there is a rhythm to the road. a speed, density and distance that includes other drivers, the shape of the road, width and breadth of the vista and peripheral views. how much can I see?
I’m particularly aware of it on the highway, and I usually forget about it otherwise…
and it doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you’re driving.
If driving isn’t just a function of getting from point A to point B, it’s just so much more fun. especially going up the 400 on a Saturday (when you don’t have an early start)
We’re a bit haphazard here. I remember highways in France. No one sits in the passing lane. It’s for passing. But when the speed limit is 130, it had better be.
So going up the 400 on a Saturday getting perilously close to noon, there is plenty of time to reflect about driving. and here’s the thing:
It’s not about speed. It’s more about space.
simply put: I like to be around other drivers who have the same sense of space and proximity that I do.
We all have our comfort levels of distance until it feels like someone is invading our space. Of course, when we mutually consent to breach that with another person, it’s wonderful…
but not while driving.
So I like to surround myself by other drivers who don’t get too close either to me or to the car ahead of them. I try to move away from drivers who accelerate and brake practically up to the bumper of the car ahead.
It’s just not fun to follow those cars. I prefer to coast and accelerate, braking to slow down and change the kinetic energy, but the goal is to do it smoothly, and to maintain, if possible, my own distance comfort level to the car ahead.
and to minimize or avoid as much as possible complete stops. stop.
I remember being in a car once with a driver who had one foot on the gas pedal and one on the brake. at least that’s how it felt. you know, that jerky jutting feeling. I felt seasick.
Also, I don’t like to be behind things I can’t see around. I like to see at least a car or two ahead. to see what may be coming up.
At the same time, I’m aware of cars behind me, and will deliberately try to get away from the ones who consistently come too close.
Yesterday, I was followed for a long time by a driver in a jeep who had the same internal distance meter that I have. It was a pleasure. even crawling up the 400.
but for a short while I was followed by a woman wildly gesturing in a subaru getting closer to me that I like. I moved away when I could.
And here’s the thing about cruise control. Yes, it has its conveniences, and yes, I do use it. I love it –
but I do believe that unless it’s a fairly empty road, not having the connection of foot to gas to brake compromises my awareness of the inherent rhythm of the road.
rhythm of thought, motion, proximity, pen to paper. the rhythm of the road.