Thursday, June 4, 2009

Road Rage

I have a dirty little secret. I like to drive fast. I am usually a good little law abiding citizen, I would never demean another person for following the letter of the law, even when I have chosen to bend a law a teensy bit. Normally, I have no problem whatsoever sharing the road with drivers who obey the speed limit.

I grew up in Toronto, the 401 ( the MacDonald - Cartier Freeway or Highway of Heroes, as it is more recently known) was where I learned my highway etiquette. Granted, it may have bred a slightly aggressive driver where speed is concerned. But the aggression was not unknown. In fact, if you were of a less aggressive nature, you knew your place on my fair city's highway. The unspoken rule (one the Ontario Provincial Police would, I'm sure, love to rid the highway of) is the actual speed limit is 15 - 20 km/h above the posted speed limit. At least. If you cannot bring yourself to follow the flow of traffic, remain in the far right lane and deal with merging traffic. Otherwise, prepare to be tail-gated, flashed at (lights, dirty minded!), or flipped the bird. If you are the reason a driver going faster than you has to brake or *gasp* cancel cruise control, prepare to be ridiculed. You most likely won't hear it, so the emotional damage is minimal, but know that it is happening. The other driver is most likely cursing the day you were granted a driver's license.

Mr. Sprite is a member of our fine country's esteemed military -no, I didn't just choke, why do you ask? A couple of years ago, the powers that be determined my husbands ability would better serve another military base and so being the patriotic family, we obeyed orders and were relocated. Since relocating, I have to travel a good portion of the 101 highway in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley in order to make it to work. I don't mind. I like to drive. I like to drive fast. Fast is not a word that often enters the common resident of the Valley's vocabulary. So much so, they have robbed Mexico of their laid back motto and more often than I care to admit, I hear the locals refer to Valley Time.

Even though I grew up in a city where anything I could ever want was literally at my front door, where I could buy diapers, roofing nails and roti all a four o'clock in the morning, it wasn't hard to get used to "Valley Time". I polished up on my organizational skills, adjusted my expectations and voila! I am no longer a child of instant gratification.

I cannot, however, handle the drivers in this portion of the province. While in Ontario the posted speed limit suggested the slowest you should drive, here, I am lucky to encounter a driver actually approaching the speed limit! It is not uncommon for an entire caravan of vehicles to be trudging along at a leisurely 90 or 95 km/hr. The speed limit is 100! To add insult to injury, the majority of the highway is a single lane in either direction. The passing sections, where the line is not solid to one or both sides of traffic, is use at your own risk. Because I know a guy, who knew a guy, who has a degree in civil engineering, I am confident when I say; this road was not designed to support a 100 km/h speed limit. 80 maybe, but not 100. Attempting to pass in the oncoming lane is a game of Russian Roulette. It's a twisty, turny, sort of hilly stretch of road and those passing sections may be sufficient if drivers were coasting along at a comfy 80. But when you are trying to pass the Pappy Parade, propelling past at 130, it is grossly insufficient.

So, I often find myself chomping at the bit. Inevitably, I am usually the 32nd car in a line of 50. I await the opportunity to pass with baited breath. I used to enjoy driving. I drove in a city that boasts two of the country's 10 most dangerous intersections and rarely felt stress as a result of driving. After moving to a more rural location, my anxiety behind the wheel was usually weather related. Here, in what is peddled as one of the most relaxing provinces in the country, I fear my daily commute. I would hardly have cause to complain if my complaint were speed limit obeying drivers. But it isn't. My complaint is people who can't seem to find the strength in their right foot to apply the pressure required to the gas pedal to go just a leeedle bit faster. It may be my sanity's undoing.


  1. I resided in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex for years and the posted speed limit of 70 mph on the big interstate highways is, as you say, the slowest at which you should be motoring. The drivers were aggressive but we all KNEW how to drive. Moving to the much smaller Tulsa area, I've found that getting anywhere without encountering drivers who think that 55 mph is "fast" is impossible, even on Interstare 40 and God forbid you ever have to travel on a two lane road. I've taken up carrying a flask full of rum on trips across town helps calm my nerves.

  2. Why is it that single lane highways auotmatically eqaul slowers drivers...and those same people will speed up the minute they come onto a double lane. Single lanes do NOT belong on a highway. Keep driving at your turtle-like pace girl!