Jan 3, 2008

You Already Knew This

Drudge links to a new study that proves that cell phone users tie up traffic.

Do you need a moment to let that sink in?

Me neither.

When I used to make the 35-mile commute into work, it was through a mind-numbing area of Interstate 95 known as "Death Alley". We'd happily tailgate one another at 80 mph in the left lane until some man (just wait a minute...) would pick up their cell phone. All of a sudden, traffic slows by 10 mph. Now 70 may be safer than 80, but it's the differentials that cause the problems, and nothing will cause more lane changing, cursing, and general apoplexy than some inattentive idiot in the rocket-sled lane, talking on his cell phone, left foot lazily resting on the brake pedal, (which should be a felony driving offense) wondering how in the world he got rear-ended while driving 70 mph.

Traffic seemingly gets better, however, when women pick up the phone, and the article doesn't address that. Well, I won't say it gets better, it just gets faster. Honestly, women pick up the cell phone while driving and their emotional revs go right to their feet. Look in the rear view mirror and you'll see her, talking on the phone, yelling and gesturing and apparently steering with her knees because she needs both hands to orchestrate her commute-drama as she inspects the tailpipe on your car doing 80 mph.


But talking on the phone also makes them hit the brakes more... like every three fargin' seconds. Nature's way of saying, "steer clear."

By contrast, two women talking to each other inside the car will drive slower than anybody, even your local drug dealer. Something about the personal interaction just pings all the social cylinders to the exclusion of the rest of the world's need to get to work on time.

A non-work-related person I know (heh.) is a horribly egotistical driver who has no basis for such an opinion of himself. Even his girlfriend begs me to drive if the two of us are traveling with him. One 2-hour trip with him took four, because he's addicted to the Blackberry and his personal phone, both of which are steadily clamoring to add more drama into his life. He thrives on it. However, he weaves all over the highway, slows waaayyy down, has to put on old reading glasses to see all the emails, (but can't see the road with them on, so it's a constant juggling act) or light a cigarette, and can't understand why every driver around him is flipping him off, cutting him off, or pointing a gun at him.

I find it breathtakingly fatalistic to get out on the highways lately.

Your mileage may vary.


13 comments:

Stacy said...

Just this morning I had to fend off a seemingly insane SUV driver (it's only a data point, not a condemnation, I drive a SUV, too) who was determined to make the rest of her trip in my rear cargo area. It's the sheer lack of paying attention more than anything else that drives me to install the .50 caliber on my roof. Remember me kindly.

nonny said...

Is it not illegal there to be on the phone whilst driving? Most importantly a 35 mile commute, o my god how long did that take?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, at 80 mph, it took about 35 minutes!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Welcome, Stacy. You can ride shotgun with me anytime, but I'm afraid we'd get to talking and laughing, so we'd have to pull into the old-farts lane and drive slowly and stop dead for folks wanting to merge from the on-ramps cuz we're kind to strangers, just not to strangers in the cars behind us.

Whew!

Hammer said...

and they don't use turn signals and usually swerve at the last minute to make their exit.

julie said...

Speaking of Drudge trumpeting the obvious, did you see the other story he had up today? Study: Happiness may be good for your health.
Really? Because, you know, I was thinking that I'd live healthier if I were always drowning in misery.

Sheesh.

The worst part is, somebody (most likely taxpayers) is actually paying for these studies.

Mark said...

In other news, the sun rises in the east...

nonny said...

that's not bad, 35 mins. I only had to drive 21 miles and it would take at least an hour and twenty mins, trafic is shit in Dublin, SHIT I tell you.

GUYK said...

I used to have a five mile commute from home to work..took me half an hour sometimes..lots of red lights..and seemed I always got behind some dude who wanted to use his electric razor at the light..and took off just in time to keep me stuck at the light..and if not him then the little blond in the red Escort who brushed her hair at the red light and looked up just in time to make the green and stick me with the red..again..by the way..I found out that a Dodge pickup would push an Escort through a green light...

GLASR said...

The Death Penalty.

What you want to mount is a Dillon Aero M134D Gatling Gun. Depleted uranium armor piercing rounds. MM of your choosing. ;~)

Ted said...

Seriously though, you're absolutely correct about the differential being the critical factor.

I love it when we have bad weather, because suddenly everyone is going nearly the same speed instead of ranging between 55 to 80. Huge difference.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yes, in our state it's illegal to use a phone (with your hands) and drive.

Although, I'd rather see people yakkin' on the phone instead of puttin' make up on usin' the rear view mirror.

Especially the men!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Bwahahaha!!!