Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Slow Down and Smell the Asphalt

The group sits in a circle, some lounging easily, talking with some of the others. A few sit tensely, arms crossed, eyes darting back and forth. You can always tell who the newbies are. They probably flipped someone off even on their way to the meeting. Then again, a few old timers still have regressive moments. Okay, time to start.

“Hi everyone, my name is Stephen and I’m a road rager.”

“Hi Stephen,” comes a chorus of replies.

“Thanks to this program, I have been able to slow my driving down, spare my wife a few premature gray hairs, and have even increased my gas mileage.”

[cheering and applause erupts from the group]

“When I first entered this program, I was constantly driving as if I was in a race with the car next to me. You’d have thought we were drag racing when the stop light turned green. Nobody wanted to be stuck behind that car just up ahead doing 30 in a 45 mph zone and it was a race to see who get ahead just enough to either pass him or prevent the other guy from passing him. Sometimes I won, sometimes I didn’t. If I wasn’t pushing 65 mph going home, it wasn’t fast enough.”

“Then gas prices really started going up. That’s when I knew I had to do something. I was consistently getting around 17 miles per gallon. When I found this program, I decided to give it a shot, just to see if I could save some money. And I did! This morning, I filled up my tank (which was still expensive!!) and when I calculated my mileage, I discovered my truck had gotten just over 20 mpg just by slowing down. For you new guys here who are probably pretty skeptical of these claims that not going over 55 mph will get you better gas mileage – it’s true! I use to think this was just some conspiratorial plot by some government safety guy to get us to drive safer, just like those old ladies that watch you to make sure you don’t run with scissors. By not going over 55 mph and accelerating slower, I improved my gas mileage by 3 mpg. That’s an extra 50 miles per tank of gas.”

“But you know, a funny thing happened. By making a habit of driving slowly, I was less stressed out while driving. I didn’t need to worry that I wasn’t the fastest driver out there. I didn’t get annoyed as easily about being stuck behind a slow driver. And by being relaxed, I was in a better mood by the time I got home.”

“That’s my story. Here’s to slowing down!”

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