Occasionally, I have found myself speeding along a major highway, inadvertently exceeding the speed limit by 10 or 15 kilometres and hour, only to look into the rear-view mirror to see another driver waiting impatiently to get ahead of me. Of course, once I adjust my speed back to the speed limit, the speedsters sweep past at the earliest – although not necessarily the safest – opportunity.
Surely getting there should be half the fun of travel, so why not relax and enjoy the ride?
I now try to cruise along at a comfortable speed rather than the fastest speed permissible. For me this means driving at around 90kms an hour rather than 100-110kph. At the slower speed I find I can relax a little and find too that I have time to look around at the landscape I am passing through, rather than race blindly down the highway.
Driving at slower speeds also increases a drivers ability to avoid hazards such as kangaroos (or deer or moose for that matter), which clearly have no road sense whatsoever. In fact, sometimes I think kangaroos deliberately wait until they see cars and trucks approaching before they attempt to bound across four lanes of interstate highway! Not only that, but they insist on crossing highways often just before dawn, or at dusk when the available light makes it even harder to see them.
The downside of driving a little slower than the speed limit is the grinding of teeth you can almost hear from fellow road users who are lined up behind you. Thankfully, most Australian interstate highways offer long straight stretches of road, which makes it reasonably easy and safe for other drivers to get around the slower travelers like me.
To get back on theme, I think there is lot to be said for taking the slow road; for taking time to smell the roses; for taking the road less travelled – and other well worn clichés.
In the words of the great American folk singer Woody Guthrie: Take it easy – but take it.