Many press programs allow us keyboard warriors to wheel whatever car we’re testing on some twisty two-lane road that has almost nothing in the way of passing zones. Today’s drive of the new Dodge Hornet was no exception.
These roads do, however, often have turnouts.
Turnouts, of course, exist for a few reasons. Slower traffic can pull over to let faster drivers pass. Drivers who have car trouble can pull to the side to avoid blocking traffic. People who want to take in a scenic view can stop and gaze. And those who have had too much water or coffee and can’t manage to make it to the next bathroom can take care of the problem.
Today’s QOTD focuses on the first of these. As an American who has driven in around 40-ish states, I’ve noticed that we Yanks are terrible at using turnouts for this purpose. Frustratingly so. I’ve also driven in Canada a few times, and I noticed you hosers up north are much better at this. You polite people!
This came to mind today when I was bombing through the woodsy North Carolina mountains and came upon a Ford Explorer with Florida plates — it screamed rental car — that was dawdling at a pace that would frustrate me even if I wasn’t hustling along at a spirited pace in the name of automobile testing. This driver — who also used the brakes unnecessarily at a rate that would make the pads wear prematurely, thus making their local service advisor or parts dealer salivate and see dollar signs — passed several turnouts, either oblivious to my presence or uncaring that they were clogging the way.
I even pulled over into turnouts myself at least twice, twiddling my thumbs and counting seconds to give them space. Both times I caught the Explorer within a mile or two after getting back on the road.
This isn’t the first time this has happened — years ago I drove California’s famed Pacific Coast Highway. While I did get aggressive at times, I was mostly keeping a leisurely pace. Still, I came across slow-moving RVs and clapped-out old pickup trucks fairly often. Even if the drivers wanted to go faster, these rides weren’t capable of much past 45 mph. Yet the chances that these folks would use the many available turnouts to let me by were slim.
Those are just two examples of over a decade’s worth of frustration that I’ve experienced on roads from sea to shining sea in this great nation.
So, I ask of you — are you a polite, responsible driver who will let faster traffic pass, knowing it will only cost you mere seconds? Or do you shun turnouts?
Be honest. You know what you should say — but I want to hear what you actually do.
Sound off below.
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