FINAL THOUGHT: No limit to slow drivers


WRITER: Bob Tennant

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There was a time I couldn’t have written this … not and have it be the truth. And if not, what’s the point?

So, full disclosure: There was a time I had a lead foot.

Those days are over. The bathroom mirror reminds me every day the lead has been relocated, just astern of midships.

So, no, I am not one of those tailgating, horn-blowing, middle-finger waving, yammering idiots in your rear-view mirror. In fact, I steadfastly refuse to tailgate, and I err on leaving too much room between me and the driver in front of me, ruining, I’m sure, the day of the driver behind me.

More full disclosure: I could care not one iota about the driver behind me. I feel much the same about him (or her) as I do about anyone who may have the misfortune to have to occupy my backseat. I did not buy my car with a gleam of a concern about anybody who may be so unimportant to me that he (or she) may have to squeeze into my backseat. So if you’re in the car behind my backseat, imagine how much time I’m going to spend worrying about you.

If you’re in front of me, yes, despite my mounting years and my aching back and the space I leave between your sorry back bumper and my valuable front end, I give a rat’s tail about you. In the 15 or so (depending on the route I am relegated to find in an effort to relieve my exasperation with the driver ahead of me) miles it takes me to get from my estate, Biltmore-nigh-on-Oxford, to my Leesburg office-with-a-view, I’ve been driven almost daily to distraction by both apparent retirees and apparent nitwits who refuse to adhere to one basic, safe and — get this — legal driving method:

Just drive the cotton-pickin’ speed limit.

Not above it. But not below it, either. It’s posted as it is for a reason: Someone who knows a lot more about speed limits and safety than I do figured it’s a sensible way to stay alive and keep traffic moving at the same time.

I can’t sit here and pound my keyboard and pretend the buffalo’s share of violators of such logic isn’t piddling along on Morse and Buena Vista boulevards. I get to follow them every day. Twice. Once in each direction. Sure, there’s the occasional beat-up pickup with obligatory trailer full of hacked-off palm fronds hauling along at 45-50 mph, and sure, I’m hoping the friendly, vigilant sheriff’s deputy is stationed around the bend with his (or her) radar binoculars at the ready. But just as sure, I’m hoping that deputy will be willing to pull over the pop-pop and his pooch doing 25 on the same road, because he’s just as likely to cause an accident.

Especially when that fuddy-duddy’s Ford Focus comes to a complete stop at a roundabout for no reason at all. It’s times like those that made me decide to not tailgate. Here’s a little tip to those of you who’ve never regularly navigated a traffic circle (in Philly, they’re a part of driver’s ed): Look to your left as you approach a roundabout (any traffic will be coming from your left); slow down a tad and don’t stop unless you need to (that is, when you look to your left you happen to spot another car); get in the roundabout and keep up your speed; look to your right (any traffic now will be coming from your right, and the drivers, theoretically, looking to their left, for you); proceed. There. Before you know it, you’re out of what many of my fellow Villagers treat as a corn maze and zooming along at the posted 35 mph.

Or I wish, anyway.

It’s a pandemic. In Fruitland Park and Leesburg and anywhere else there are highways and clueless drivers. Some go too fast. More go too slow. They may ruin your day, too. And there’s an easy, legal fix:

Just drive the cotton-pickin’ speed limit.

And that’s the truth. If not, what’s the point?


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