Slower Can Be Faster

Radar GunThere are two types of drivers – those that speed as a way of life and those that speed when they forget to pay attention.  But for both, speed kills.

For the everyday speeder, life is an opportunity to push limits and break rules.  Every highway is a Formula One course; every traffic light an opportunity to run the red light.  They know every speed trap and have honed their drag racing tactics, and, mostly, they don’t get caught.  And driving this way year-on-year, they no longer realize they’re speeding and no longer see it as dangerous behavior.  They see themselves as invincible and even take pride in their reckless behavior, and that’s dangerous.

If you’ve made the product before, or you’ve done something similar, you know all the traps and a fast business decision isn’t bad.  But fast all the time isn’t the answer. When you’re in country that drives on the wrong side of the road and you approach a round-about, slower is better.  When you don’t understand the road signs; when your left-right decisions are backward; and you don’t know how to negotiate the big circle of traffic, it’s pretty clear slower is better.  But if you’ve been successful with your habitual speeding, you’ll likely accelerate into the traffic circle, rear-end someone, and flip yourself end others into a deadly pileup.  And if you survive, likely curse those stupid drivers who didn’t know enough to get out of your way.

But there’s a simpler case that seals it.  When you don’t know where you’re going, clicking off miles on the odometer isn’t progress, it’s just activity (that burns fuel).  In these conditions, going fast in the wrong directions is worse than not driving at all.  When you’re lost, it doesn’t make sense to speed.

The conscientious speeder keeps two hands on the wheel and maintain safe separation distance at upwards of ten car lengths.  For them, every day is an opportunity to check the tire pressure and check the dipstick for oil.  They plan out the trip, check the road conditions, and pay attention. (Cell phones off for these folks.)

Today’s cars are quiet and smooth which makes for calm, comfortable driving.  But they’re also powerful, and, even with good intentions, a brief lapse in attention can generate breakneck speed.  The conscientious speeder backs off the accelerator as soon as attention returns, and the danger is low.  But, when a lapse in attention overlaps with a quick change in driving conditions (a deer runs across the highway, or the car in front jacks on the breaks), you can’t react quickly enough, and that’s dangerous.

If you’ve made the product before, or you’ve done something similar, and you checked the tire pressure, a lapse in attention once in a while isn’t bad. But doing the same drive every day and lulling yourself into a road trip stupor isn’t the answer.  When you’re cruising over the limit on a well-lit, dead-straight highway, in your serenity you can easily speed past your exit without knowing.  And the faster you’re going, the more exits you’ll miss until you realize it.

Sometimes, when the conditions are right, slower is faster.

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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