(Feb. 21) Every five years or so, the everyday transgressions of fellow citizens merit the same level of opprobrium this space usually bestows on corrupt or feckless public figures. Frankly, for example, horrible drivers affect readers’ lives more than do Donald Trump’s tweets or Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Surely there is time somewhere in purgatory reserved for drivers who are habitually heedless of common courtesy or safety. Everyone knows the chronic prevalence of drivers who won’t use turn signals or who won’t dim their bright lights when other cars are near, and of course of those texting messages or adjusting makeup as they lurch around our streets. Today, though, it’s time to bemoan and berate a particular subgroup of bad driverhood: the highway speed-shifters.

The first type of speed-shifter is the Slow Lane Tyrant. There you are, in the right lane, stuck behind this guy as he drives below the speed limit while a line of cars whizz past on the left. Yet the moment space opens in the left lane for you to pull out and pass, Mr. SLT suddenly speeds up. He may not be doing it to foil you; he may just have no idea that he suddenly has increased his pressure on the accelerator. But for whatever reason, as you try to pass him, he goes ever faster, accelerating beyond the point at which you can risk the speed or a trooper’s siren.

So, giving up, you drop back behind Mr. SLT – only to have him space out and slow back down considerably, just as another line of cars speeds past on the left, boxing you in yet again. Brake, wince, and repeat: You can’t bear to be stuck behind him, but he just won’t let you pass him. Surely not even waterboarding can be this painful…. [Read the full column here.]


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