Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Freeway Feud

On the way home from the (totally awesome) high school retreat, we in the lead car got to witness a freeway feud! I promised I would blog about it, so here it is.

We were a four-car caravan on I39. It wasn't late, but it was dark (thanks, time change). We passed a red truck as it entered the freeway...and then, about 45 minutes later, it passed us. And I don't mean that after 45 minutes he zoomed around us, I mean that he stayed in the left lane "passing" us for probably 35 of those minutes. There was a silver van behind the red truck...driven by an obviously irritated person. The van's bright headlights kept getting flashed...and so the driver of the red truck chose to block the van in. This stretch of freeway was 2 lanes in each our four-car-caravan was in the right lane, and this truck-and-flashing-light-van was in the left lane. Together. In sync. For almost 40 minutes.

When the truck finally got past me, the van took the exactly-van-width space to go around in front of me...and naturally then the truck sped up, zooming ahead until he was even with the next car up in the right lane, where he promptly slowed down to almost exactly the same speed as the right lane car. I mean, the truck must have been going about .08 mph faster than cars in the right lane, so he was *technically* passing...but not really. The van tried to go around but got stuck behind the truck again...repeat the whole sequence...and then here's where it gets interesting.

The second attempt ended with all of us trying to get around the car in the right lane, which was driving exactly the speed limit. (aside: ugh. we were only going 3-4 mph over, and still were irritated.) By now all of us in the car are on the edge of our seats, engaging in all kinds of commentary about what is going on in front of us. Then another truck we'd passed earlier came zooming up in the right lane, only to be stuck behind the speed-limit-observing driver. Soon the red truck and black truck were even with each other, and the red truck driver decided it was time to exit...and so tried to cut off the black truck. Unsuccessful...back into his left lane. Then he tried just drifting purposefully into the right lane, essentially attempting to sideswipe the black truck and force them out of the way. Also unsuccessful, though very nerve racking for those of us behind them watching this whole thing unfold! Finally the red truck slowed down precipitously and went around behind the black truck to exit, from the left lane, at the last possible exiting moment (not even really *on* the ramp, exactly).

And then the freeway was once again boring, the feud having ended. The whole time we're watching this happen, all at 65 miles an hour, and hoping that there's no accident (though one was likely more than once)! It definitely gave us a chance to talk about defensive driving, too--seeing something like that happening and then anticipating various moves, like the van cutting us off or the truck trying to exit. It was more excitement than we anticipated for the drive home, that's for sure!

And, in case you're wondering, the moral of the story is that we ALL know, even teenagers, why you drive that huge truck and why you're acting like an a** on the freeway. Your ...ahem... compensating... is obvious to all.


  1. Yep. I see a lot of "freeway compensation" when we drive near Chicago.

    Just sayin'

  2. LOL.

    Interestingly, this was in the middle of Wisconsin...