Driving the speed limit

For the past few years, I’ve been driving at or below the speed limit.

“How quaint,” you say. And how very fascinating for me to experience the world from the vantage point of a complete misfit.

Speed limit sign: 45 MPH

Image in public domain

This is Massachusetts, after all—where road rage and rudeness can rival any other place on the planet. Our drivers are famous for defying all attempts at civilizing the asphalt and concrete commons.

So I mosey along in my hybrid Toyota Prius, coaxing every mile per gallon that I can out of the electric motor coupled with gas-fired engine. Watching the computerized display, I see that when I exceed about 55 or 60 mph, the fuel efficiency drops significantly.

But even more to the point, I’ve made a conscious effort to insert some ease into my driving and my experience of the road. Rather than attempt to keep up with the other drivers who race past me at least 10 miles above the speed limit, I motor along feeling relaxed and safe.

Instead of the trees and birds and buildings rushing by in a blur, I have time to notice details, to be curious about back roads and new happenings along the route.

My driving the speed limit drives other drivers crazy. That gives me a glimpse into the level of insanity that is the norm among people in our culture today.  People have become so accustomed to rushing through their lives that they have habituated to a level of speed that is beyond what is safe or what is reasonable in this era of high gas prices and wars fought for oil.

Try this: Next time you get into the driver’s seat, create a clear intention to drive at or below the speed limit. As you drive, notice what happens within you and around you, and how easy or difficult it is to follow your intention.

Then share your experience by leaving a comment on the blog.

To your ease!

Pat Daniel, Ph.D.

© 2011, Pat Daniel, Ph.D. and wizardofease.com.
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2 Responses to Driving the speed limit

  1. Betsy Disharoon says:

    Pat, I will look for you as a fellow nonspeeder on the road because we are rare! I have lived both ways: I went for years holding onto a lot of anger and it came out in my driving style as speed and abruptness. As my emotional life became healthier I slowed down my driving. Now I, too, enjoy the speed limit, the view and the higher fuel efficiency numbers that my control panel gives me in my Passat.

    I have also incorporated Eckhart Tolle’s idea of focusing only on natural objects, not anything made by humans, while driving. Well, he doesn’t state the driving part…that’s my addition. I’m not saying that I don’t pay attention to other cars; they are all on my “radar screen” but I’m not missing the shades of color in the morning sky or the silhouettes that the trees make against the clouds, or the hawk whose favorite lookout is that light post at the Braintree split on 128. It all calms me so much and I can’t say that about looking at the other cars.


  2. Pat Daniel says:

    Betsy, what wonderful insights you offer. Thanks for making the connection between emotions and driving patterns, and for the lovely descriptions of what you notice along the road. Next time I’m at the Braintree split, I’ll keep an eye out for that hawk!

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