Note: this one came to mind as I was daydreaming driving to work, going 60mph in far right lane in a 65mph zone, being passed by everyone. Spo

“They drive like an old woman” is an expression I heard Father say when I was a boy. It was said while driving, about certain drivers who were not old women per se but were allegedly driving like one. He never criticized any one for ‘driving like an old man’ – possibly because there weren’t any old man drivers around, having all dropped before they got to the age to be considered ‘elderly drivers”. I can’t exactly remember what he meant by this careful comment. How does one drive ‘like an old woman”? It wasn’t about driving recklessly. It was about driving cautiously viz. a slow careful driver going no more than the speed limit or perhaps just under it. They also made slow stops and at the stop signs a few second pauses to look all ways at least twice before slowly pulling into the intersection. They were seldom on the freeway but when they were they were always in the far right lane, driving carefully while the rest of traffic whizzed by them as if they were standing still.

“Driving like an old woman” I am certain was not a compliment. Father was not an aggressive driver but compared to thems ‘driving like an old woman’ he was a demon on wheels. He got impatient but never angry or verbally abusive. I think the critique was on the notion driving slow or too careful was more problematic and/or dangerous than someone driving ‘like that rest of us’. I remember as a boy thinking ‘driving like an old woman’ made good sense to avoid accidents. After all didn’t they emphasize in driver’s education to make full stops and not go over the speed limit, so what’s wrong with that? I was never an aggressive driver.

I bring up this disparaging label from the 60s as today while driving to work I realized I drive like an old woman. I am that person in the right far lane going the speed limit as everyone in the world is whizzing past me. Often people going 15-20mph over the speed limit zoom up behind me, flash their lights, and angrily drive around me/pass me and continue going in the far right lane at 80mph (in a 65mph speed zone). People in Phoenix drive like demons on wheels and I want no part of it. Driving a tad slower is not only safer, but it saves on gas. I often wonder how much thems in Range Rovers pay for petrol in these 90mph-going gas guzzlers.

I can’t vouch for the little old lady drivers (or folks like them) of yesteryear their motives for driving as they did, but I know mine. I am not a ‘scared’ driver, nor do I drive careful due to losing my wits (yet) . I just don’t give a toot about getting there as fast as possible or showing another up in traffic/damned if I am going to let YOU in. Let the world whiz by me. Often the Jehus will storm past me and when I arrive at the red light later there they are waiting now with me. I sometimes wave a hello which is seldom appreciated.

“Driving like an old woman” isn’t a nice label, although the names Someone gives such drivers are far less charitable. We can call folks like myself “driving like a Spo’: folks not too focused, not too fast, but not a problem other than you have to swerve around us types if you insist on going 25mph over the speed limit in the far right lane and see if I care. See you at the red light.

Do you drive like an old woman? Do you drive like a demon on wheels?