traffic tuesday #11 – slow acceleration

This post is dedicated to those people who try to reduce their carbon footprint by accelerating slowly.

I have sympathy for these people because the older I get, the less of a lead foot I have.

Let me clarify: SOME sympathy.

Encounters with theses “sloths of the road” come in two categories. The first consists of people who pull out in front of you and take their time accelerating up to the speed limit and those who are slow to start after a light.

The first type of “slow accelerator” is more dangerous/annoying in my book. These are the people who pull out in front of you and have plenty of time to reach the speed limit before you come up behind them. I’m not referring to being cut off. Instead, this is when you are driving along and see someone pull out in front of you and you keep your current pace because it’s so far up the road. You think you have plenty of time, but the person moves so incredibly slow that you’re forced to hit the brakes.

For me, the second type of drivers are more tolerable than the first. Sure, it’s annoying when ten cars in the next lane pass you before you make it through the intersection, but at least you weren’t already moving along. And there’s benefit to stopping as well–it gives you the opportunity to have some measure of control over the outcome.

When I approach a red light, I typically evaluate each lane of traffic and try to determine which lane will start the fastest. There are several factors to consider including:

  • Type of car
  • Age of driver
  • Gender of driver
  • Style/dress of the driver (business suit, casual, etc.)
  • Drivers activity (using cell phone, putting on makeup, etc.)
  • Amount of bumper stickers (people with lots of bumper stickers tend to have rage issues and will probably be pretty quick off the line).

Getting a feel for how these types of drivers and conditions will respond will greatly assist in the process of picking the fast lane. Once you’ve mastered this skill, the “sloths of the road” can be identified prior to stopping at a light and avoided with proper observation and careful examination.

Author: erik

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