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You are the Reason Your Most Essential Team Fails

A team is defined as a number of persons associated in some joint action. You drive on roads and highways with other vehicles around. Driving is the joint action you have in common with the other motorists which, creates a team. The team’s purpose is to land at their destination traversing safely through road traffic until reaching the target. This is your most essential team and you are the reason your team is failing.

Unfortunately, some of your group is focused only on themselves. Their goal is to arrive where they want, not taking into consideration the team. They swerve between cars, tailgate the vehicle in front of them, and slow traffic by driving in the left-hand lane even though cars are trying to pass. Conversely, the rogue colleagues become frustrated when they can’t pass their colleagues. To accommodate these actions, other drivers must step on their brake.

Someone stepping on their brake signals they are reducing speed. Causes for that action are approaching an intersection, a slower vehicle, and of course, his teammate that just cut in front of him. The car behind who sees the brake lights come on instinctively presses on his brake. Consequently, this starts a chain reaction with other vehicles who also observe the brake lights. The name for this is a Phantom Traffic Jam.

Mysterious Phenomenon

The mysterious phenomenon occurs when you are driving in traffic which has slowed down. When you finally reach the spot where the traffic lets up, there is nothing there. The mystery developed by the car that originally stepped on his brake. The amount of distance the lead car broke the speed determines how far back it affects the cars behind it. Accordingly, the longer the depressing of the brake the farther back it will disrupt cars.

It became necessary for the lead car to hit his brake to avoid the vehicle that cut in front of him, making it appear that the backup is not his fault unless he didn’t have enough space between himself and the car to his front. Following too closely causes the need to step on the brake, creating the backflow. As the traffic slows ahead, the more space between cars will allow the driver to take his foot off the accelerator to slow down without necessarily stepping on his brake. Consequently, the vehicles behind will follow suit and reduce speed without braking.

Team Essentials

Back away from the vehicle in front of you, creating greater space so if a car does cut in it will not interrupt your speed. By reducing the number of times brake lights illume will create a steady flow that you and your team will benefit from. Smooth travel leads to safer driving. Believe it or not, tailgating is a ticket-able offense.  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Moreover, a team should allow their partners to proceed. Instead of being annoyed when someone wants to pass, let them go. You are partners with the same goal; arrive at your destination posthaste, not hamper your allies advance. Here’s an idea: when they pass, increase your speed and fall in behind them. If there is a speed trap ahead, your colleague will get busted not you. If that driver wants to travel at a faster pace, take advantage of it. (Surely, I jest?)

The Team’s Biggest Failing

Now let’s look at the biggest reason your most essential team is failing; driving in the wrong lane. The following is from the “Uniform Vehicle Code; Driving on the Right Side of Roadway.” (It happens to be Texas’ code, yet other states read similar to this.)

The code explains: a driver on a roadway shall drive on the right half of the roadway unless the operator is passing another vehicle, there is a hazard, or vehicles have pulled to a stop on the right-hand edge of the roadway. That explains when it becomes necessary to leave the right lane. The next part of the code is where your team breaks down.

An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:

(1)  passing another vehicle; or

(2)  preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

The code goes on to state; “This law refers to the “normal” speed of traffic, not the “legal” speed of traffic. The 60 MPH driver in a 55 MPH zone where everybody else is going 65 MPH must move right.” Statutes of the State of Texas

The Left-Lane Driver

Let’s unpack this. A motorist moving slower than the speed of other vehicles is to drive in the right-hand lane. Slower traffic is to yield to the faster traffic by getting out of the left lane. Vehicles not passing anyone on their right start to back-up traffic. A driver approaches the slow vehicle so he passes on the right, reaches a slow driver in the right lane, and gets trapped between the left and right lane drivers.

Another car comes along trying to pass the slow car in the left-hand lane and gets stuck behind it. Consequently, more cars become buried. All at the fault of the left-lane driver who doesn’t migrate to the right lane, allowing them to pass. When in the right lane and you encounter a car moving slower, maneuver safely around them, and proceed back to the right lane. This is a reason your most essential team is failing. Change it by working as a team.

I know some of you are saying, that’s a hassle. Do you know what that is called? Driving. The definition of driving is, “to guide the movement of a vehicle; to go or travel in a vehicle.” It involves moving the wheel, using turn signals, being aware of what is around you, and changing lanes. If you are not doing these actions you are not driving; making you more likely to be the cause of an accident.

The Meat of the Uniform Vehicle Code

The next part of the Uniform Vehicle Code is extremely interesting: “This law refers to the “normal” speed of traffic, not the “legal” speed of traffic. The 60 MPH driver in a 55 MPH zone where everybody else is going 65 MPH must move right.” It doesn’t matter what speed you are going if vehicles are moving faster than you the code states you are to pull over to the right. Transfer out of the left lane(s) to the right lane, and let others proceed. This one change alone will transform how much time you and your teammates arrive at their destination. It takes a joint action of the team to make this work. My preference is, if you aren’t even going the speed limit on an open road, don’t leave the right lane. We collaborate to keep traffic moving.

Admittedly, when I drive my speed is “move out of the way,” which means I’ll be passing you on your left. The times when the left-hand lane driver doesn’t pull over, I pass on the right and usually wave at them. I like to let my teammate know that despite them I am making my way. (Believe it or not, passing on the right is legal; it’s just more dangerous.)

Team Insight From Failing

The most essential team you are on is driving and your meetings are held on the roadways. Everyone longs to achieve the same goal; arrive at their destination quickly and safely. The plan should be a coordinated effort on the part of everyone in your team, all drivers, for a joint coalition to enable the group to work smoothly. One person not willing to follow the plan will corrupt the system. Each accident delays you and no one likes being in meetings longer than necessary. To reach the team’s goal involves the realization that we are colleagues, acting in the interest of a common cause. Subsequently, the result will be everyone getting to their destination quicker.

Achieving the goal is possible, as long as the team pulls together instead of working to their advantage. Traffic jams are a problem we can all solve. Will the team succeed and make its goal or will it keep failing! That depends on YOU!

Dana Pope
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