Greetings, fellow road warriors. I have been commuting to and from the South Bay since 2007. During my more than 11,000 hours of running the Highway 152 gauntlet, I have witnessed countless incidents and every type of driver you could imagine.
In this column, I will narrow it down to three main types of drivers I have experienced on my scenic drive.
To start, there is the “Speed Racer.” We all know the type–driving extremely fast, aggressively changing lanes to get one car ahead and bullying other drivers.
I must confess, I loosely fit into this category during my first few years of commuting. I would tend to go 75-85 mph at times without any forethought of the consequences compared to the small amount of time actually saved.
Over the years, however, I have become more deliberate and conservative in my driving style. I have concluded that excessive speeds and risky maneuvers do not really produce much of a savings in the end. We all eventually end up a few car lengths apart once we hit the 152/156 split slowdown or the first stoplight in Gilroy.
Second, there are the “Cruisers.” I find myself now included in this category. We cruisers have the experience to determine that a slower and steady pace is the most fuel efficient, safe and logical approach to driving these dangerous roads.
Cruisers leave a little earlier to compensate for the inevitable backups whether it’s the result of fire, flood or traffic collision. Since I have moved to this style of driving, I have never been late to my job in Sunnyvale. I arrive safe and stress free to my destination.
Last, we have the “Prius Drivers.” Nothing to do with the make and model but a tongue in cheek stereotype to describe a type of driver from the city or suburbs who do not drive these treacherous roads on a regular basis and are a little intimidated by the route we have all gotten used to.
Prius Drivers mostly venture from their city street experiences, usually on Friday after work, to get away from the crowds and breathe the outdoors before they head back to the grind.
They are surprised by conditions like windy mountain roads, high speeds with little room for error, abruptly stopped traffic and weather conditions. Other drivers can’t do much to prepare for their inexperience but to be patient and give them a little space.
Like it or not, this is the life commuters all choose. Society is constantly trying to pit us against one another. We really need to work through this with love and kindness for our fellow commuter. Treat the other cars on the road as if your loved ones were in that car.
To conclude, I implore you all to take a few minutes to think and be deliberate before getting behind the wheel. To quote my World War II grandfather, “Drink water and drive slow,” Peace to you all in this crazy world.