Speeding Isn't a Solution

Posted on Dec 24, 2018

This morning on the way to work, I could have hit two deer on Riverside Drive if I hadn’t been more lucky. Just in time, I saw one deer suddenly enter the road from the woods up ahead. He had been well-camouflaged against the trees and leaves, so he seemed to flash into being once he stepped into the road. I slowed down to give him space. Right after him came his friend or relative, which was an extra surprise because I wasn’t watching for him either. That’s when I really had to use the brakes. Because I was driving too fast, my laser-eyes were pointing straight down the road, far ahead of me, watching only for other cars traveling along my same path. But I wasn’t scanning to the left and right like I should have been. I could have done so if I had been driving at the posted speed.

Why did this happen? Because I was stupidly trying to make up for leaving the house late. Why did I leave late? Because I woke up late, as I do a lot. Why was that? Because I went to bed late. Because of my own bad choices, because of not planning ahead, because of too much holiday eating and drinking at night, because, because, because. And I was willing to risk the safety of the deer and me to make it to this morning’s team huddle on time. No excuse for this.

The irony is that during this near-encounter I was listening to an episode of Jocelyn K. Glei’s great Hurry Slowly podcast, which is precisely the kind of show that preaches against doing too much, too fast.

My story here reads a lot more calmly than how it actually went down. My real reaction was more like, “OMG DUDE SLOW THINGS DOWN THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL SERIOUSLY”. Three lessons:

  1. If you’re late, accept it. Don’t speed to compensate for it.
  2. If you don’t want to be late, fix the problems further upstream.
  3. Slow down enough that you can watch for things to pop up on the horizon and from other directions unexpectedly, whether you’re navigating the road, projects, goals, or money. Instead of taking your chances and maybe just getting there quickly, be smarter and get yourself and everyone else to the destination in one piece.