Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Driving mantra Part 8 - Cruisin'

Too many people, especially here in America, think cruise control is the be-all and end-all of long distance driving. They'll set the cruise control at some given speed and then stay there irrespective of anything that might be going on around them. A classic example is an overtaking truck. I saw this recently and it prompted me to include it in this mini series. We were all coming up behind a slower car in the inside lane. The truck about half a mile in front of me pulled out to overtake just as we reached a slight gradient. It was a laden tanker so he started running out of steam pretty quickly but was very nearly past the slower car - probably less than 2m to go. The driver of the car just sat there though. He didn't speed up to get past and let the truck pull back in, nor did he click the cruise control down a notch to allow the truck to get in front and pull in. No - for 3 miles he sat staring at the truck's indicator. By the time the truck did pull in, there was a line of traffic about half a mile long behind us - all because captain cruise control didn't think to help the situation out. So who was at fault here? The truck driver for attempting to overtake on a gradient in the first place or the car driver for being obstinate and not allowing the truck back in? I'd go with the car driver here. The truck had completed 95% of the overtaking and the car driver simply would not take account of the changed situation. Instead he stuck to his guns and glued up the freeway for 3 miles. So if you find yourself in this situation, take notice of what's going on around you and don't zone out. Adjust your cruise control. Remember the flowing river.

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