Road Rule #6 – Following distance is not important.

So last night – early this morning? – I went for a drive. The drive started out well, weather was alright, amazingly oncoming traffic was (mostly) turning off their high beams, and there weren’t too many people travelling in the same direction as I was. I decided to take a run out to Canmore, because I don’t trust that my normal driving road has been fully fixed from last years floods. I don’t know that, because I haven’t been out there since the floods, but I’m not willing to chance it at night when I can’t see past the end of my headlights.

Anyway, like I said, the drive started out fine. About five minutes past the Petro-Can on Highway One, I started to notice what looked like a light rain. That’s fine, I’m not opposed to driving in the rain, but when I looked at the thermometer in my car, and it read 3ÂșC, I realized that if this got any worse, this could be a rather interesting drive.

I continued on. About the time that I got to around Chiniki Lake, it was downright horrible. The rain was now definitely snow. Not blizzard-like, but enough that I no longer wanted to continue on a pleasure drive. If I had to be somewhere I would have continued, but I had no need to continue, so I didn’t. I turned around at Lac Des Arcs, and started to head for home.

Now when I turned around, there was nobody traveling West to East. Not that I could see anyway. That’s fine. I got passed once on the way back before Chiniki Lake. Again, that’s fine, if that taxi (yeah, a taxi) was comfortable driving that fast in those conditions, more power to them. Once they had passed me, it didn’t take long before I was alone again. Then about fifteen minutes West of the Petro-Can, another set of headlights came up behind me.

Keep in mind, this is only the second vehicle coming East that I’ve seen. I’m doing a constant 110 KM/H, I have my cruise control set. The speed limit on Highway One in that area is 110 KM/H. So this ass-hat comes up behind me, on a four lane road (two in each direction, follow?) and stays there. Right on my ass. When it’s wet. Brilliant.

I considered slowing down to encourage him to pass, not a brake-check mind you, just a gentle slow down to say, 90. Just as I was about to start to slow down, I see the turn signal come on. Fantastic, I don’t have to do anything. Ass-hat starts to pass, and gets right up beside me, so I flick off my high-beams in anticipation of him passing. And he gets half a car length past me, slows down a bit, then matches my speed when he’s right beside me. Slows down a bit, and he’s about 2 M behind, still in the left lane. And sits there.

Now, if this was during the day, it probably wouldn’t bother me as much. It would still annoy me, because there is no call to be driving there unless there is someone in front of you, but it wouldn’t be horrible unless you were a vehicle behind us wanting to get past. That wasn’t the case. There still wasn’t anybody in view, not that I could see anyway. And that’s what sparked this Road Rule.

When ass-hat started to pass me, I glanced over, and noticed he was driving an SUV. The headlights were about the same height as my side mirrors. So when he dropped back off my left side, guess where his headlights were pointing? Right, directly into my mirror. If the guy could have had any form of speed control, it wouldn’t have been as bad. I could just shift myself around in my seat, and his headlights would stop shining right in my eyes. But no, he would shift his position a couple seconds after I would move, and put his headlights right in my eyes again.

This continued until about 10 minutes West of Calgary, when another car was behind us. Ass-hat, being in the left lane, should have either slowed down, or sped up. Well, he did speed up, until he was directly beside me again. Then matched my speed again. At that point I was done. I pinned the gas and launched about 50 meters ahead of him. At that point he finally moved back into the right hand lane behind me, and the car behind us passed us on the left. A couple minutes later he pulled off onto a side road.

Here’s the bottom line. There is no reason on a wide open road to tailgate someone. Either pass or slow down to give some space before speeding up to maintain the distance between you. Two second rule. Additionally, there is no reason to sit beside someone on a wide open road. Again, either pass or slow down. There are signs on most four lane highways that say “Slower traffic stay right.” This means that you should not be in the left hand lane unless you are passing. Unfortunately this is not law, at least not in Alberta. It should be, but it’s not.

My friend would argue that there is no such thing as a “fast lane,” and technically he is correct. The speed limit applies to all vehicles on the road. If the sign says 110 KM/H, then by law you do 110 KM/H. However, the left lane should be reserved for passing, regardless of if that puts the person passing over the limit or not. It is not your job to regulate traffic by blocking. All your going to do with that is piss off the people behind you, and by doing so, increase the likelihood of causing an accident. Road rage is a thing folks.


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About Skullnerd

I could tell you how long I've been on the internet, but I don't remember, or care. I could tell you that I love food, but I don't. I love certain types of food, but not all food. I could tell you that I love music, but I don't. I am a fan of certain artists, and the majority of popular music just pisses me off. I could tell you that I watch a lot of TV... actually, that one is true. Just not reality TV. That shit is boring. My current hobbies are trying to create things out of leather - and screwing them up horribly - and trying to build electronics - and failing miserably. As always, I read fantasy and science fiction. A lot. Anything else you don't need to know.
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