Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

June 14, 2004

Civil Disobedience At 70 mph

Passed a state trooper on Interstate 40 yesterday on the way to pick up Ngnat from her grandparents. He was going about 70. I was going...71, or something close to that. Faster than he was anyway. The speed limit was 65. We, and every car and truck around us, had been sitting behind the trooper for what seemed like forever before I finally decided "the hell with it" and passed him, ever so slowly. He wants to give me a ticket for going 6 miles over the speed limit, let him. It took quite a while.

He didn't pull me.

I'd of had some words for him if he had. Not angry or spittle-inflected, but words nonetheless. His very presence on the road was endangering lives.

Why? Because practically no one has the balls to pass a cop--especially not a cop who is already driving faster than the speed limit. Normally, I don't either. The problem is that means that every trooper on the highways ends up with an ever-growing slug of traffic behind them.

A 70 mph traffic jam is bad enough, but what’s worse is that the vast majority of the drivers in it have no idea traffic is so crappy, they not being able to see the black and gray Crown Victoria at the head of the parade. All they want is to be out of it, so they begin switch lanes back and forth in an attempt to escape.

The weaving back and forth of the more impatient is in vain, as it pretty much ceases the moment the driver realizes there's a cop up there, but within the slug as a whole there are always drivers trying to work their way up. The longer the slug, the more of them there are, and the more bunched up the cars are, so lane-changing gets progressively more dangerous the longer the trooper is on the highway.

Eventually the reason for the traffic slug’s existence takes an exit, and the slug works itself out as cars return to a more natural, albeit illegal, speed. Until then, it's as much as one's life is worth just to drive in, much less maneuver through it.

We were lucky in that we hit the slug early on. I spent a half-hour or so a car length or two either directly behind or as wingman to the trooper, watching a endless succession of cars pass me on the right and left, only to see their brake light flash as they discovered the pork in the road.

30 minutes is a hell of a long time to be stuck behind a cop, though, especially once the slug started to get really bunched up.

So, partially in the interest of science, but mostly in order to rid myself of the stress of driving with cars less than a length away from the minivan in every direction except forwards, we passed the trooper. I felt like a wildebeest sauntering past a lion just for the hell of it. I could feel the eyes of the great herd behind upon us. None of them were making a move until my fate was decided one way or another.

He was talking on a cell phone. Took no notice of the minivan at all, and we moved on down the highway. Once we were a mile or so past I looked in the rearview and saw others beginning to break away.

Next time I'm doing it sooner.

Posted by Bigwig at June 14, 2004 02:34 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

He stayed on the interstate for 30 minutes?? In the same direction? At 70 mph?? Good God.

Most SHP districts are contiguous with counties, and it's rare for troopers to cross district lines except in an emergency or commuting home. I'm trying to think of where on I-40 the behavior you describe would constitute routine patrol, and I'm coming up empty.

Posted by: Lex at June 14, 2004 03:30 PM

We were with him from one side of Burlington to the new 40/85 split, where he took 40 and we took 85, about 3 minutes after we passed him.

It's possible he was on the way home.

Posted by: Bigwig at June 14, 2004 04:15 PM

Also possible that Alamance/Orange constitute a single Patrol district. It's been so long since I covered cops regularly, I can't remember.

Posted by: Lex at June 14, 2004 04:32 PM

Back in Britain, I was always told (and experience bore it out) that assuming you weren't being just plain stupid with regards to the speed limit, the best thing you could do on the motorway was pass a police car slowly... shows you have nothing to hide.

In fact, I passed a trooper on a motorcylce this morning also - he was doing about 65 in a 60 (beltline in Raleigh) and I passed him at about 70... he never even batted an eyelid. Of course, I didn't realise he was a trooper until I was next to him, and to slam on the brakes right then and there would have been an attention getter; but I think on the whole that the Highway Patrol are perfectly reasonable about things. AS long as you're not acting like an idiot and going about 30 moh over, they'll usually cut you some slack.

Posted by: oxyscot at June 14, 2004 11:15 PM

I was always under the impression that unless their lights are flashing, cops aren't allowed to go over the speed limit.

However, I will take issue with the idea that he was endangering lives. The people speeding were endangering lives by their decision to violate the law. If people can't obey the rules, maybe they shouldn't be driving.

Posted by: HokiePundit at June 15, 2004 12:50 AM

HokiePundit - Sorry but you're wrong here. Speed limits are arbitrary and generally do not help to protect lives. Each roadway section has a natural comfortable speed and this varies based on many factors - not least of which are the driver and the car. This is the speed that a driver will tend to find and maintain on his own, independent of posted limits.

If the natural speed of a road is 80 mph then there truly is no safety benefit of arbitrarily reducing this to 65. As BigWig explained in his post there can be added danger in enforcing an unnatural speed. Good driving habits like proper following distance, notification of lane change, observation of nearby vehicles, etc. will fall away as irritation at the dichotomy between apparent speed and desired speed grows.

In a perfect world an experienced driver would simply drive at the speed they are comfortable with. Roadsigns would warn of upcoming hazards and an attentive driver would adjust speed based on this information. We're not in a perfect world though and unfourtunately we do need artificial and arbitrary speed limits. We just don't have to enforce them to the point of making things less safe.

Posted by: Jim at June 15, 2004 07:17 AM

In the UK cops are instructed NOT to drive at or near the speed limit for exactly this reason. Either 20 miles below it, os as fast as needs be if chasing someone, but not on the limit for the very bunching reasons you describe.

Posted by: Tim Worstall at June 15, 2004 10:17 AM

Jim,

But that's the thing: we're forced into either breaking the law or being unsafe, just so podunk towns with budget needs can soak out-of-towners. That's a pretty two-faced thing to do. Either make it 80mph and enforce that to the letter, or put "suggested speed." It's like with restaurant silverware: just because they factor in the expected cost of some punks stealing forks doesn't mean that you have the right to take your silverware with you.

Posted by: HokiePundit at June 15, 2004 06:31 PM

The cell phone at 70MPH was bad form in my opinion. But I've seen worse.

And the cop who gets stuck behind traffic that slows down and traps him behind the motorists who refuse to speed up and ease congestion is...ironic.

Posted by: Deb at June 19, 2004 01:11 PM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?