Dear Mr. in the black Camry

ted | driving | Friday, August 4th, 2006

Sir –

I realize 50 mph may not be fast enough for you and there may be a million reasons why – perhaps you’re late as hell to a meeting, maybe you’ve been on a long trip and want to get home, perhaps a loved one is in the hospital – but you must realize that it was in fact a work zone with 45 mph posted speed limits and $375 minimum fines. The IDOT handed out over 1900 work zone speeding tickets in June alone. I’ve already had a roadside conversation with some bored suburban RADAR-gun jockeys this year and cannot afford another good driving award. Plus it’s a proven fact that vehicles get better fuel efficiency around 55 mph than at higher speeds – my car can get 60+ mpg at that speed in sustained non-AC use driving on summer fuel.

I know I was in the left lane. Under normal circumstances, I would have done the same thing you did. Folks need to learn that the left lane is not the fast lane – it is the passing lane. If you ain’t passing somebody, you ain’t belong in the left lane. However this was not normal circumstances – it was a work zone, reduced from 3 lanes to two lanes. The IL-394 exit was temporarily on the left, which is where I was heading and why I was in that lane – I anticipated my exit as I normally do. If everybody did that, there wouldn’t be any bottlenecks at exits. But yes, I was in the left lane. In a work zone. With cruise control set 5 over the posted speed limit. With Illinois State Troopers regularly patrolling the area. I feel completely justified in my road positioning – it was completely within my defensive driving limits given the situation.

Regardless, it was not very nice of you to get behind me and start flashing your bright lights after weaving in and out of traffic. That’s why I ignored you at first. When you continued to do so, I lightly tapped my brake pedal to let you know I saw you and was unwilling to speed up to let you by for reasons outlined above. I assume the semi truck in the right lane was equally unmoved by your lightning bug tactics. You must’ve been in a terrific hurry, because you insisted on still flashing your brights at me, while holding very close to my rear bumper. The thought briefly flashed through my mind that I should move over to let you pass since you were obviously in some manner of emergency, yet your emergency flashers (called four-way blinkers in some locales) were not lit, so I banished this from my mind. That’s about the point where I stomped on the brake pedal because I was thoroughly sick of your douchebaggery.

I can only imagine the invective what spewed forth from your lips at that point as you came quite close to my car and we both know that there is no disputing that you would definitely be to blame for such an accident. For all I know you may have been marveling at the incredible braking power engineered into my car. Now having slowed down quite a bit, you were able to swing over into the right hand lane, pass me on the right, jerk back into the left lane and try the same tactic on me. Hah hah, jackass, I know how to leave a sufficient space cushion between me and a vehicle in front of me. You may have also noticed I had my sunroof open that morning as it was glorious out, and at first I gave you a hearty middle finger. As soon as you started to pass me and get in front of me, it changed to a hearty wave to match my smile.

I can only assume that in your hurried morning, you spilled your mocha half caf double shot skim soy iced venti wheatgrass infused beverage causing you great embarrassment all day, or a blood vessel in your temple burst or you lost control of your car and plowed into a school bus. If you lived through this morning, you really need to slow the fuck down. Be glad I didn’t toss my four D-cell Maglite out the sunroof. Had it hit your car it would have done a great deal of damage.

I’ve calmed down dramatically in the way I drive and it’s a much much more relaxed time on the road for me, not to mention saving wear and tear on my car, better fuel economy and makes the road a far nicer place to be. I really hope you come to the same conclusion some day, you fucking douchebag. Otherwise, I hope your kids enjoy the fatal heart attack you have at age 38.

– ted

PS – next time I’m tossing out the Maglite. You’ve been warned.

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