The passing paradox

I could probably fill a whole blog by itself with annoyances in relation to being on the road.

As I was driving across some of the western states with my family, I experienced a phenomenon that one would think would be statistically unlikely, yet somehow happens all too often. I can be on the interstate, cruise control locked at the speed limit in the right-hand lane for dozens of miles without encountering a single other car. And yet, it's just as I start to come up on a truck or RV that I need to pass, that suddenly, another car going slightly faster will be passing me on the left, timing it just right that he's right beside me as I'm right behind the truck.

It's almost as if somehow it was orchestrated, that the vehicles were positioned and timed just so, such that all three of us would converge on this single, seemingly random point on the interstate in the middle of nowhere.

Somewhat related, it seems that no matter how many unoccupied miles I pass through, if there is a "construction area" where one lane is blocked off for a few miles (which is another rant; why do they block off 10 miles of road when they are only working on 50 feet at a time?), I will invariably have to go through it stuck behind someone who feels the need to go 30MPH under the posted speed limit.

And somehow, this improbable convergence seems to occur consistently at the very start of the lane closure.

It's almost like I'm stuck inside a video game, the way these events that I would think statistically unlikely to occur as frequently as they do, happen with almost scripted regularity. Except that I can't drop the pedal down and reach unreasonable speeds, crash and respawn, and outrun cops until an indicator on my heads-up display disappears.

Although that would stand a greater chance of keeping me awake driving through the Nevada desert.

1 comment:

Spencer said...

Mathematically speaking, you're just plain unlucky. ;)