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Rubber Banders

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I felt like posting something, so I pulled one out of a note I set aside a while back on an idea for a post. This is a natural phenomena that I like to call the Rubber Banders. Since moving to St. George, Utah about 6 years ago, I’ve spent plenty of time on I-15, the main north-south freeway through Utah. It also goes right through St. George; very convenient.

In my travels on the freeway, I’ve noticed many styles of driving. You have the left lane only people, the I’m gonna go faster than everyone people, the I think the speed limit is way too fast people, and so on. This post is about people who subconsciously cling to one car from ten minutes up to the length of the entire trip.

Now, I’m a fan of cruise control. I’ll use it almost every time I’m going to be on the freeway, even if it’s only for the length of one span between two exits. Some people don’t like to use cruise control. I don’t know why this happens, but I find that a small group of people (but it seems like a lot, because they are so annoying) seem to lock on to another vehicle and can’t get themselves to break free.

Here’s how it usually goes down:

  1. I pass a car on the freeway using my cruise control, typically around 80mph (75 is the posted speed here in Utah).
  2. Once I get a bit in front of them, I’ll get into the right lane and proceed to gain on them due to our respective speeds.
  3. I’ll notice that same car going into the left lane to gradually pass me. That’s fine, they just decided to speed up, I’m staying at the same speed.
  4. I find myself closing in on the same car I recently passed and got passed by, because they’re back in the right lane, but have slowed down significantly.
  5. By now, I’ll bump the cruise control up by 2-3 mph so I can lose the cling on and get back to my leisurely drive.
  6. To my dismay, I notice the car is keeping up with my new faster speed, and quite possibly just hanging out in my blind spot, forcing me to hang in the left lane, or change my speed drastically to position them so they can be seen without having to crank my neck around to see if they’re still there.
  7. Here it can vary depending on how long they’ve been doing this. Often, I will slow down to maybe 75 mph and let them gain significant ground on me, which sometimes works…temporarily. Other times I may even go so far as to take an exit or do something else that will guarantee they get a long ways away from me. Sometimes they still come back.

This process can continue either until one of my speed changing techniques works or one of us takes an exit. You can see why I call them rubber banders. It’s as if there’s a giant rubber band around our two vehicles that can’t be broken. It’s one of the most annoying things I’ve experienced while driving, and I see it happen almost every time I’m on the freeway for any time of an hour or more, and often even shorter trips than that.

Now, I drive a white F-150, so I don’t know if that big and bright of an object is just enough to psychologically trigger something in people’s brains to cling to it or if it’s something else. No idea. All I know is the worst case I’ve ever seen involved me pulling over to ditch a rubber bander, relieving myself in the meantime, only to find the very same car pulling back onto the road, coming up to speed right in front of me almost an hour after I’d pulled over to lose them. That was a long sentence, but man that made me mad. Nothing I did could lose them.

Comments (2)

Holy crap! It isn’t just me that noticed this…

I think you are being a little paranoid. LOL

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