Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Taking Care Of Business: My Rant

811.425 Failure of slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure of a slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle if the person is driving a vehicle and the person fails to move the person’s vehicle off the main traveled portion of the highway into an area sufficient for safe turnout when:

(a) The driver of the overtaken vehicle is proceeding at a speed less than a speed established in ORS 811.105 as prima facie evidence of violation of the basic speed rule;

(b) The driver of the overtaking vehicle is proceeding at a speed in conformity with ORS 811.105;

(c) The highway is a two directional, two-lane highway; and

(d) There is no clear lane for passing available to the driver of the overtaking vehicle.

(2) This section does not apply to the driver of a vehicle in a funeral procession.

(3) The offense described in this section, failure of a slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §640; 1991 c.482 §16; 1995 c.383 §68; 2001 c.104 §307; 2003 c.819 §15]

What I am about to disclose is quite embarrassing. It's a character flaw. No doubt part genetic predispositon, part Neanderthal. But it is truly the case. So here it is, plain and simple: I detest slow drivers.

I'm a nut case in the driving world. Not only that, but I believe that slow drivers are responsible for more crashes than most speeders. Let me qualify. What I am saying is, if someone is exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph, there's a very good chance that, if detected, they will receive a citation. That's one form of speeding. Then there's the ridiculous speeding which, for some unknown reason, does not result in a crash. Those people need to be removed from the show completely. With regard to the former, I don't worry. And here's why.

You figure that, at 60 miles per hour, a car travels at 88 feet per second. That's a nice chunk of geography exchange. But it is reasonable. And in this state, we have a thing called "The Basic Speed Rule." What that boils down to is this: If I can explain to the judge that, given the conditions, my going 84 mph to overtake and pass that car in front of me was not unreasonable, I can be found not guilty. And guess what. That actually happened. Not by me, but by a smart attorney who got popped out on Highway 18, going through the Van Duzer Corridor. But this is not about speed. It is about the lack thereof. And it's about doing the right thing. It's about justice.

In this state, you will notice that there is no rule about having a minimum of three or four or five of six cars stacked up behind you. If you are driving less than the posted (or presumed) speed and you have even a single vehicle behind you, you are required by 811.425 to, as I like to put it: P.T.F.O. If you do not P.T.F.O., then you are not only in violation of the law, you are probably pissing off as many people as are occupying as many cars as are behind you. And when tempers rise, this cannot be anything but bad for driving. Sad to say, people are more likely to take chances, pass in less-than-ideal stretches of the road, and that's when "mierda pasa."

Here is why I believe that slow drivers cause more crashes than speeders:

811.425 is a B violation. The highest is A, the lowest is D. Not stopping at a stop sign or running a red light---B violation. Not wearing your seatbelt, a D violation. Not taking it upon yourself to P.T.F.O. is considered rather serious. Yet this law is rarely enforced. By the time the line of 18 cars and trucks go by, it's a bit difficult to work your way up to the front of the line in the patrol car to overtake (i.e., catch up to) the offender. In this language, the word "overtake" means that you were going the speed limit and you would be continuing on your journey except for the person who had decided that they are the only person in the world who matters. YOU don't matter. You weren't there, then you were there. But you don't matter. And that is just wrong.

Here's how I used to explain it to the slower driver after I did work my way up through the line of cars they were forcing to go 42 in a 55: "Look, here's how the law works. You have the right to drive any speed you want. But you don't have the right to make me drive any speed you want. If you don't feel comfortable driving 55, then all you have to do is pull over and let me drive the speed limit. Then you can pull back onto the travel portion of the roadway and do your 42 miles per hour for as long as you like until the next person appears in your rearview mirror. Kuh-PEESH?" Well, it didn't exactly go like that, but it was close.

When I teach the new reserves in their academy, I always point out that you can take any law in any state and trace it back to one thing: Love of others. All the laws are about love. They are not just about not hitting and not killing and not stealing. Those are easy. Those are Ten-Commandment-easy. But the Golden Rule kind of love requires more. It means waving someone through when it's safe to do so. It means being vigilant for pedestrians who are poised on the sidewalk at the crosswalk. It means stopping for the yellow light when you really can. It means putting your signal on to let someone know what your intentions are before they come to your intersection. It means pulling into the next lane to let someone onto the highway. It means pulling over so that those who caught up to you can continue at the posted speed. All you blogger peeps know what is nice. I don't have to tell you folks what nice is. Right here is where nice reigns.

But I do hate to drive. It's why I fly wherever I can. No cops. No speed limit. No slow fliers. It's also why, when in a car and when possible, I let someone else drive.

Here are a few tips to help you in a traffic stop situation. Hopefully, if you are stopped, it's not because you were holding people hostage to your slower-than-the-limit speed. Because if you are, then the next time you glance in your mirror, you may be seeing this. Next, you'll be looking at this. And if you get caught doing it again, then this. And if you lip off, then it's THIS.

Drive careful out there. And just please P.T.F.O.

14 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 2:10:00 AM PST , Anonymous quilly said...

Gawpo, winter time, heavy snow, we were traveling between Lewiston, Idaho and Joseph, Oregon. The road is (circa 1980) a twisty, winding, narrow, two-lane. The lead car was going impossibly slow. We were the 9th car behind her, and there were at least 7 people behind us.

We traveled from the top of the pass to the bottom in this snail formation. We expected someone to freak out, try to pass and take us all over the cliff. It didn't happen.

What did happen was a police cruiser. We watched it come up behind us, one car at a time. When the cruiser would get behind someone, at their first opportunity they'd pull over and let him by.

There are two restaurants at the bottom of the pass (or at least there were). When we reached that point the woman who had been driving the slow car was standing beside her vehicle in a snow bank. An officer was standing next to her. He was very clearly counting the cars as they passed. He was livid. She was crying.

We hope someone gave that officer an award for bravery and patience. Had he not been there, I am certain some of us would have gone cliff jumping.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 5:08:00 AM PST , Blogger lime said...

i love the ones who you try to pass in a passing lane because they are going slow and it wounds their ego so they speed up. drives me nuts.

i really appreciate the take on laws all going back to the golden rule. you gotta get a hold of lynn truss' book talk to the hand. you'll love it. she makes a similar case for manners. it's a quick read. i buzzed through all but the last 20 pages during my 2 1/2 hour flight home from GA.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 10:33:00 AM PST , Anonymous Cameron said...

This "rant" should bring out a lot of interesting driving stories!

For the past ten years, I've been a real stickler for driving the speed limit. This happened ever since I got a speeding ticket on my 44th birthday. BubbaCop didn't even give me a break on my special day! I decided at that moment that it wasn't worth it to speed anymore.

Here in CA, I am in the vast minority who actually drives the posted limit. I try to stay in the right-most lane as much as possible, but sometimes I do have to speed up in order to pass the rare slow driver.

My particular rant has to do with those speeders who ride my ass (when I'm doing the above), trying to convey the message that I need to drive faster. Hey, I'm doing the best I can! Wait just a goddam second while I pull over!

I would imagine that as a flier of planes, you feel very earth-bound and confined when you crawl along the highways!

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 3:55:00 PM PST , Blogger jason said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 4:10:00 PM PST , Blogger Pam Aries said...

What?????

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:48:00 PM PST , Blogger Cheesy said...

Tell you what I wil make you a deal.. I will drive to the airport... and you fly!

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 11:19:00 PM PST , Blogger Ellie said...

Gawpo!!!!!!P.T.F.O -- tut, tut. bad language.

All people need is lots of Aroha - or as the Hawaians say it Aloha.

Let them pass, if you aint in a hurry pull ova.

Ellie
PS the one thing that does get me steaming is the guy that speeds up just as it's safe for me to put my foot down. As I live in an area of twisty windy roads - I don't take chances on curves. However, these blokes just wait till the first straight or passing lane and plant their feet - till the next curve. Plainly a case of power and control

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 11:31:00 PM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

QUILLY: That's a good one. There are folks who really do not mean to inconvenience. But that golden rule begs us to mean to convene----to help out; this is about paying attention to the needs of others. Driving is a relationship with other human beings. It's not about just getting what you need without caring for the rest of the folks in the community of movers with whom we all share those black ribbons of travel. I just don't get it. How could a person not care when there is such a line behind them and they are going along at less than what those behind them have a right to? Huh? Well? I just don't get it.

LIMERS: The people you are talking about are discussed not infrequently when the topic of driving comes up. I hear my co-workers' horror stories often about what it was like driving to work. We live at the beach. Understood. It's beautiful. But there are these things called turnouts and then there are these other things called passing lanes. So why not yield? Huh? Well? I just don't get it.

CAMERON: Hello, friend! Lesson learned, I see. And yes---if the person in front of you is doing the speed limit, then that's the deal. That's all the laws of love care about and no one should feel deprived. All we are saying, is give the limit a chance. As far as the ass-riders, I do pull over and get them off mine. I don't want them to remain a factor of any kind.

JASON: I made 910 dollars by just not going to your site. Yeah. It really, really works. I suggest you try it.

PAM ARIES: Hey. It's a rant. I just had to get it out. Yeah, I know, I know....

CHEESY: Yes! It's a deal. I had to actually DRIVE to the airport today in my own car. There was one guy who wanted to break the sound barrier. I let him. Haven't heard a thing from him.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 11:35:00 PM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

ELLIE: Ha! You sneaked in just as I was responding to the others. I clicked on my world map and see that you are approaching late afternoon down there. And yes, what's up with those blokes who speed up when you have that opportunity to pass? Sorry about the language, my timid and mannerful friend, but I am a feisty one.

Aroha. I love that. Could have used that outlook when I discovered the dead battery in the airplane today. Spent most of the day trying to fix the problem, but decided to take the lifeless box home and give it some deep cycle charging. It should be good to go now.

XO,
G

 
At Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 1:24:00 AM PST , Blogger Ellie said...

10.23 here now Gawpo. Love your music. Am a grass widow this week. Lex is doing some commissions in Orewa. Means I get extra computer time. (do miss him though)

Good to see you back on-line too. Was getting worried about you

Ellie

 
At Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 12:38:00 PM PST , Blogger vicci said...

I..... F. Love the ones that because they are going TOO slow....they take notice of you...when you pass...they get upset and decide to speed up....REAL SMART !!!!!! I hate to drive anymore myself.....I wish I had tons-a money to hire a driver....
So....on to better nice things....did you have a good time down here in sunny spring-like California????? :-) XXXOOOO
Did you fly over my house??? I always wave thinking it just might be my 'bud' Gawpo...

 
At Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 8:52:00 PM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

ELLIE: Yes well, I'm afraid I can only sneak a few minutes here and there for the ole keyboard, Ells. No time to get to the bisque fire, either. Dang. Orewa. I have to look that up. I put your local time in my iPod..cheers! G

VICCANCE: Oh dear me. I am so gone. I miss you. I miss this place. Feels like I am on the front lines. I didn't go yet. I fly commercial to Sacto on the 27th and return on the 31st! They have free parking for the first 1/2 hour, you know. Mr. and Mrs. Gawpo, Sr use that nifty service whenever they pick me up and bring me back to fly out.

xoxoxoxoxoXXXXOOOOO!!!! G

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 9:13:00 PM PDT , Blogger Claire said...

Whenever I have visited my boy in McMinnville, I have noticed than in general Oregon drivers drive 5 mph Below the speed limit. Arrgghhh! I Hate driving in Oregon.

 
At Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 11:47:00 AM PDT , Blogger Gawpo said...

Oh, CLAIRE: And so do I, my friend. And so do I....

BTW, I actually had to drive to Mac a couple weeks ago to collect a prisoner. Did I tell you that? Or did I just tell you in my head and then THINK that I had already told you? Thought of you, thought of you, THOUGHT of you! xo, G

 

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