Re: Why do you need to pass that person?

fiocca@ukraine.corp.mot.com (Jim Fiocca) asks:

> 1) You're coming up to the last stop light prior to your needing to turn
> right.  The light turns red, there is one person in front of you who has
> been going a reasonable 5 mph over the limit.  You notice that the left
> lane is clear, so you cut over - knowing full well that when the light
> turns green, you intend to try to pass that person in the right lane,
> cut over, hit your brakes, and make your right turn.
 - ????? Why ????? -

Because I accelerate more briskly than most drivers do, and it's annoying
to be caught behind a sluggard even for a short distance.  Also, the
aforementioned sluggard might be planning to turn right as well, and
for whatever reason, I might not have another chance to pass him after
this, so I'll seize the first opportunity to get around him.

> 2) It's rush hour.  Everyone is going about the same reasonable speed of
> about 5 mph over the limit, so the excuse "they're driving too slow" is
> not applicable.  

Says who?  Five mph over the limit is "reasonable" by whose standards?
Actually, the question of the speed's reasonableness is immaterial.
If I want to go faster than the a particular group of cars is moving,
then that's all the justification I need to pass those cars.  

What you're overlooking is that different people are comfortable at
different speeds and rates of acceleration.  The posted limit
notwithstanding (and with the obvious exceptions of school zones and
residential neighborhoods, which you didn't posit), re's no inherently
"right" or "reasonable" speed for a given locale.  That's why it's so
important to keep right except to pass: that way you can drive 
comfortably at your chosen speed and allow other drivers to do the
same.  (That's the general "you," by the way.  I have no idea whether
you personally keep to the right or not.) 

> You're approaching a red light on a two-lane road that you know is
> about to merge into one lane shortly after the light (right lane 
> ends).  1, 2, or maybe 3 cars are already stopped in the left lane
> and the right lane is clear.  Why do you pull up in the right lane
> intending to pass and get in front of those 1, 2, 3, or more cars
> that got there before you? 

To get ahead of them and into the clear, of course.  If I pass those
obstacles^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcars, then I'll be free to drive faster
than they are until I come up behind the next slowpoke -- at which
point I'll deal with the situation as conditions permit.

> Do you realize that the Internet wouldn't work if the bits that
> make up these messages had the same disrespect for basic queuing
> theory?

The trouble with your analogy is that all electrons are alike; they're
not individuals preferring to travel at a variety of speeds.

Those are rather odd questions, Jim; I'd think that the explanations
would be self evident.  Why do you ask?  Are you often passed by faster
drivers, and do you have difficulty understanding why anyone would 
want to drive faster than your chosen speed?


Geoff Miller			+ + + + + + + +        	    Sun Microsystems
geoffm@purplehaze.Eng.Sun.COM	+ + + + + + + +    Mountain View, California

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