the cities on Sunday now goes 85 miles per hour, with 2 inches between each car. I prefer 3 inches, for that extra buffer of safety. I don't mind going through my windshield, but it would seem rude to go through someone else's, as well. Want to join in the fun? It's simple.

Rule one: Stab the brakes every so often, just for the fun of backing up cars for 30 miles behind you. See, you brake, they brake. A guy in Monticello hits the brakes, and the North Dakota Highway Patrol answers a 42-car pile-up call three hours later.

Rule two: Pass whenever possible. The only reason the truck ahead of you is doing 84 instead of 86 can only be mulish indifference to your desire to go 87, so wheel around and pass him in the right lane. You'll soon see he's riding the bumper of a tiny car going 83. It's all the fault of some other car up ahead, who's only doing 82 while passing a car doing 81! Idiots! C'mon! We're adding 830 seconds to our cumulative travel time!

Uh-oh. The tiny car suddenly accelerates to 84, and all the cars behind you are speeding past in the left lane. You spent 15 minutes passing those cars! Wasted! Now you have to start all over again, and don't think they're not laughing: Who's 438 seconds closer to home now, pal?

Rule three: Take the side roads, and repeat the same behavior. Because speeding, tailgating and frantic passing is much more amusing on a two-laner. Passing a car while heading into oncoming traffic at 92 mph: thrill-wise, it's as close as you'll get to storming the beaches of Normandy.

Rule four: Toss the keys to your spouse. Magic words: Your turn.

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