Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Hares of the highway, friend or foe?

Posted in:
  • Article Image Alt Text

It’s amazing what $3.99 per gallon gas can accomplish! For years I’ve complained about drivers speeding 80-plus mph on SH 6 but now, in a strange turn of events, another group is in the crosshairs of my ire – the drivers going 55 mph! Geez, maybe comedian Chris Rock was right when he said “You can never make a woman happy, it’s impossible. They’re always complaining about something.”

This new phenomenon, what I’ll call the hares of the highway, hits close to home. You see, my gentleman friend is one who has chosen to deal with high gasoline prices by driving 55 mph on SH 6, and any other highway for that matter. As a frequent passenger, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been a bit of a nag. You see, as the conga line of traffic piles up behind us, I fear being a victim of road rage at the very worst or tagged as old and slow at the very least. When the cars and 18-wheelers whiz by us, I sense “the look.” You know, the “Idiot-don’t-you-know-what-the speed-limit-is” look? On more than one occasion, I’ve had a strong urge to slide down in the seat or write on the passenger window in lipstick “Help! I’ve been kidnapped!”

As many of our readers may remember, my gentleman friend and I engage in friendly late night phone banter so they won’t be surprised this topic has been discussed or more than one occasion. Of course, it has, because I won’t let it go! At first, I dropped subtle hints about the miles of vehicles behind us but it fell on deaf ears, literally, because the batteries in his hearing aid were low. Then I resorted to reminding him that it is he himself, a former deputy, who justified exceeding 75 mph by saying he was “driving the traffic,” adding that it was the SLOW drivers who caused the most accidents. You know what his response was to using his own words against him? A firm reminder of who paid for that gas – busted!

My gentleman friend is not the only one participating in this slow down and it reminded me that back in the day, Texas highways sported minimum speed limit signs. So, I ask why is there no minimum speed limit these days if what my friend said is true and slower drivers do contribute to a relevant percentage of accidents? I searched for evidence of a required minimum speed to enhance my argument but I was disappointed.

According to Sec. 545.363 of the Texas Transportation Code, drivers “may not drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic…” but who determines what is “impeding” and what is “normal” movement of traffic when at least 50% of drivers on SH 6 exceed the 75 mph speed limit to begin with? It’s certainly not DPS. Those poor guys are down on the border!

I did learn that certain government authorities which include city and county governments have the ability to determine and post mini mum speeds if supported by TxDOT traffic studies. Ironically, today’s Grimes County commissioners court agenda included consideration of lowering the speed limit in a subdivision but I doubt if county commissioners, city council members or aldermen are inclined to initiate a go at TxDOT about minimum speeds on state highways or farm-to-market roads in their jurisdictions.

As for my gentleman friend, he’s right. He’s buying the gas and I need to pipe down or drive us in my vehicle at the speed of my choice on my dime. He did manage to get the last word when I read him a draft of this column over the phone. Reminding me that his initial cost containment driving speed was 65, he chuckled and said, “And the more you talked, the slower I drove.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.