Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On The Mark -- Dwindling Middle Class

The middle class is dwindling in more places than our society. It’s also dwindling on our freeways here in Southern California. It most be due to the gas prices. Until recently, when traffic is flowing (which is infrequent here) there are usually cars that go in the 80 MPH range, while other cars drive in the 70-75 MPH category. A few stragglers follow the 65 MPH speed limit. This mixture usually made for a good flow and known expectations.

Now, however, what we see are drivers that continue in the 80 MPH range, but the 70-75 MPH drivers have disappeared into the 65 MPH speed limit followers. The combination of fast drivers with the rule-abiders makes for a very dangerous roadway. It’s like playing bumper cars in fast-forward. Plus, now when a car zooms past at 80 MPH it seems like 100 MPH.

I’ve typically been in the 80 MPH range. But I’m not crazy. I don’t cut cars off, nor do I switch lanes a lot, or ride someone’s bumper. Until now I’ve just gone with the flow. I think I’ve only had one semi-road rage reaction in the last 15 years. I just don’t have any patience for 65 MPH. But lately when I drive I find myself constantly coming up on cars in the fast lane, having to change lanes, but finding it more difficult because the flow has changed, etc. All of a sudden I’ve become a reckless driver (and I’m sure some will argue that I’m already in that category if I’m going 80 MPH).

At the same time, I still see most cars racing through neighborhoods, gunning from stop signs and lights, and exceeding speed limits on city streets by 15-20 MPH. (Contrary to my highway driving, I follow most city and residential speed limits very closely.) So these people probably aren’t finding much difference in their miles-per-gallon comparisons, especially the truck owners who especially like to gun from stop lights.

Please bring back the middle class drivers so we can have balance again.


The Misanthrope said...

They are speeding to avoid the recent rash of freeway shootings in LA. Those doing 65 mph are simply sitting ducks.

Jack Steiner said...

That is why I need a big Hummer or a Bradley and someone to really ride shotgun.

The 405 would be much more fun if you could shoot the idiots who have made it a nightmare to head into the city from the Valley.

For that matter the Getty Center screwed up Sepulveda. There is no good way anymore. I need a helicopter.