Something oddly beautiful happened this morning.
Northbound I-75 isn’t unlike the final lap of the world’s most important auto race with the winner taking home millions on a check with a 10-foot trophy. Buzzing around cars, squeezing into gaps that don’t exist, there are times you become a lookout waiting for an invasion and your choice saves the lives of thousands.
I totally made into work 1.2 second earlier than usual. No one will miss that family of seven in the 10-car pileup behind me.
It’s not just about seeing the car in front of you, keeping an ideal distance. It’s similarly critical to pay attention to the cars in the adjacent lanes, projecting the likelihood that they’ll swerve. Are they trapped behind a truck and if so, does automobile’s body language suggest that they’ll cut their steering wheel to the left as if you’re 600 feet at a distance?
You have to pay attention to the cars behind you; if they’re riding you, do you temper emotions by peddling your brake, or capitulate their demand to run through the cars in front of you? Is there a car going through traffic behind you and what’s the likelihood he’ll cut you off from the middle lane just to cut you off and shave 1.2 seconds on his travel time?
This is life driving on I-75, which more often than not exists on any highway in most states.
Today was much of the same, but finalized with a hearty laugh, mead and wenches (except the last two).
Approaching state route 123 during my wondrous crusade into work Thursday morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I was breaching the 75 mile/hour barrier in a 55 MPH construction zone. There’s a fourth lane that’s currently closed, which when opened, will become the new passing/fast lane. In the meantime, it’s an ideal spot for police because there’s no consistency, no zone to suspect possible traps; they’re like predators in the Serengeti and you can’t adjust accordingly because they’re too inconsistent.
The best you can do is pay attention to the cars hundreds of feet in front, recognizing irrational, unexplainable and suspicious brake light behavior. Rather taking the risk, caution alarms in you head and your first instinct is to fall in behind the middle lane and integrate within their pace. Be a chameleon. But don’t cut off the entire county you’re driving through.
Roughly a mile before reaching State Route 123, a silver SUV was trapped behind a rather large — and infuriating dump truck due to his underwhelming pace in the middle lane. No cars before or after me in the fast lane. Yet the silver SUV approached it as if he was defusing a bomb and to accomplish this, he had to cut his steering wheel to the left, nearly wiping me out. Does he wait for the endless pavement available to him behind me, or ease into the fast lane with hundreds of available road in front of me? No. This is rush hour.
Betraying every instinct in my body to spin this fool out, dumping him into the concrete medium that divides north and south bound 75, I eased off the bumper and resumed my drive, eventually pulling into the middle lane once the dump truck reflected in my rear-view mirror.
Not one mile later irrational cherries glowed from the back of people’s cars (remember irrational, unexplained behavior?). Further backing down my speed below 60 MPH — still within the 55-zone — driving over the peak of a small climb, was an Ohio State Trooper pulling out of his spot just as a I passed him. Oh, great. I thought. He got me. Instead the trooper floored it, like a drag race while turning on his lights.
Quickly passing me while glued in the fast lane, the Trooper eventually dove into traffic much like the spoiled luxury cars who have no patience for you.
…and pulling out of the middle lane, with a brief stop in the slow lane, was the silver SUV that cut me off minutes ago. A pump fist, evil laugh (though I didn’t do anything) brought a sense of balance. For the first time in my life, someone cut me off and within minutes they were sitting on the side of the road with law enforcement in tow.