The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 12, 2015: Driving Me Crazy – The Pacer

Well, lucky you, Dear Readers. Over the next few Saturdays, I’m going to tell you about those idiots out there who don’t know how to drive properly. Oh, the things I’ve seen. Worse still, the things I’ve heard about. Well, I’m going to tell you where some of your fellow citizens and non-citizens alike are going wrong. I’ll introduce you to the vast array of Driver Types that I’ve created over the years (well, “created” in the sense that I thought of them myself and didn’t steal them from anybody, even though someone else might have thought of them, too) including “The Gapper”, “The Pokey” and, today’s target, “The Pacer”. (By the way, how do I know it’s not one of you I’ll be writing about? Because I know that you are all smart people, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the people of whom I’ll be writing, it’s this: They’re not very bright.)

A Pacer is one of those people who likes to drive down the interstate (or other multi-lane road) at the same speed as the car next to him. If the people in the middle lane of the three-lane highway are going along at 65 MPH, The Pacer will be in the left-hand lane driving side-by-side with him at the same speed, never zooming ahead and moving in front of him, never dropping back and slipping in behind him. The Pacer is the guy who violates Wayne’s First Rule of Driving:

Wayne’s Driving Rule #1
If you want to drive at the same speed as the people in the lane next to you, then get in the lane next to you.

Is that so hard to understand? I mean, what is the point of having a multi-lane road or highway if you’re going to plant your sorry ass right next to the only other person in the lane next you, thus blocking everyone else from exercising their right to go around you and get the hell away from you? Okay, so you don’t want to get caught by the cops speeding up just to move ahead of the guy. It doesn’t mean you can’t just put on your right turn signal (I’ll be talking a lot about those folks another day), ease off of the accelerator, and slide into the lane behind the guy you’re matching pace with? It’s not rocket science! Okay, so, technically, it is rocket science, but it’s not like you have to solve for any of the variables! Not precisely, anyway. You just have to know when one is less than the other. In fact, that’s the beauty of it. You actually do calculus and rocket science in your head, but you don’t do it with numbers. And if nobody hits anybody else, then you did it right.

Just remember to do it in the right order. Signal first, then ease off the gas pedal, then slide over. Signaling first is most important, otherwise if you slow down first, the guy behind you (probably me) might end up ramming into you, or he might have to hit the brakes hard causing a chain reaction of people suddenly braking behind you. Eventually, if the line of cars behind you is long enough (and on the interstate, that could easily be a mile or two), the people near the very end of that bunch of cars begin coming to a stop because the cars in front of them are going so slowly. And that’s how you find yourself coming to a complete stop on the highway, for no obvious reason in the world. You expect to see debris or, if you’re the ghoulish type, some blood that hasn’t been hosed away yet, but there’s nothing and you wonder for the life of you why you all had to come to a complete stop. The answer is simple. It’s that dickhead Pacer at the head of the line.

Once you’ve put on the signal, then you ease off the gas pedal. For the benefit of any Pacers you may know who need to learn from this, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of following Step One with Step Two, and not skipping ahead to Step Three. I know it’s tempting in this hustle-and-bustle world to want to multi-task and combine two things in one, but this is not the time to be trying that. Remember, there’s been a car beside you this entire time, and if you attempt to complete Step Three before you have completed Step Two, you may find yourself suddenly spinning out of control. Oh, sure. It’ll be cool for the rest of us to watch as your car flips end-over-end, finally coming to rest on the median before bursting into a ball of fire, and you run from the vehicle, flames dancing from your waving arms and legs, as you dive to the ground in a possibly vain attempt to put out the fire, but how would I know because you’re finally no longer in front of me and I can get the hell away from you! Thank you for finally “moving over.”

So, having successfully completed Steps One and Two (in that order), you are now ready to move on to Step Three, the Slide Over behind The Guy Next To You. You want to be careful here. He might be a Pacer, too, and his natural instinct would be to slow down with you so that neither of you is ahead of the other. This, by the way and for the record, is why some of us would like to equip our cars with missiles. But that’s a topic for another blog. (Or maybe “Car Talk” on the radio.) If, as you are about to execute Step Three, you perceive that you are beside a Pacer, your best bet is to suddenly step on the gas and get ahead of him as quickly as possible and then slide over in front of him this time. (Remember, the original plan was to slip in behind him, but he thwarted that artful maneuver by being a dickhead. Switch to Plan B.) At this point, it’s better for all concerned (specifically me, in particular, in the car behind you), that you speed up to get into the next lane rather than slow down because if you slow down, you’re more likely to cause an actual fender-bender about a mile and a half behind you. We’ll talk about how that happens in a couple of weeks.

So if you take nothing else away from this, remember Wayne’s Driving Rule #1 up above. It could save your life some day. Well, it would if you were being a Pacer in front of me and I thought about launching one of my missiles at you. Just remember: As I said before, some of us would like to equip our cars with missiles. And given that this is the U-“S”-siest-of-A’s, THE Goddamn Right United States of America, Home of the Bestest and the Brightest and the Bravest of the Brainiacs, we’ve got just the Nerds who can make that happen. So I suggest you just put your foot down a little, speed up, put on your turn signal (the other one), slide on over to the right and get the hell out of my way. Thank you. Have a nice day, Pal.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss driving, bad drivers, drivers who are atrocious, or anything else, even non-driving related stuff because the next couple of Saturdays are going to be the same thing, you wish to discuss. Because, you know, America.

27 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 12, 2015: Driving Me Crazy – The Pacer

  1. I’m sure we’ve all been passed on the shoulder.and tailgated
    Sorry, the guy in front of me isn’t moving over and riding my bumper doesn’t improve the situation.
    I call these folks the “Twitchy”.
    They’re the kind of people that shift gears in a car with an automatic transmission.
    Another interesting phenomena.
    When it’s race week, everyone drives like they are the ghost of Dale Ernhardt reincarnated and they are qualifying for pole position.

  2. It’s going to be interesting when Wayne gets to my type of driver, the ‘Every Road is an Autobahn’ driver. I have a simple philosophy when driving cross-country: I am interested in getting from point A to point B in the least amount of time possible, while avoiding the roads with the highest probability of speed traps. For that reason, I seldom travel on interstates, preferring two lane roads with 65 mph speed limits. During the years of the national 55 mph speed limit, it made no sense to run on interstates at all. To run fast on them in those days, you had to spend more time paying attention to the CB radio than your driving. On the secondary roads, all you needed was a second generation Escort Radar Detector, and the ability to tell by the signal strength, whether you were detecting real radar or a supermarket automatic door opener.

    I encounter many similar driver ‘types’, to the ones Wayne will undoubtedly be describing in the coming Saturdays. They vex me also.

  3. Wayne, you won’t have to worry about other drivers for too long. I think in the not too distant future (one I surely will not see) that the ribbons of interstate concrete that helped transform our lives for better and/or worse will be torn up as the need to use the land for other purposes arises from the effects of climate change impacting the landscape.

    On the bright side, there will be the need for people to design and build new transport systems as well as tear down the old! Personally, I would love an electric bicycle with fold out solar panels to recharge the battery! πŸ™‚

    • I don’t like cars and/or trucks, all variations thereof; They crowd the highways, are noisy, and they smell bad. Their only virtue is that when its raining or snowing you can still go to the grocery store and not get wet or freeze, also can haul groceries home. Other than that, motorized vehicles aren’t worth much. Me, I prefer walking or bicycling — peace, quiet, no stinky fumes. Plus, going slow lets you see the flowers, critters, trees, weeds, etc. Much more interesting than pickups and cars. I would like to see a solar powered bicycle, though. That’d be cool on uphills for anybody in their seventies or beyond, πŸ™‚

      • I could use a powered bike for trips to the store. It’s downhill going and uphill coming back loaded.

        I spent too many years converting gasoline, oil and rubber into smoke, noise and fun to complain about vehicles. And I still need mine to make the trip to a job 4-5 days a week, like most of the people do.

  4. Perry stops his bid today and Walker has cancelled a big event in CA. Is the GOP establishment working at consolidating the field? They can’t get Trump to stop, obviously, they can, however, go after Jindal, Graham and a few others and put a stop to the clownshow.

    My guess is, the Washington big wigs have stepped in.

  5. Gawd, I love your driving rants, Wayne. πŸ˜€

    I’m proud to be a total lead-foot, who has never had a speeding ticket. Well, not one that stuck, anyway. πŸ˜†

    • BTW, I’m touching up my old ones and even started work on a brand new, never-before written category. That one will be fourth in the series. But I’m saving the name of it. And it won;t help you to look in The Zoo’s drafts because I’m writing it on my blog, first, and i won’t be saving it here until it’s about to publish. πŸ™‚

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