Every motorist has concerns when driving: This road is too curvy, that bicyclist came out of nowhere, that pedestrian shouldn’t cross the street there.
Luckily, there’s a quick & easy solution to most of these concerns: Drive more slowly.
Sure, we feel pressure to get places faster, pressure from the annoying driver behind us, social pressure to go faster than the speed limit. (When’s the last time you saw anyone get a speeding ticket?)
But this one trick — driving more slowly — can solve a multitude of motorist concerns. Here are some complaints you might have said yourself as a driver, or known someone who’s said, and the quick & easy answer:
- “This is a dangerous curve — the road should be widened here.” Drive slower.
- “Why do people wear dark clothing and walk in the street at night? I can’t see them! Walkers and runners should wear reflective gear at all times.” Drive slower.
- “I didn’t see the person biking [walking, running] in broad daylight.” Drive slower.
- “People shouldn’t cross in the middle of the street.” Drive slower.
- “I’m not looking for cyclists or scooters on the sidewalk!” Drive slower.
- “That person on the bike is slowing traffic down.” Drive slower.
- “I had the right of way! That person in the crosswalk didn’t have a walk signal.” Drive slower.
- “How could I be expected to see the crosswalk after the curve? Drive slower.
- “That lady on the bike veered into my lane to avoid a pothole. How was I supposed to know?” Drive slower.
- “That kid on the bike came over the hill suddenly!” Drive slower.
- Nobody uses their turn signals [stops at stop signs, or uses their headlights at dusk, dawn or in the rain or snow]. Drive slower.
- “It’s so dangerous for that parent to cart his kids behind him on his bike on this busy street. What is he thinking?” Drive slower.
Driving more slowly enhances your life — and potentially the lives of others — in three ways:
- The slower you go, the more you notice your surroundings. You see people you might have missed; you notice people in the shadows; you see more movement.
- Your reaction time doesn’t change, but the distance your vehicle travels during that reaction time is much less when you’re driving more slowly, meaning you’re less likely to hit someone.
- People in the street have less chance of being severely hurt, or killed, when a slow-moving vehicle hits them. So even if you do hit someone, he or she is more likely to survive.
Driving slower has other benefits: It gives you the confidence that you’re protecting your family and others’ families, by being reasonable and cautious. It helps you relax, giving you time to more fully understand and predict your surroundings. And you’ll never have to worry about paying a speeding ticket again.
The next time you get in your car, truck or SUV, ask yourself how fast you’re going to drive on this trip. Don’t you want to make it relaxing, enjoyable and safe?