Scientific studies of the driving brain tell us that driving lulls you into a meditative state. This always made sense to me. When having trouble sleeping, or just thinking through a problem at work or in school, I've always instinctively hopped into my car and drove for 20 or 30 minutes with no destination in mind. In addition to lulling me into a driving-induced Zen state, driving without trying to get anywhere frees you to focus on strange things we all do behind the wheel and makes you realize that they make absolutely no sense.
During my many drives, I've noticed some weird things -- some unexplainable, some just dumb. Things like ...
#4. The Cop Trap
Dmitriy Eremenkov/iStock/Getty Images
The mere sight of a police car can pucker a butthole. Put a cop car in the middle of traffic and everyone within 50 feet is on their best behavior. This creates an impenetrable wall of do-gooders that encase the cop in a pocket of meandering drivers petrified of breaking the law.
This is the Cop Trap. The cop's aura of authority threatens everyone nearby into being model citizens. I suspect it's because no one is at all sure if a cop can pull you over for speeding if they're driving next to you. The assumption people seem to make is: They're a cop, and therefore they're probably traveling at the proper speed. If I match that speed, I'm fine. If I pull ahead of them, I'm speeding and will get pulled over.
Andreas Rodriguez/iStock/Getty Images
"Play it cool and he won't know I'm blitzed on Zicam."
I have no clue if cops can pull you over for that, and judging by the number of Cop Traps I've seen throughout my life and have taken part in, I'm certain a majority of people are just as clueless as I am. I can Google it, then confirm or deny it in this article -- but why? Why take the chance of ruining something that's so fun to watch?
For miles a cop will hover behind these ass-draggers until they get fed up with everyone trying make themselves look extra-special-good, like students pretending they're thinking really hard when the teacher walks around, only to cheat off the kid next to them when the teacher passes. The cop moves on to another portion of the traffic flow, where they will most likely get stuck behind another cavalcade of suck-ups.
Jani Bryson/iStock/Getty Images
Just a bunch of this shit, but cars.
Cops probably have to sit through that every day, multiple times a day. Random, senseless police brutality makes a little more sense all of a sudden.
#3. The One Person Who Wants to Control the Laws of the Fast Lane
Carlos Oliveras/iStock/Getty Images
Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic.
You are at the mercy of the "normal speed of traffic," meaning that if other drivers (emphasis on the plural) around you think the definition of the fast-lane's usage should be "1,000 MPH because we have parachutes for brakes," you can't drive in the left lane because their speed has altered the fast lane's definition. The Uniform Vehicle Code should have had phrases like "whatever, man" and "Pfft! *jerk-off hand motion*" wedged in there to really hammer home the obvious laziness that went into thinking that one up. But this entry isn't about the fast lane and its ever-changing definition; it's about the assholes with parachutes for brakes traveling at 1,000 MPH.
Still late for work.
They think the normal speed of traffic applies only to their speed, not the average top speed of everyone around them. They're pissed that no one seems to be listening to their suggestion of everyone driving so fast their cars create a rift in space-time and start aging. But blazing from behind and braking so close to your car their front bumper could caress your ass hair comes a single person whose definition of fast lane sounds eerily similar to how NASA engineers launch shuttles into orbit. They are not human. Like ancient gods, this ... thing is the personification of a concept: They are the personification of dissatisfaction.
This thing is trying to form a one-man coup. It hates you because you're not trying to set a new land-speed record. It lets you know this by filling you with the kind panic you got when a teacher called on you to answer a question and you weren't paying attention, but it's all happening at 70 MPH. Flashing headlights, incessant honking, hand gestures usually reserved for angry villagers when threatening Frankenstein's monster. And why? Well, how else will it achieve supersonic speeds if it can't travel in a solid, unbroken line of automotive fury?
If you remain vigilant, this thing will lose its patience and opt to pass. The thrill of almost-state-sanctioned speeding is ruined because some dick wanted you and everyone else around you to deeply ponder its definition of "fast" like you're taking a bullshit college course on the philosophy of driving.