gen-x chronicles

i'm driving like one of... them


I really need to learn to slow down.

Today while out on the highway, I did a stupid thing and drove really, really fast for no good reason at all.

I grew up in the northeast. Many moons ago when I first started driving, the speed limit was 55. A few years later, the state I was living in was one of the last in the country to bump up the speed limit to 65. When it first happened, it felt wrong to travel that speed on the highway, but of course I got used to it fairly quickly. The top speed I would drive was about 72. I never dared speed up anywhere beyond that.

Okay, that's not entirely true. Back in my college days I supposedly drove over 100 once on a highway way up north once. I say supposedly because the car I was driving didn't even make 100 horsepower, so I seriously doubt the speedometer was accurate. The car was small and light with a 5-speed manual, but even so, a mid-80s commuter car with a carbureted 4-cylinder speeding at over 100? I don't think it happened even though the speedometer said I was.

Years later I moved south where the posted highway speed limit was 70. Once again, I felt comfortable driving between 70 and 75. Only on very rare occasion did I hit 80, and just once I hit 85. At that time I was driving a pickup, and it felt really squirrely at that speed, so I didn't do it again and stayed under 75 after that.

Then I move to the state I'm living in now. The drivers here are insane. Worst I've ever seen. When I first got here, I drove safely. But as time went on, I started driving more like one of the idiot locals.

And that brings me to speed I drove today.

I'm out on the highway. A tollway. One of the big ones with many lanes. I was just getting sick of the people around me and wanted to get back to the house, so I started speeding up. Faster and faster, whizzing by people left and right. There wasn't much traffic so I could totally do it.

Before I got to my exit, I glanced at the speedometer. Did it say 90? I wasn't sure.

I then got into town, parked, and checked my Garmin GPS, because it does record my max speed traveled in its trip computer.

I look at the trip computer.

Max recorded speed: 92 miles per hour.

And that's not a fluke. If the GPS says I was going that fast, I was.

I chuckled when I saw the figure and patted my car's steering wheel. But at the same time I thought oh man, that was dumb. I drive a small car, and while the way was clear, it was so stupid to travel that fast. I was driving 22 miles over the speed limit.

Not doing that again. Nope. It's bad enough I drive 80 routinely. But 90+? That's just stupid.

I have to make it a point to stop driving like one of the idiot locals and not drive more than 5mph over the limit. And I will.

In the state I live in, the cops are mainly in the town and residential areas, and especially around anywhere there's a school. Totally understandable. Yeah, I've done the idiot driving thing on the highway, but only there. Anywhere there's a school, I slow down even if it's Sunday and there's no school in session. In residential areas, same thing. There's tons of kids around there and I don't even think about speeding in those places.

On the highway however, it's basically open season. Very rarely do I see any cops patrolling the highways, especially after '20 when money got tight real quick. I think this is for the reason that local police deemed it more important to patrol business and residential areas since those places pay the bills and the highway doesn't. If an accident happens on the highway, sure, they respond quickly. But as for regular highway patrols, nope.

The end result of this is a lot of people speeding their asses off on the highway and totally getting away with it, myself included.

I'd even say I can get away with speeding more than other drivers simply because my car doesn't look fast at all. It's just a small, very plain commuter car. Totally stock.

Will I start only driving the speed limit? No, because that's also dangerous around here and other drivers get mad at you for driving too slow. The safe speed in these parts is between 5 to 10mph over the limit. I used to drive that way all the time and will go back to it.

92mph... that was so dumb.

gen-x chronicles