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Driving Habits – His vs. Mine

November 18, 2009

Driving Habits

Even though we drive in different ways, we both try to avoid the road hazards - like cows on the road.

My husband and I have two different philosophies for getting from point a to point b.  He applies the accelerator more liberally than I do.  He weaves through lanes in traffic, trying to get ahead.  He is more aggressive.

I have learned from years of following him that his approach to driving does not always get him there faster.  On a recent trip from our home to our daughter’s college 158 miles away.  We drove in two vehicles because we were leaving one on campus for her use.

The route started with 20 miles of country roads, with very few passing areas. He drove with enthusiasm for the first several miles. I know the route and used a little less enthusiasm, knowing we would probably get there at the same time.  A couple of miles up the road he ‘got stuck’ behind someone driving nearer the speed limit.  Wouldn’t you know, I caught up to him rather quickly.  After he passed in one of the few passing zones, he was again ‘stuck behind’ another car.

Once we hit the highway, he hit the accelerator.  I kept an eye on him in the distance and sort of snickered as he was held up by traffic, allowing me to catch up to him.  He never got so far ahead that I lost sight of him.  In fact by driving closer to my normal habits I had the chance to pass him – but I was kind and let him out in front of me so we could continue to play cat and mouse.

We usually stay together on the highways, with him driving a bit more ‘sanely’.  On that morning he realized I wanted to be on the road long before he was ready, and tried to ‘make up for it’.  In the long run we only gained about two minutes over the course of the first 140 miles.  The last 18 miles don’t count in the time because it was football game day at Penn State and the related traffic was stop and go getting closer to campus.

This experience was in keeping with my own general observations about highway driving.  I regularly drive a 90 mile trek between Northern Maryland and NorthernVirginia, most of which is highway driving.  I get a slight joy by watching people trying to get ahead of traffic by weaving and bobbing between lanes to pass others. Quite often they don’t seem to be looking well in advance to see where the problem spots will be and where they will be hung up by slower traffic.

I make a habit of choosing a lane and trying to stay within it, only passing on occasion. Quite often I will be passed and pass the same car on a number of occasions, I know that I am using cruise control so I am driving a consistent speed.  Through using the speed adjustment on the cruise control I can adjust slightly when needed to better match the flow of traffic.  When I drive a long distance I look for another car that may be with me for the long run and use that car to gauge my progress on the road.  If we seem to be doing about the same speed for a couple of miles I will watch their progress as they weave and bob through the travel lanes.  More often than not we get to the same point about the same time.

The only time excess speed seems to work for anyone is when the roads are wide open, with little traffic.  Then you have to allow for the time it would take to speak to a police officer, on his invitation to join him on the shoulder.  If you could only hear the comments of the people you passed as they pass you on the shoulder.

My husband and I get to the same place, usually at the same time, even though we drive differently.  He quite often gets held back by slower traffic, which allows me to catch up to him.  I am not comfortable bobbing and weaving through packed travel lanes.  Even in heavy traffic it seems that when I stay in a chosen lane I get there within a moment of his time.

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