I am a HUGE fan of the comedic article site Cracked.com. So much that I wish all of my witty writing talent could go to that site and get paid for it. An ideal job, I think so. Sadly, they don’t work as a normal company hiring people based on needs. You sign up for a forum and hope they ask you to write. So this is an article I wrote for Cracked that I wish they would publish on their site. 🙂
What is the deal with people who switch lanes all the time? Is it a competition to pass cars if it isn’t an old grandma or oversized vehicle driving under the speed limit?
I was driving in my car today going the allowed 5 miles above the speed limit when a large pick-up truck zoomed past me. He crossed over 30 seconds later only to be 10 feet in front of me. We ended up stuck at the same light with me only seconds behind his car. So, what was the point of passing me if we got to a stopping point at the same time?
I am convinced that changing lines is an unconscious psychological compulsion for a driver on the road (mostly the highway) to change lanes and pass any person they can to be first. It’s not about going to speed limit or going a little faster. It’s about being ahead of everyone else. I became angry at the driver in the truck. How dare he deem my driving speed unworthy to follow behind? I’m obeying the laws of the road and he should respect that. Where did this person have to be at 8 am that they could not wait a few seconds to follow a car to the same destination? Answer…the supermarket. Going the supermarket is not a logical reason for the driver to gain a few seconds/feet ahead.
What was there an emergency and they needed extra Ho-Ho’s at work?
See? There is no real reason someone should pass on a road with a total of 3 cars going the speed limit.
On the other hand, I completely understand where this need to be ahead comes from. As you’re driving along the highway you come up to a relatively slow driver. The driver is going to speed limit, but they are just too close for you to continue going the speed limit or above. You easily merge into the left lane and accelerate to pass them. Good. Now how does it feel? Do you feel like you have accomplished something by getting ahead of this random driver? Of course you do because humans are instinctually competitive and unconsciously need to prove themselves more competent than the person next to us.
This need to be better than the guy next to you goes all the way back to neanderthals. The urge to bring in a bigger kill than the guy in the next cave to impress a potential mate is ingrained in us from the beginning of our kind. But how did we manage to evolve into conscious, logical beings and not get rid of this primal rage to be better than one another? The answer is that we’re all just savage animals that need to get in line ahead of the next ape.
So, next time you’re in your car passing someone going the same speed as you are, take a second to think. Is a real reason to pass them or are you just soothing the raging beast within?