Yesterday, I drove back to Maryland and had to spend a few hours in the car all by my lonesome. After driving behind two Oldsmobile-driving octogenarians intent on synchronizing their speed and location to effectively block the passage of all traffic for thirty miles, I have decided there need to be changes in the traffic laws. Implemented correctly, this will solve everything except D.C. traffic, because nothing short of the Rapture will remove enough volume from the Beltway to make a noticeable difference.
RULE 1: Set real speed limits. You know exactly what I mean. On the D.C. Beltway, the speed limit all the way around is 55 MPH. If you go 55, you are actually creating a hazard because of how fast everyone else is whipping around you. I don’t know what the rationale is for 55, but it’s so wrong that even the cops know it. If you’re going under 70, no cop on the Beltway will look twice at you unless you’re hanging a Four Loko out the window. Put the speed limit at 75 or 80, where it belongs. And then enforce what’s actually listed. If you’re worried about traffic accidents being more fatal, well, do you really think that a car vs. tree will be different at 55 miles an hour versus seventy? As a former EMT, I can pretty much promise that anything above 45 will turn your head into a Gallagher-smashed watermelon. The speed only changes how messy the cleanup is.
RULE 2: The left lane is for passing, not for being passed. I saw a YouTube video the other day where a cop drove up behind a guy going slower than the rest of traffic in the left-most lane, then turned on his lights and tailgated the guy until he was in the right lane. The cop then disengaged and sped off. I think this is brilliant. In fact, I think you should be cited for driving slowly in the left lane in inverse proportion to a speeding ticket; i.e. if you’re going 10 under the speed limit, you get charged the same as someone going 10 over. As a corollary, if you are driving at the same speed as the person on your right, maybe you should move behind them and let other drivers through you freaking idiot.
RULE 3: Anyone driving a Honda Element should be immediately arrested and charged with a public nuisance citation. This obviously needs no justification.
RULE 4: Equip responsible drivers, like me for instance, with giant message boards on the outside of cars. This would be useful for alerting a distracted driver that he should perhaps pay attention to his surroundings, namely the rapidly-approaching eighteen-wheeler in the oncoming traffic lane that he has entered. My message, controlled by a set of “quick-text” buttons where my radio presets are, since my radio is broken, would say something like this: “HEY! FUCKHEAD! STOP TEXTING, EATING A SANDWICH, AND DRIVING WITH YOUR PINKY TOE AS YOU COMB YOUR MOUSTACHE, BECAUSE YOU ARE ABOUT TO SLAM YOUR $80,000 CAR INTO AN OAK TREE. THANK YOU FOR BEING A SAFE DRIVER!”
Okay, so it’d be a scrolling video board. I’m sure there is stimulus money for this somewhere. Take it out of my previous job, because they sure don’t need it anymore.