Welcome back to commuting.

On my first trip back into the office following my vacation, I got to find out that the brakes on my VW are pretty good.

I was cruising down Tara at normal speed (which generally means 60 or so, speed limit is 55) and, as often occurs, someone pulled out into my lane from the old Springs subdivision. They really didn’t have enough room to have done so and get up to speed. This is a common occurrance: people will rush through the turn to get into traffic any way they can.

The normal response, especially when there’s nobody in the lane to your right, is to move to the right lane and zip around them. I was well out ahead of the rest of the traffic and was clear, so I did so.

And then the guy in front of me did. And then he almost stopped.

I didn’t have a chance to get back into the left lane, as the speed I’d bled off before changing lanes had let the other people catch up. All I could do was slam on the brakes and hope that in the 20-30 yards the guy had left on me, I could get from 50-ish to 0.

Luckily, I did. Much rubber was burned, and I think the anti-lock brakes and traction control were fighting one another a bit, because despite both doing a great job under most conditions, I was doing some skidding. Nevertheless, with just a few feet to spare, the guy who had pulled out got his act together and started moving again. In retrospect I guess he missed a shift or something, because he was driving a new-ish Durango that shouldn’t have come to a near stop in the turn.

It’s been a long damn time since I’ve had to get on the brakes that hard in any car. I was literally standing on them: my ass was up out of the seat and I was putting every ounce of weight on the pedal that I could.

Oh well. Welcome back to work.