Give me a couple of seconds…
When I speak with people and let them know the time I spend to do my job and the time I spend with my family, they often ask me how I fit it all into the days and weeks. I often ask myself the very same thing. We’re all busy these days and perhaps busier now than society was 20 years or so ago. Does being busy like this affect our driving choices? Are you always driving in a hurried fashion? Or can you take it easy when behind the wheel? If you’re pressed for time do you get annoyed or stressed? So, what’s saving a few seconds really worth?
We tend to do things in life that we feel take a long time to do, when in reality it only takes a few seconds or a couple of minutes. For example, I watch how drivers get upset when the traffic light changed to amber and then red and they had to stop. Do they realize the traffic light usually stays red for only roughly 45 seconds? Yes, that’s 45 seconds and not 45 minutes. What would you honestly have done if you arrived at your destination 45 seconds sooner? The reality is that the next traffic light would have probably been red anyway, so stopping somewhere along the way to your destination would have happened.
In the winter after it snows I will often see drivers using just their windshield wipers to clear a path in the snow on the windshield so they could see. This was mainly because they were in a hurry and needed to save time. Why didn’t they use their snow brush? Clearing the snow may only take 60 seconds or so; perhaps more time if the snow was more abundant. Oh, and if you crashed because you couldn’t see the other vehicle with snow on your windows, you would be stopped much longer to fill out the police report. Take those extra few seconds or perhaps a minute and clear the snow before driving away.
For those that have read previous articles I’ve written, you know I’m not very fond of drivers who tailgate. The minimum safe following distance at city speeds is two seconds. Following distance is judged in time since it takes time to see the brake lights of the driver ahead, time to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal and then time to stop.
For drivers behind other vehicle who tailgate leaving a distance of half a second instead of the minimum of 2 seconds is dangerous and irresponsible. What would they do in those 1.5 seconds that they are “saving” by traveling so closely? Is it really worth it to tailgate? And by the way, if you’re charged with following too closely, not only do you damage your vehicle, you’ll have a huge fine to pay, higher insurance rates to pay, a deductible out of your pocket and you’ll be a lot later reaching your destination than 1.5 seconds.
So, does saving a few seconds or a couple of minutes really worth doing? Is it worth the risk of possible collision and personal injury? Are you really saving time? Give me a couple of seconds to think about it.