It’s not just that slow drivers get no respect; it’s that they’re generally regarded with utter contempt.  Speedsters may not command universal approval, still they are often viewed as skilled and admirably bold.  Slow motorists on the other hand rarely escape being labeled timid, tentative and the probable cause of many an accident.

But beyond the labels, consider the abuse they’re subject to.  React too slowly to a green light and horns will blare.  Drive along a highway at a pace deemed sluggish and you’ll be greeted with flashing headlights and hateful honks.  Persist in a slothful pace and vehicle after vehicle will promptly pass you.  And observe the stares you’ll get – a mixture of concern and contempt on their faces.  Crawl along and even your passengers will complain and demand that you explain such bizarre behavior.   There is apparently no valid excuse for slow speeds.

Can anyone doubt that a more than subtle discrimination operates against slow drivers? Several road rules make this clear (and not just on highways posting minimum speeds).  “Slow Traffic Keep Right” is after all not especially supportive.   In effect it segregates such folks, instructing them to get out of the way, implying they don’t belong with the real drivers.  If they’re going to limp along they’d best do it together, over on one side of the road.  Other rules stipulate that cars driving slowly activate flashing lights to warn others that they are laggards (would that speedsters be required to signal they were going over the limit!)

Of course it is the Sunday Driver that traditionally has been the object of criticism and the butt of countless jokes.   And his or her (note that gender bias no doubt operates in this area, the barbs about slow drivers often directed at women) principal offense has been the slow pace of advance.  The Sunday driver is presumed to be an individual, often of advanced age who only occasionally takes to the road (mostly on Sundays) and is accounted an inexperienced and excessively cautious motorist. His or her presence is a provocation to ordinary drivers who line up impatiently behind and then pass on by at the first opportunity muttering all along about how certain people don’t belong on the roads.  Ironically these would likely be the same people who, recognizing a good deal when they see it, rush to buy a certain used car, it being in excellent condition and with low mileage.  And what clinched the deal?  The fact that it belonged to a Sunday Driver!


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