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Category: Ponderings
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People in Utah (or at least in Salt Lake County) are in a hurry. In fact, they're in more of a hurry than the law allows. You can tell this by the way they drive (speeding and tailgating).  Oddly enough (to me), they draw the line at breaking laws which require them to illegally cross a line (one that's painted on the road, I mean).

My fellow drivers have no qualms about speeding1.  They don't hesitate to tailgate (the most clear indication possible of poor driving judgement).  And yet, on a road with one "regular" lane (in each direction), shoulders wide enough to be lanes and a center turn lane, they will not pass you illegally2.  Oh, they'll veer from one side of the lane to the other, as if to say, "I know it's not really you who's blocking my way.  You can't be so stupid as to go this slow.  There must be something in front of you keeping you from speeding as fast as I want you to speed.  I just want to see what it is."  Or perhaps they're doing it to draw attention to themselves (sort of like a 2-year-old jumping up and down and screaming) in hopes you'll do something about it (other than slow down).  Whatever the case, they won't cross the paint and pass you.  It's not like it would be any more dangerous than what they're doing behind you.  I mean, honk your horn (some of them are already doing that), flash your lights a bit (some just keep their lights on permanent high-beam anyway), and pass away.  It doesn't seem so hard, and yet, they refuse.

The question is, why do they draw the law-breaking line based on paint on the road surface?  I mean, if you're not worried about a cop pulling you over for speeding or tailgating, why would you worry about a ticket for passing illegally or driving in a non-lane or whatever?  And yet, the paint on the road seems to have some inhibitory effect on the average Utahn.  What's more, even if you put on your turn signal and pull over onto the shoulder, completely out of the regular lane, they still won't pass you until you're almost stopped!  You'd think they'd welcome this chance to pass legally and jump on it, put the pedal to the metal, as they say.  But no, they've got to make sure you're really stopping, that you're not going to pull back out in front of them suddenly (you've already proven, by not going fast enough, that you can't be trusted to behave rationally), because that would be dangerous, you know (where speeding and tailgating are perfectly safe).  And then, when they finally pass you, they do it with a glare that says, "What in the world is your problem?"

If you were hoping for answers, I can't provide them.  I can only marvel at the power of paint and wonder if it might have other inhibitory uses as well - like keeping the neighbor's dog out of my yard...

1 For the record, I really don't care if someone speeds, so long as it's safe to do so.  Yes, I think there are times when it's perfectly safe to exceed the posted speed limit (and those times have more to do with who's doing it and what else they're doing at the time, than with what road they're on).  I do make one exception, however: if you're a law enforcement officer, then I think you're a hypocrite for speeding without lights and/or siren.

2 For the record, I do not condone violating traffic laws and am not encouraging anyone to pass illegally.  I just don't understand what's stopping them.