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Attempts to pass other cars shouldn't turn into race

| Monday, May 5, 2003

If you want someone to drive faster, attempt to pass them.

Nothing gets the old adrenaline pumping in the driver in the car in front of you as does putting on your turn signal and pulling into the left-hand lane.

Suddenly, nervous Uncle Norton morphs into Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Where before he was cruising along with his elbow resting on the window sill getting a truck driver's tan and rubbernecking all over the place, when he notices you're about to pass, he slams his foot on the accelerator, puts a death grip on the steering wheel and focuses his stare on the roadway ahead, only glancing to his left to make sure you haven't gained a millimeter on him.

He's ready to smash, bash, trash and crash, all in an attempt to get to the stop light before you do.

Passing another automobile is not a challenge to a duel, it's just an attempt to get around someone who, perhaps, is slowing you down. Sometimes you don't mind cruising along at 35 mph, but occasionally you need to get where you're going pronto and sightseeing doesn't fit into your game plan.

Do not take it personally when someone drives around you. Chances are, the person making the pass doesn't have a clue who you are -- and doesn't care -- until you throw down the gauntlet by accelerating and offering a one-finger salute out the window.

Once you offer the challenge to start the race, expect it to be carried through to the finish line, whether there is a checkered flag or not.

Now, we like a good road race. After all, there wouldn't be so many NASCAR fans if we didn't. But come on, do we have to battle it out before breakfast?

If someone wants to pass you, let them by. Do not speed up, do not drill them with the evil eye, do not give them the finger. If you were happy tooling along at 35 mph, then just keep on truckin'.

There are cases to be made for being first. It's nice to be first in your class, first in a spelling bee, first in a parade, first into a swimming pool, first in a beauty contest, first to the buffet table and first in the shower in the morning. But is it really necessary to be the first to reach a stop light?

Get a life.

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