Don’t always believe your eyes: If you’ve ever driven or been a passenger in a car on a trip, you’ve probably noticed that your perception of the things you are passing by change in relation to your surroundings. Driving 70 miles per hour around home would normally seem fast, but on the highway that same speed may seem worthier of the slow lane with cars and trucks passing you by like you are “standing still.”
The Definition of Velocitation
The phenomena of “velocitation” is a tendency to gradually accelerate without noticing or perceiving the actual speed you are driving, because you are adjusting to the other vehicles around you instead of actually monitoring your speedometer. The tractor-trailer truck in front of you seems to be driving painfully slow, although it actually may be driving at the posted speed limit. When passing or being passed, the difference in the speed of the two cars seems to be only slightly different, taking hundreds of feet to complete even though both cars may be traveling well in excess of the speed limit. The primary point to remember with this velocitation effect is that many times your perception of speed has shifted from the actual reading on the speedometer to the “relative” speed of the traffic around you, causing you to drive well above the posted limit without really noticing.
How To Avoid Velocitation
The second major effect of velocitation is that while it usually occurs after driving for a long time at a high speed, such as on a highway, if after exiting to a road, which requires a lower permitted speed, you feel as though you are “crawling.” If you find yourself driving too fast unconsciously, the best remedy is to pull over for several minutes to let your eyes rest and readjust your senses. Roll down the windows to get some fresh air. If you are going on a long trip, it’s a good idea to plan frequent stops in advance.
How To Overcome Velocitation
You can prevent velocitation by staying alert while driving; occasionally do a reality check by looking at your speedometer, and always practice safe driving. Drive only when you are mentally alert and well rested. Take a break to recalibrate when leaving the highway for a local road. Velocitation gives you the illusion that you are traveling much slower than you actually are. But you can be sure that the authorities will notice the difference in your speed and driving behavior. You do not want to answer the question “Do you realize how fast you were going?”
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