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31 March 2008

Some Fun - Driving Truisms


Since tomorrow is April Fool, I thought I would do a lighthearted little blog entry. In my time, I have done A LOT of driving, in a lot of places. While taking many of the cross country, and cross continental trips, I have happened upon some phenomenon that seem to be true no matter where you are. I am not alone in these observations, there have been a few other folks who have contributed to this lexicon of driving phenomenon.

As such, I have decided to finally write them down. Each phenomenon has the name of the person that first expressed the phenomenon (as is the right of any discoverer; after all, it's Bernoulli's Principle, not the pressure and velocity inter-related Principle). If you have any observations you'd like to name and share, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you have observed.

Okay, on with the list (which is by no means exhaustive):

Prescott Convergence Factor: This only happens when you have cruise control engaged. You are in the right lane, being a conscientious and observant driver. As you are coming up on traffic that is ahead of you, there is other traffic in the left lane the has the perfect speed to cause you to have to disengage the cruise control to avoid hitting the guy in front of you, and you can't just go into the left lane because you would block the faster moving guy off. The only other option is to really speed up to pass the guy in front without blocking off the faster guy, but that is just as much a pain as disengaging the cruise control. Usually happens on long straight stretches of road.

Prescott Clusters: Those patches of an otherwise open highway where the traffic is all bunched up for no reason. Accompanied by (see below) Lundquist Gaps.

Lundquist Gaps: These are areas of the highways that are mysteriously devoid of any traffic until you encounter a Prescott Cluster.

Sipes Effect: This is an interesting phenomenon that happens on alternately curvy and straight roads. You get behind a car moving much slower than your desired speed. While you are on the part of the road that is too curvy to even begin to give you the hope of passing the slow mover, you note that there is no oncoming traffic. As soon as you get to a straight area or where there IS some passing margin, NOW there is all of a sudden a lot of oncoming traffic.

Ryan Stops: These are areas of the road where YOU would normally speed up (such as in a lane to merge with highway traffic), but for some reason, the person in front of you has decided to stop, particularly while you are craning your neck back to appraise the situation with the traffic you are about to merge with.

Bjorn's Law: You pass a gas station with the intent of hitting the next one, but the next one is further away than you comfortably think the remaining gas will take you!

Brooke's Law: When you exit to go to a gas station, the one with the best services or all the amenities you need is the one that is most difficult to reach. Generally involves numerous detours due to construction.

Megan's Demands: The type of fast food restaurant you want will not be available along the route you have planned.

Okay, so what do you have? Remember, this should be a fun exercise.

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