synchronizers

I just got back last week from a 2400 mile trip to Virginia Beach. It was a lovely trip, lovely weather for the most part, and no accidents. I have spotted a bit of bad behavior among drivers that adds to the frustration of driving. This behavior is added on to another behavior that is frustrating as well.

The first behavior that irritates me is driving the freeway without cruise control. Here is how it plays out. The car’s speed is controlled by the driver’s foot. That foot is under stress as long as the cruise control is off. When the car goes uphill, the car naturally slows, unless the driver is attentive. This isn’t true for big trucks. They just don’t have the power to keep on speed. So the inattentive driver slows down going uphill, maybe below the speed limit, maybe not. People following have to be attentive to the changes in the road but also changes in the driver’s attention, speed, lane changing, etc. Some of that is of course necessary, but the speed can be removed from the equation by using cruise control. The following driver can set their own cruise control to mimic the driver in front, keep a safe distance, and one less variable in the risk assessment is taken out of consideration. Drivers who do not use cruise control increase the stress of other drivers on the road.

I understand. Really! Some cars don’t come with cruise control. But I think it should be a necessary addition to all cars, and the car itself should recommend its use. It saves gas, and reduces stress and road weariness, especially on long trips.

The subject of this post has to do with people who do not use cruise but also have a terrible habit. I call these people synchronizers. That is, when they start to pass a slower vehicle, they slow down to the other vehicle’s speed and just stay parallel to them for a while. It’s even worse when they are passing a truck or something and the truck is going variable speeds. The synchronizer, slows down and speeds up to match the truck. Even though they wished to pass the vehicle at first, and were going at a speed that would have done it quite happily, they then block those other vehicles behind them who also wished to pass. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not ready to fly off the handle in road rage, but they aggravate me. Any aggravation on the road causes stress. Some aggravation is part of the territory, like following trucks, but some, like synchronizing can be eliminated.

I’m not saying that we do not all make mistakes. We do, and sometimes more often than would promote general safety and wellbeing. We are all subject to making bad judgments for a variety of reasons. I’m not necessarily a better driver than you.

OK synchronizers, get your act together and become better highway citizens. Don’t snub your nose at me. I am not a snob. I just want you to voluntarily stop being an irritant. Oh, you didn’t know it was aggravating? Now you know. Don’t care about me? That’s OK too. Think about staying home next time. You are one of the causes of road rage, and the increase of blood pressure in the general population. Want world peace? Me too. Do your part.

This can be fixed. Give these people self-driving cars. Take the incompetent out from behind the wheel.

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