After logging some 40,000 commuting miles on Southern California freeways during the past three years, I feel entitled to offer some advice to my fellow prisoners-on-pavement. Whether we crawl together or gleefully gust up to 55 mph, we need to exercise more consideration for each other's blood pressure.
First, if you must read, try glancing at the freeway exit signs. Your books and newspapers may be more interesting, but they prevent you from noticing that I have slowed down in front of you, or that traffic ahead of you has moved a half mile further and cars are angrily passing on your left and right.
By now, everyone has seen someone change a tire by the side of the road at least once. So, why do you have to slow down and watch?
Your dog should not be on your lap while you drive. You may think he looks adorable with his head out the window, tongue and ears flapping in the breeze, but I am tired of wiping saliva spots off my windshield.
If your gutless excuse for an engine can not reach a cruising speed of 45 mph, stay off the freeways. When I am lucky enough to drive on an unclogged stretch of road, you can bet that I will take advantage of the opportunity to blow out the carbon collected from miles of crawling. And please stay out of the left lane if you can not reach 50-55 mph.
I, too, have a hard time convincing my body to move in the morning. But I would rather not watch you torture your eyelashes with a curling iron, or smear McScrambled Eggs on your face while attempting to turn the steering wheel. I would like to retain whatever breakfast I had time to get down.
When I look into my rear-view mirror and can see a few spots that you missed while shaving this morning, then you really are following me too closely. You will not get to work faster by trying to climb onto the roof of my Corolla, and I have already received one case of whiplash, which continues to torment me on damp days.
Finally, I really need more time to brake than you typically allow me as you force your way into my lane, a few inches ahead of my front bumper. I would also like to see whether you know how to use your turn signal. Have they stopped installing them in some cars?
MARLENA F. LIBMAN