I am a better driver than you.

The Spoony One | Apr 19 2009 | 

I don’t know about you, but lately the city and state governments of Arizona have really fallen in love with speed cameras– saving the time and effort of living people with radar guns who have to chase you down and write tickets, now (thanks to SCIENCE) they have cameras that can snap pictures of you and your license plate if you’ve been speeding. The I-60 is littered with these zones, almost every half-mile at every exit. Other times, the police will park camera vans in suburbs or in parking lots as impromptu ambush zones. Those are the ones that really annoy me, especially when they park them in speed traps where the posted limit suddenly plummets 20 mph for no real reason.

I’ve only been caught once, but that’s because I drive the speed limit. I’m rarely in that much of a hurry to get anywhere, so I’ve never really understood compulsive speeders. Oh, I like to drive fast, too, but I like not paying $200 speeding tickets and keeping my license more. Unlike Vin Diesel, I do not live life a quarter-mile at a time. Although if I had cars like his, I might try.

Anyway, the speed cameras have created an all-new type of driving behavior that I find fascinating. Now, I notice that the same speed-freaks tend to go as fast as possible until they see the cameras ahead, then slam on the brakes and creep along ten miles an hour below the speed limit, as if the speed cameras were some sleeping predator, easily startled and quick to anger. It’s remarkable the slow-and-go traffic this causes, because these paranoid drivers will continue to crawl along until the cameras are well out of sight.

Guys, it’s a speed camera. Drive the speed limit, and you’ll be fine. You don’t need to dash in-between ambush zones, looking warily to both sides as if the cameras were stalking Viet Cong snipers. I barely even think about the speed limit; I just set my cruise control and listen to some tunes, and I never have to worry about the damn cameras.

Give it a try; I think you’ll find that it’ll make your morning commute a little less stressful. And expensive.

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Edit: And while I’m at it, texting on your phone while driving is one of the most suicidally stupid behaviors I’ve ever seen.