Since I took my current job I’ve been commuting by car. It’s been very, very long since I’ve had to do this – but I’m pretty much okay with it. I’ve been enjoying the time to catch up on podcasts and listen to music streamed via the WWW. I’ve also been using the excellent Fuelly (related Ping) to track my MPG.
About a week ago I began an experiment. What would happen if, on my commute on the Eisenhower to work, I drove 55? I wanted to share my observations and results with you.
I ordinarily was driving 65-75 on my way to work whenever traffic permitted. Now I was that slow poke in the right lane, just going slowly.
First, what I’ve noticed about other drivers.
- People on the Ike do not do 55. Pretty obvious, but it was very rare for me to be amongst other people doing the same speed. My guess on the average speed of traffic is easily 70-80, with some people – again a guess – doing 85-90 when they can.
- No one cares about passing on the right. As I bemoaned, people will pass whenever and wherever they can – sometimes without signals. I once watched a Mercedes SUV pass me – and other people – illegally on the right shoulder, doing 70 easily, and then cut across three lanes of traffic.
- Truck drivers speed and this scares me a lot. One day I had a truck barreling down on me. He was speeding a lot in the right lane – I’d guess 75 or so – and did the whole flashing lights and stuff on me. He got damned close. I had to speed up a little (60) just to avoid an accident. He soon cut quick and passed me on the left (as he should have done.)
Now, what I noticed about myself.
- I’m calmer during the commute. Instead of seeing the whole thing as a race to get to work, I now see it as a leisurely drive. There’s something oddly blissful about just being in the right lane and taking one’s time. Who knew?
- My gas mileage is awesome. Look. I mean… damn.
A big takeaway for me in this whole thing is that cops could make a ton of money – a ton! – by going after aggressive drivers. I’m at a place of peace when it comes to speeding, but the general driving like a jerk face stuff isn’t great.
So, will I continue doing this? Probably. The benefits are really, really good. 55 isn’t all that bad.