Space In Front of Your Car

Blue_Soldier Field_2012-08-03


2013-05-27 – Did you ever notice how drivers in traffic inch forward to nearly touch the car ahead? That’s why they call it bumper to bumper. But did you ever wonder why this happens?

If the traffic crosses an intersection, this behavior blocks the flow on the cross street. It’s called grid lock and it is even technically illegal, though you won’t find many cops to enforce this law. You can’t pull a car over in circumstances like this. Cops directing traffic will try to keep intersections clear, but it’s a hard job. Like damming a river.

But who cares about traffic on the cross street? Right? But did it ever occur to you that it even makes it hard for you to change lanes if the neighboring lane opens up?

No matter, bumper to bumper is where it’s at.

Human beings in advanced societies have few opportunities to express their innate territoriality. Here is one chance—to exercise dominion over the space in front of your car. You won’t let anyone get into that space, no matter how moronic the obsession.

I try not to drive this way. Cars behind me are crazed! They honk at me to close the space so that they can—what?—get 36 inches closer to their destination. Some cars try to pass me and wiggle into the space I leave. Then twenty minutes later, if the jam lasts that long, they pass me again. Because somehow they didn’t get anywhere. And they were behind me again testing their blood pressure meds.

Which reminds me: I have to take mine.

Have a great Memorial Day.

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