I should have stopped, pointed, laughed

ted | driving | Thursday, August 31st, 2006

…but I kept on driving. Mostly because I could tell the Celica was unharmed, partially because I knew the hate shakes hadn’t arrived yet but they were in the mail.

Alls I’m saying is that the big portable LED sign said “IL-394 USE LEFT LANE” and since I was traveling onward to IL-394, I got in the left lane. The other signs says “WORK ZONE – 45 MPH SPEED LIMIT – $375 MINIMUM FINE”, so I had the cruise control set at 50.

Allegedly the automatic photo ticketing vans only nab you if you’re going 15+ mph over the posted limit and I know my speedometer is a bit optimistic, so 50 indicated would be more like 47 – 48 mph, far below the ticket threshold but slightly above the posted limit.

Sorry, black Celica driver, I am unwilling to move out of the left lane (where the big LED sign told me to be) or speed up. I don’t play that game anymore. I know driving fast is fun and on any normal interstate highway, I would have been in the wrong for driving in the leftmost lane and gladly would have moved out of it. But you should know that if you continue to flash your brights at me in an effort to make me speed up, I will flash my brake lights at you, which is exactly what I did.

As this black Celica jerked into the lane to my right and started to pass me, I could see the hate in the driver’s eyes and the epithets issuing from his lips – easier than lip-reading Ozzie Guillen’s invective-filled discussions with the home plate umpire. I could also tell this guy had more planned for me, so I started to slow down just as he got ahead of me.

Turns out that was a good instinct.

I think his plan was to jerk his car back in front of mine and abruptly brake, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. Instead, he lost control of his car, narrowly avoided smashing into the guard rail, slid across all three lanes sideways, did a 270 degree spin and came to a stop half in the rightmost lane, facing the oncoming traffic.

So no, I did not stop. I resumed my indicated 50 mph speed and watched in my rearview mirror as he moved his car onto the shoulder of the road, apparently unharmed and under its own power.

The rest of my trip was uneventful, even with the Illinois State Patrolman sitting under a bridge, waiting for speeders. Must be near the end of the month or something. I like not having to worry about speeding tickets or even caring if oncoming folks let me know about a speed trap ahead.

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