Yeah, I know, our system of interstate highways doesn’t require a freeway driver’s permit. But maybe it should – because on the roads with the highest speeds and the largest volumes – every mistake one of us makes becomes amplified.

It starts with merging traffic. I guess the permit process would expect that we would understand what the heck that is.

–verb (used with object)
1. to cause to combine or coalesce; unite.
2. to combine, blend, or unite gradually so as to blur the individuality or individual identity of.
I guess that’s why they make that long lane (the on–ramp). The idea would be to match the speed and blend in. Maintaining your individuality might be better served in another venue.

Another of the freeway drivers permit class objectives would be to understand that at 55 mph (how fast were you driving today?) you travel about 80 feet per second, if it takes you a couple seconds to react to what is happening in front of you (think: radio, phone, coffee, drowsiness), you’ve flown 160 feet (how close were you to the car in front of you today?).

Since traffic won’t allow you to leave 6 car lengths between you and the car ahead, you absolutely must be paying attention first of all, but very importantly: paying attention to what is happening a car or two ahead.

The newer cars have brake lights mounted high in the center of the car so that you can see what’s happening ‘a ways up there’ and here’s the kicker: take your foot of the gas. Your car will slow down so that you can adjust your speed to most conditions without your pressing on the brake. That is a key point because the guy behind you is daydreaming (at 80 feet per second) and will hit the brakes then the daydreamer behind him has traveled far enough that they really need to hit the brakes…and now you know why traffic comes to a complete stop for no apparent reason on what you thought was a freeway.

And since our freeway driving permit will require paying attention, not many of us will have them…it’ll be nice to drive the freeway when there are less cars and all the drivers are actively driving! As a side benefit, we will all be getting better fuel mileage in the process!