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We don’t have to travel the highway of hell if we drive with the flow

Sep 22, 2017 • by Mike Zielinski, Host of The Mike Zielinski Show
Mike Zielinski

Allow me to take a bead on bad driving.

Drivers Ed, courtesy of yours truly.

A disclaimer is in order here: My wife hates how I drive. Says I drive too fast and, like oxygen, I’m all over the place.

Perhaps so. But I can handle the wheel like one of Joie Chitwood’s Hell Drivers. If you’re not familiar with Joie Chitwood, who performed so long ago at the Reading Fairgrounds that the local papers were forced to refer to them as Joie Chitwood’s Heck Drivers, he did not drive like the little old lady from Pasadena.

OK, do you know what’s wrong with driving today? Granted, crummy roads, urban and suburban sprawl, and more congestion than an emergency room full of pneumonia victims don’t help. But the real problem is drivers. Just look in the rearview mirror. Not at approaching traffic. At you.

Drivers make driving more treacherous and frustrating than wrestling your way through a Keats poem. Why? Because some drive too fast while others drive too slow. Both are the culprits in slowing traffic and revving up congestion.

Studies have shown this ground truth of traffic: Sometimes you have to go slower to go faster.

For every dolt slowing down traffic on a highway by doing 50 mph in the passing lane and refusing to budge short of taking a direct hit from an impatient SUV or a rocket launcher, there’s a wimp and/or nervous Nelly doing 20 mph in the right lane. Not to mention those fast and furious NASCAR wannabes who do 120 mph no matter what lane they’re in.

The result of all this? Furious weaving, the sudden squalls of brake lights, and fate waiting behind the next curve with an eel poised to pounce on your windshield.

Rolling speed harmonization holds that by encouraging speed compliance and reducing speed differential between vehicles, volume throughout can be maximized without a physical increase in roadway dimensions.

Cops must enforce that everybody drive at the same speed, whether it’s 65 or 55, like we’re all on a NASCAR pace lap.

Big speed differentials not only create chaos and congestion, they’re dangerous. Crashes are not related as much to speed as to the range in speeds from the highest to lowest. Studies show that, regardless of the average speed on the highway, the more a vehicle deviates from the average speed, the greater its chances of becoming involved in a crash.

Nobody wants to die in a horrific crash. Like I always say, a brush with a bodacious lady is always more appealing than a brush with an unthinkably agonizing death. There’s no reason we all should risk our skin on the road just because most of us drive like morons.

We’ve got to stop being dumber than fish, birds, cattle and elephants — most of whom never graduate high school. Flocks of birds and schools of fish and herds of cattle and elephants don’t travel with alarming deviations from the group’s average speed and crash into one another with ridiculous regularity.

Yep, unlike politics, we’re all in this together until autonomous self-driving cars become the norm.

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