A few days ago, driving through Charleston, the same driver passed me four times between the Washington Street offramp and Montrose. Impatient and in a hurry, weaving in and out of traffic, the driver raced ahead only to get caught behind slower moving traffic. I ended up passing the person back three times, simply staying in my lane and driving. Finally, the fourth time, the driver caught a clear lane around the McCorkle Ave. exit and took off.
I know a lot of people are afraid of math problems, flashing back to high school and trying to determine when a train leaving Pittsburgh will arrive in St. Louis traveling east on Tuesdays and Fridays between noon and 2 pm so I will make this easy on you. The speed limit through that section of town is 60 miles per hour. I was traveling 60ish, maybe a mile or two above the speed limit, but not significantly. That stretch of road is slightly less than four miles.
In those four miles, going 60 miles an hour (a mile a minute), it took us approximately four minutes to get from Washington Street to Montrose. If you could average 90 miles an hour through there, which you can’t (aside from the fact that it would be highly illegal) you would get to Montrose about a minute and a half faster. In this case, probably 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, the other driver might have arrived 15 or 20 seconds earlier.
Speeding over short trips just doesn’t make sense.
Take a longer trip down the Turnpike from Charleston to the state line. That 100 mile stretch of road is a mixture of 60 and 70 mph speed limits. If you could maintain an average of 10 miles over the speed limit (which is doubtful) you’d get to Virginia about 12 minutes faster. Of course, there are stops and slow downs for traffic and tolls, so you’ll probably only make up 10 minutes.
I learned a long time ago that pushing the speed limit and racing to get places isn’t worth the stress. And I am reminded of it every time I pass someone before making an exit from the interstate, only to have them pull up behind me at the bottom of the hill. I made a lot of progress, didn’t I?
I’m not saying I don’t get in a hurry from time to time and push it on the road, (I know there are friends of mine shaking their heads that I am even writing this.) but pushing to pass other cars and accelerating ahead and then jumping on your brakes only raises your blood pressure and your gas consumption, along with the likelihood that you’ll get a ticket, while not accomplishing much in the way of saving time.
Until someone figures out a way to beam us from place to place, or travel through time to get places earlier, we are bound by the rules of physics and logic. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, plan to arrive 15 minutes early.
Your heart will thank you..