Monday, October 23, 2006

Free Driver's Ed, part 2

Lesson # 2: Speed Matching
Here we go again, Utahns. You can keep right on driving like that, but I'm gonna keep on complaining and attempting to educate you. Because I know that under your tough facades, at the bottom of your low-mileage hearts, you really do give a rat's ass.

Picture this. You're not on the freeway, but you want to be. You find one of those big ramps that gets you there. Great! You notice the right lane of the freeway isn't moving. Dumbasses. You zip past all those slowpokes and merge in either at the very last moment or several hundred yards past where that line painted on the road suggested. You can do this, because you are the single most important person on Earth.

But wait! The story isn't done! Turns out, those dumbasses weren't moving because several people in front of you were also the most important person on Earth. Rather than matching speed and slipping in undisruptively, they waited until the last moment or went several hundred yards past the line. The "dumbasses" who were already on the freeway had to give them room to merge, and the dumbasses behind those dumbasses, not wanting to crash, had to slow down too. Maybe they're not the dumbasses after all.

The merging technique that involves the least amount of dumbassery is, astonishingly, to match the speed of the lane you're about to merge into. If they're booking it, you should too. If they've come to a grinding halt, you should too. I know, you're super-important, you deserve to dart ahead so you can be "first", but that leads to the dark side... and to you being a dumbass. If even a small fraction of you 'Tahns would merge correctly, everybody's commute would be an awful lot smoother.

Behold, the amazing Utah formation-driving Thunderbirds! You can't help but smile as you approach these adorable blockades. The perfectly-synchronized motion soothes the soul. And it doesn't stop there -- you too can be a Thunderbird! Find your buddy in the next lane, and maybe even the lane on the other side, and lock in! If they speed up, you stay right beside 'em. If they slow down, you make damn sure to follow along. Herd behaviour is a sure path to safety, as well as a live exhibit of your vast intellect. Unison! Parity! Brotherhood! Thunderbiiirds!

Come on. Formation driving is about as cool as Utah Valley's bar-to-church ratio. If you don't want to speed up when you use the passing lane, then don't use it.

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