When I was younger, I did an experiment. I’ll admit it was dangerous, and I sure hope 14 years is past any statute of limitations…
I decided that I would figure out how much faster I would have to drive in order to get somewhere faster. So here’s what I tried (and yes, this was all in Geauga County):
1. Going 10 mph over the speed limit = zero beneficial results. I still had to stop at lights, stop signs, and deal with other traffic.
2. Going 20 mph over the speed limit = low beneficial results. I only cut 1-2 minutes off my time if I didn’t get behind someone slow I couldn’t pass. As before, I still had to stop at lights, stop signs, and deal with other traffic.
3. Going 35 mph over the speed limit = some improvement in arrival time. I cut about 10 minutes off my time. However, at speeds of 80-90 mph, it starts to get rather scary. After trying those speeds on rural roads, I got on route 90 and found that I could cut 20 minutes off regional destinations if I could average 95-100 mph.
Let me tell you, speeds over 100 mph start to get scary. Your reaction times have to be very very good. Your tires and brakes better be in good shape too, and you have to be lucky. Fortunately, I was lucky, and never got into or caused a serious accident when I was experimenting.
One night, coming home from Chardon, I went down Hale Road at 95 mph in my dad’s 1979 Suburban. At 95 mph, Hale is a VERY short road. I realized too late that the stop sign was coming up in just a few seconds, locked my brakes up, saw headlights of other cars coming up the road, and started praying I would stop in time. I laid on the horn and hoped I would stop in time…
At about 100 feet before the stop sign that dead ends onto Burton-Windsor, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it since all four wheels were locked up and I was not stopping. By the grace of God, I thought to try my only other option. I took both feet of the brake, and floored it right as my nose crossed the stop line. I turned the wheel with all my might to the right, and as my back end fishtailed out over the berm hanging over the far ditch, I somehow had enough forward momentum to stay on Burton-Windsor.
Fortunately, the cars had seen me and slowed down, giving me space in the intersection. Also, fortunately for me, it wasn’t a cop. I should have been arrested.
Having successfully survived my own stupidity, I drove very, very, very slowly up to the Legion Hall on Goodwin and parked the car. My hands were shaking, my legs were shaking. I kept looking down, shocked I hadn’t peed my pants. I will never forget how I felt that night.
That night was the end of my experimenting. I realized in the nanoseconds leading up to that stop sign, that there is never a good reason to be in a rush when driving around on our beautiful rural roads, or on any roads for that matter.
The reality is, that you have to drive EXCESSIVELY fast to actually take a few minutes off your arrival time. I’m glad I experimented, and I don’t have this false expectation that speeding will get me anywhere faster. It won’t.
This morning as I was driving to the office in the fog, I was behind someone doing 5 mph below the speed limit, and I was really thankful for them. When we have the gift of slowing down, and enjoying the world around us, we may never know who’s life was saved.
Sometimes the things that we at first recognize as inconveniences or difficulties are actually beautiful gifts that we haven’t yet accepted.
Driving is a great responsibility, and although we are all at risk to have accidents or misfortunes, we don’t have to be in a hurry. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and I hope that today and every day going forward you’ll be as thankful as I am for slow drivers.
Be safe today, and have a wonderful day my friends!